Archive for the ‘Sweet Red’ Category

kopke-tawny20This has to be one the more challenging reviews I’ve composed in a while.  I have so much I’d like to say about this porto…

Douro is a viticultural region almost perfectly centered in Portugal.  The region is named after this wine’s producer – in continuous operation since 1638(!). Exports began to Holland, and from Holland to the UK around 1680.  The Wikipedia entry for “Port Wine” is very educational as most fortified wines in this style can be called ‘port’. (Unlike the Champagne Region of France that controls the appellation for its sparkling wine, no such luck with these Portuguese fortifieds.) HOWEVER – “Oporto” and “Porto” are typically names reserved for wines originating from Portugal(1).

Bottled in 2011, this Porto is a blend of wines matured in wood whose average age is approximately 20 years(2).  Single-vintage ports are another exciting adventure altogether…

With a color of bruleéd sugar on that creamy dessert, and a nose of dried dates and maple essence, I was content to swirl, sniff, and admire.  The mouthfeel is indeed richer than your typical red wine, but from other ports I’ve had, this is a wee bit but not unpleasantly thinner.  The 20% alc/vol balances the sweetness but can be a bit ‘hot’ on the tongue if you’re not expecting it. Forward palate is of spiced caramel, finish is nutty with a hint of citrus in the back of the nose as the alcohol vapors waft away.

We compared the flavor profile of this port over several nights with Bleu and Gorgonzola Cheeses, Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, a Romeo e Julietta cigar, and an English Cavendish pipe tobacco.  VASTLY different interactions with all of them but my favorite was the Dark Chocolate – its bitterness offset by the porto’s sweetness and turning the mouthful into a velvety experience.

Purchased at Sunfish Cellars, Lilydale, MN. ~$45.00 @ 375ml.



(1) Wikipedia: Port Wine (referenced 13Aug2013, entry last edited 30Jun2013)

(2)WineWorth Importers  Copyright © 2007-2013, Wineworth LLC

**Image Credit – ME! Taken with my Motorola Razr smartphone and processed with an image editing software. claims no ownership of product likeness and publishes under Fair Use Provisions for review and critique. Any similarities to existing images is purely coincidental.


I’m not the biggest consumer of dessert wines, to say the least – but when the feeling moves me, I tend to latch on to a few and be totally if not fickle-ly devoted.

A recent trip to Magnotta Winery’s flagship location near Hwy 400 & Hwy 7 in Vaughan Ontario was chance to discover their “Framboise” – on the menu at their tasting bar… First impressions there were lasting impressions and enjoying it now, on a cold winter evening, is just  as yummy as sampling it at the winery.

The gracefully long-necked 375ml bottle is chilled in freezer for about 30 minutes.  A neat port-styled stopper is revealed upon removal of the foil.  The nose is of intensely sweet and jammy strawberry and raspberry fruitiness with caresses of something more intense just below the surface.

Mmmm!  The palate is of dense and delicious late-harvested ripe berry fruits  with a distinctive edge of raisins and dates.  Finishing sweet and luscious, lasting and leggy, it is VERY easy to miss the 16% alc/vol (and SC of 18!!!)  of this wonderful liqueur.

Sensational on its own, paired with traditional Trifle, home-made strawberry turnovers,  berry-topped cheesecake, or even drizzled as-is over exceptional vanilla-bean ice cream…

Glory!! Winery only @~$15/375ml btl




**images credit – The Winery. Used under Fair Use Provisions for review and critique.

A very unique fruit wine I’ve just had the opportunity to try is this semi-sweet blueberry table wine by Three Lakes Winery of Wisconsin. The most striking aspect of this fruit wine isn’t actually the wine itself; its the amazing cobalt blue glass bottle!  I’ve not seen a bottle like this in a very long time – though it looks totally awesome, I doubt it does anything to protect the wine.

Fruit wines are relatively simple to understand as they reflect the best essence the particular fruit has to offer. But aha! Therein lies the skill of the wine maker.  Non-grape fruits are typically grown to be eaten ‘as is’ with bright sweetness and muted acidity. To balance sweetness with acidity and alcohol content, the wine maker must know precisely what he or she needs to do to heighten the acidity and regulate the alcohol content without losing the panache the perfect fruit has by nature. This glossy blue wine glitters in the glass and has an aroma of the macerated berries.  At 11% alc/vol, I can only just feel a hint of the alcohol at the back of the tongue and into the nose. The sweetness wraps the tongue in a simplicity that reminds me of the  tiny wild berries picked as a child in New Brunswick.

Be sure to consume fruit wines as soon as possible – they don’t age very long; 9 months at most.  Enjoy this Three Lakes Winery Blueberry wine chilled or cellar temperature all by itself or with a nice piece of wildberry-topped cheesecake.




image credit: Three Lakes Winery