Enjoy Some Stickies and Port for Christmas

Christmas gives you an excuse to indulge in dining, sparkling wine, desserts and more.  In the more category, I’d like to let you know about a few stickies (that’s the Australian term for a fortified wine they produce) and port wines that I tried at the last IVSA Trade tasting.

While these wines may appear expensive, compared to a bottle of wine, you just sip a small amount so these fortified wines will last much longer.  I’d be happy to drink these wines on my own, or share with friends and family, and hope you will too.

Croft 1991 Vintage Port

Croft 1991 Vintage Port, Portugal ($89.49).  Deep ruby in colour with no sign of aging.  Cedar, flowers and plum on the nose.  Very nice aromas. Medium body and medium sweetness with cherries, blackberries and spice.  Long length.  A very high quality wine.  Note that most ports are non-vintage.  A declared vintage happens in years when the grapes are of very high quality and the port produced as well from it.  Not every year is a declared vintage.

Fonseca 20 Year Old Tawny Port, Portugal ($63.99).  A tawny port is aged in wooden barrels, which exposes the wine to oxygen causing oxidation. As a result, these wines  gradually turn to a golden-brown colour. The exposure to oxygen also imparts “nutty” flavours to the wine. This wine had caramel and roses aromas in the glass.  Amazing flavour with sweet spices, nuttiness and butterscotch.  Sweet but dry with a long length.  I REALLY liked this wine.

Broadbent Madeira Rainwater

Broadbent Madeira Rainwater NV, Portugal ($26.99). Have you ever tried Madeira?  Madeira is a fortified Portuguese wine made in the Madeira Islands. From Wikipedia…Madeira is noted for its unique winemaking process which involves heating the wine up to temperatures as high as 60 °C (140 °F) for an extended period of time and deliberately exposing the wine to some levels of oxidation. Because of this unique process, Madeira is a very robust wine that can be quite long lived even after being opened..”  This Madeira is pale toasty orange in colour with a smoky caramel nose.  Sweet with medium body, spicy and nutty, including dark chocolate flavours.  A different wine to try.

Pertaringa Full Fronti

Pertaringa “Full Fronti” Fortified Muscat NV, Australia ($31.99). This wine is what Australians call a “stickie”.  These wines are produced from grapes that have begun to raisin on the vine. Alcohol is added before fermentation completes so that the wine still has some sugar.  This sweet wine is then aged in a solera type system.  Oxidation occurs during the aging process and evaporation in the hot Australian climate. The final result is a concentrated full bodied sticky sweet wine.  This particular wine was light amber in colour.  Big aromas in the glass of orange, caramel and spices.  Medium body, sweet with caramel, spices, nuttiness and orange.  Lots of flavour and lots of fun. I was told that this wine is available at Firefly on Cambie at 12th Ave. in Vancouver.

Enjoy Christmas, and enjoy these dessert style wines.

Are you interested in having a wine tasting of fortified wines?  Contact me at mywinepal.

A Pisco Toast to Chile

With the great relief of the world, the 33 Chilean miners were successfully rescued and are now safe with their families. With this I’d like to suggest a toast to the Chilean miners, with their national drink, the Pisco Sour.

What is Pisco? Pisco is a distilled wine. It typically comes from wine made from the Muscat grape. Pisco comes in different grades, based on percentage of alcohol and amount of flavour. You could view a regular pisco similar to a blanco tequila, although pisco is made from a grape wine base while tequila is from agave.

How do you make a Pisco Sour?

Pisco Sour
3 parts pisco
1 1/2 parts lemon juice
1 – 2 tbsp sugar
Add all ingredients to a mixer with ice. Shake well and serve in a cocktail glass.

This drink has sweet and sour flavours, and is similar to a Caipirinha from Brasil.

If you are not much for the flavour of a Pisco sour, you can toast using Pisco in other ways. Beside purchasing regular Pisco, you can buy flavoured Pisco. Here in British Columbia, we have mango flavoured Pisco from Capel. This drink when chilled is nice on it’s own, but you can also mix it with some sparkling wine, to make a mimosa-like drink. Very refreshing.

So here’s to Chile and the Chilean miners! Salud!

Domaine Klipfel

Just south of Strausbourg is the city of Barr and the Domaine Klipfel. This winery produces Alsatian style white wines as well a eaux-de-vie (fruit infused distilled spirits). My guide in this tasting was a wonderful lady, but spoke no English, and my French is not too extensive. we both spoke enough wine terms that we both understood and so enjoyed the tasting. I tried both the entry level riesling / pinot gris / muscat / gewurztraminer as well as the Grand Cru versions. The entry level wines were quite light and off-dry. They showed some of their grape character. All were very refreshing. The riesling though was my favorite of this group. The Grand Cru wines were all fantastic, being more intense in fruit flavour and more full bodied. The riesling was again my favourite. This one was starting to show some of the petrol aromas you get from an aged riesling. I was told that their Grand Cru wines can age for 10 years in the bottle. As a special treat, I was offered to taste a Vendage Tardive (late harvest) gewurztraminer. It was of course much sweeter due to the concentration of sugar in these late harvested grapes. There was the typical lychee aroma, but also honey and orange, which I believe came from Noble Rot from some of the grapes. Truly a wonderful wine as an aperitif on it’s own or with some cheese. Salut!