Archive for the ‘Higher Priced’ 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’ve not sipped any bubbles since my Yuletide binge began with a ghastly Prosecco on Dec 12, 2010 and toasted the new year with Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin at the stroke of midnight, January 1st, 2011.

This special occasion is in celebration of the beginning of a new chapter in my life. I’m pursuing some international education opportunities and moving to the mid-western USA to be with my beloved partner of almost 9 years.

Why Mumm Napa?  We’re planning a winery tour for March 2012 so I thought it a good idea to explore offerings from wineries in and around the northern edge of the Napa Valley.

Once the mousse subsided, the nose is slightly yeasty, slightly spicy, and slightly floral. The dance of bubbles on the tongue assisted in delivering mid-weight mouth-feel, faint flavors of melon and lemongrass, decent acidity and a flat finish.  I was totally unimpressed with the lack of yeastiness that failed to carry through to the finish – ESPECIALLY from a vino produced in the méthode Classique.

Drinkable to be sure, but a vinoboy recommendation, not really. Pricing in Ontario, like certain Australian vinos, is injurious. I’ve seen this vino in the USA at ~$20/btl.  Here in Toronto at the LCBO, this bottle of non-vintage California Sparkling wine cost me ~$39!!



images credit – The Winery. makes no claims to ownership and republishes under fair use provisions for review and critique.

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.

Of all the vinos in my diary from the early 00’s, this Jaune d’Or Port is still one of those extraordinary dessert wines that, to this day, have yet to be encountered a rival.

“But Porto is RED!”  I’m hearing you shout. “Rich, dense and luscious!”

Aha!  But, my dear readers, this most unique White Port is like nothing else I have ever tried!

On another trip to the TwinCities of Minneapolis/St Paul, an excursion to a couple wineries in this Minnesota AVA was planned and enjoyed. Chateau St. Croix is just over the state line into the recognized Wisconsin AVA in the flood-plain of the St Croix river. This is  a well-designed new-world winery with an old-world styled manor-house in a Classical French design complete with lion-topped entry pillars and two suits of armor!  This place felt really nice.

Pre-tour, the tasting bar offered a few standard varieties – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.  As my tasting notes help me recall, the first three were run-of-the-mill.  The Chardonnay was dee-lish!  Fully oaked la-dee-da…  I even savored a full glass as the guide led us thru the tour.  Upon the tour’s completion, we were allowed to sample one more of their wines.

I chose this port as I just adore Port and have never seen a ‘white’ one.

The bouquet was crisp and sweet – like a freshly-baked sugar cookie. The first sip was overwhelmingly succulent with hints of papaya and anise.  Sip number two brought forth the full intensity of this most divine liquid!  Rich honey and licorice, long reminders of cream and vanilla and an almost whiskey-like presence has this 20.4% alc/vol stuff in a category all its own.

Available in VERY limited realease from the winery only, this American Golden Port is a rare treasure.  Keep your eyes peeled to their website for the announcement  of a new release. Be warned that the price is commensurate to its release and availability.

Chateau St Croix Jaune d’Or 2004.  For maximum experience, sip lightly chilled all by itself.

Truly unique – an unrequited love.



**image credit – Chateau St Croix winery – used under Fair Use Provisions for Review and Critique