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Posts Tagged ‘Port Wine’

2018 Ends on a Bitter(s) Note

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 3, 2019

The calendar has turned and more than a few people have been wondering what happened to the Rum Howler at the end of the year that was 2018. He was nearing the end of his Fall and Christmas Cocktail Bazaar and was about to publish his annual lists of top Rums and Canadian Whiskies, when suddenly The Rum Howler Blog went silent on December 12, 2018.

What happened?

The best explanation I can give you is that a perfect storm of circumstance caused the year to end on a Bitter note. (And strangely enough, that is not all bad.)

The beginnings of the 2018 disaster had its roots in a decision made 18 months previous when my Wife and I, decided it was time to build a new house which featured wheelchair accessibility for my youngest son as we were finding it increasingly difficult to meet his needs in what was then our current home (a two-story with no bath or bedrooms on the main level).  So we hired a builder, I helped to design the house, and we built it over the 18 months with a move in date scheduled for December 1 (ish) 2018.

Six weeks prior to the scheduled move, we contacted our telephone/television/internet provider (Telus) asking them to have the services moved over by December 11th.  At the end of November, I was nervous as Telus hadn’t contacted us or given any indication as to when the services were to be moved. So I called them, several times, and each time was given a promise that an Escalation Manager would contact me promptly to let me know the status of the install.

Making a long story somewhat shorter, I was finally contacted in mid December and told that services could not be moved until Springtime when the ground was thawed. It had something to do with the new area I had moved to being a fibre optic only neighbourhood. You would have thought Telus could have told me that in October, not after our move-in date.

The Rum Howler during happier times in Guyana

I think you figured it out. On December 11th, which was when my wife and I moved to our new house we were without that vital link to the blogosphere, the internet. I was able to post one more recipe in my Cocktail Bazaar which had been previous uploaded, but all of my remaining work was on my home computer, and with the Christmas Season in full swing at my retail store, I was not able to post from work either. The Rum Howler Blog unfortunately was silenced.

Enjoying Rum at my previous digs

However, all was not lost. I contacted Shaw Cable on December 12th, and they were able to schedule a hook-up for December 24th. Issues with the cable line caused the install to be delayed until December 31st and even today (January 3rd), our phones are still not working right. But I do finally have internet. So the reviews and cocktail recipes can finally be reignited.

There was a silver lining to all of this. My wonderful wife, Maureen, made a troubling Christmas Season better by presenting me with a Bitter Advent Calendar on December 1st. Each day from the 1st to the 24th I was given a small gift to unwrap and inside was a small bottle of bitters.

So during the coming year, I plan to review each of those small bottles giving you my thoughts and recommendations for each of the bitter flavours. With bitters becoming increasingly popular, the bitter reviews should be a welcome addition to my website.

So Happy New Year Everyone!

Sorry for the rather bitter ending to 2018, hopefully those bitter feelings will converted into something more positive this year.

 

 

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Posted in Howls | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Review: Fonseca Bin No. 27 Finest Reserve

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 5, 2017

Although Fonseca is well-known to collectors for their outstanding Vintage Port, the flagship of the brand is Bin 27 Finest Reserve. This blend was launched in Britain about 40 years ago at a time when Port wine was evolving from a style of predominantly young immature wines.

The requirement to decant and finish the bottle before oxidation impaired its flavour meant that Vintage Port Wines were not necessarily the best choice for casual consumption. Fonseca developed a new wine the called ‘Vintage Character’ by blending across different vintages achieving a wine which was consistent in style from one bottling to the next. This new wine shared the same character of the popular Fonseca Vintage Ports; however it could be served directly from the bottle with no need to decant or strain the fines from the bottle.

Fonseca decided to call the new blend Bin 27 and within five years of its introduction it was being sold throughout the World (in almost 30 countries). Today the brand is sold as Fonseca Bin No. 27 Finest Reserve.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Fonseca Bin No. 27 Finest Reserve

“… The nose is rich and fruity with aromas of dark BC Cherries, ripe sliced plums, juicy blackberries and dark black currants. There is a spiciness in the breezes which reminds me of raisins, some twig-like tannins and grape skins as well as hints of cocoa which compliment the ripe fruitiness of the wine …”

Please enjoy this long overdue review of another outstanding Port Wine.

Chimo!

Posted in Ruby Port, Wine Reviews - Port | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on Review: Fonseca Bin No. 27 Finest Reserve

Some Help on Father’s Day

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 21, 2015

Dictador Insolent

Dictador Insolent

Today I thought I would give everyone who is scrambling at the last-minute a few suggestions for Father’s Day with the same list of ten spirits which I posted on my refrigerator for my wife and kids. Every item on my list is considered by myself to be a top-notch spirit, however each is available in my local market for less than 100 bucks. That may seem a high watermark for some, but I have three kids and they can chip in together.

Any gift from his list would make any reasonable Dad happy:

1)  Dictador XO Insolent Rum
2)  Ron Millonario XO Reserva Especial Rum
3)  El Dorado 21 Year Old Special Reserve Rum
4)  Booker’s True Barrel Bourbon
5)  Highland Park 12 Year Old Single Malt
6)  Gibson’s Finest Rare 18 Year Old
7)  Wyborowa Exquisite (Wodka)
8)  Botanist Islay Dry Gin 
9)  Corzo Reposado Tequila
10) H by Hine Fine Champagne Cognac (VSOP)

SAM_0699 Graham's Six Grapes

Graham’s Six Grapes

I realize that not everyone can or would want to spend 100 bucks. If you are more budget conscious, then here is a list of ten great budget priced spirits which would still make any Dad happy (including me):

1)  Bacardi 8 Yr Old Rum
2)  Appleton Estate Extra Old 12 Year 
3)  Diplomático Añejo
4)  Ninety “Decades of Richness” 20 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky
5)  Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whiskey
6)  Alberta Springs Canadian Whisky 
7)  Highwood Premium Vodka
8)  Broker’s Premium London Dry Gin (40 %ABV)
9)  Herencia de Plata (Reposado)
10) W & J Graham’s “Six Grapes” Reserve Port

The two lists are in no particular order, but I have tried to include a good range of spirit types with the emphasis on Rum of course. Hopefully this helps someone, if not for Father’s Day, then maybe for your own personal shopping.

Chimo!

Posted in Extras | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Review: Quinta de la Rosa Late Bottle Vintage Port (2007 )

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 18, 2013

SAM_0749 Quinta de la Rosa LBVQuinta de la Rosa was established in 1906 when the Port house was given to Claire Feueheerd as a Christening gift. Although the family rum Port shipping company was shut down in the 1930s, Claire maintained the vineyards and ran la Rosa. In 1988, Claire’s Grandaughter, Sophia and her father, Tim Bergqvist decided to relaunch Quinta de la Rosa as a small family run winery producing a variety of wines including Port.

Quinta de la Rosa Late Bottled Vintage Port wines are produced from grapes grown in a single year at Quinta de la Rosa. They are matured for between four and six years; but they are not filtered prior to bottling. In the case of the 2007 LBV, this wine was produced from grapes harvested in mid September 2007, and it was bottled almost four years later  in July 2011.

Normally, I would leave a bottle like the Quinta de la Rosa LBV 2007 in my cellar (actually it is a cold room) for several years before I would open it to receive the benefit of bottle aging. However, the particular bottle I have pictured below was given to my by the folks at Thristy Cellars for the purpose of a review. I would expect that whatever scores I assign during this review would actually increase if I were to allow the wine to mature in my cold room.

You may click on the following excerpt for my full review:

Review: Quinta de la Rosa Late Bottle Vintage Port (2007 )

“… Over time some faint raisin and cherry notes arose, alongside some some sort of mealy vegetal aroma. It was obvious to me that this wine was going to require a lot of time to bring forward the rush of berry and fruit sensations which I relish in a good Port. So I waited …”

Please enjoy my latest Port Wine Review from the small house of Quinta de la Rosa.

Posted in Dessert Wine Review, LBV Port, Wine Reviews - Port | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Review: Quinta de la Rosa Late Bottle Vintage Port (2007 )

Review: Cálem LBV Port Wine (2006)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 27, 2013

SAM_0744 Calem LBV 2006Porto Cálem was founded in 1859 by Antonio Alves Cálem and remained a family business for 4 generations. Since 1998  however, (although the Cálem family remain with the company as minority shareholders) Cálem has been part of the Portuguese Wine company, Sogevinus SGPS, S.A.

Porto Cálem Late Bottled Vintages are produced from red grapes grown in the Douro Valley of Portugal. The wine is aged between 4 to 6 years in oak casks and in wine vats. Because Cálem filters their LBV’s before bottling, their style of Late Bottled Vintage Port wine does not benefit from further aging in the bottle. It is ready to be served and does not require decanting.

(Note: I received my sample bottle from Woodman Wines and Spirits who advised me that 196 cases Calem LBV Port were to be released through Vintages (in the Province of Ontario) on June 22nd.)

You may read my full review by clicking on the following excerpt:

Review: Cálem LBV Port Wine (2006)

“… The aroma is soft and full of sweet purple fruit as the breezes above the glass bring forward smells of plump fresh dark-red cherries, black raspberry jam, and sticky plum sauce. I seem to smell a vague earthiness under the ripe fruit as impressions of rich damp humus fill soil seem to be hinted at. There is also a light spiciness which for me is reminiscent of wood chips drying in the sun …”

Please enjoy the review of this surprisingly good LBV Port Wine!

(Please note that the problem I had earlier with the above link has been fixed!)

Posted in Dessert Wine Review, LBV Port, Wine Reviews - Port | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Review: Cálem LBV Port Wine (2006)

 
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