The Date and Time: Tuesday, November 28, 2017 5PM to 6PM
The Event: Tasting of higher alcohol beverages from the Wine Writers' Circle of Canada's Fortified wine tasting.
The Venue: Gothic Epicures
The Target Audience: me
The Availability/Catalogue: all at the LCBO or private order.
The Quote/Background: Some products were re-tasted from the WWCC's Fortified wine tasting because of their packaging or higher alcohol.
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Bodegas Altanza Coleccion Roberto Amillo Brandy de Jerez Solera Gran Reserva $119.95 half-litre Private Order with Profile Wine Group: 38%ABV, very elegant and complex, lots of dried fruit and spices as one would expect from sherry brandy. Sourced from a variety of producers in the Jerez region. Sold in a bottle that is uniform with the Coleccion Roberto Amillo sherries. Foreign prices seem to indicate that this too should be $74.95 as line priced with the sherries, but the higher tax level for distilled spirits in Ontario pushes up the price.
-Fratelli Branca Fernet-Branca Amer/Bitters, +220145, $23.10 for 500 mL: this is one of the top dry bitters of the world. Here are 27 herbs and spices aged in oak for a year. It can be enjoyed with beer, mixed drinks, on the rocks, or with soda/pop drinks. But it is best straight. 39% ABV, with that characteristic gentian and vanilla/oak matured flavour.
-Taylor Fladgate 325th Anniversary Edition Port Tawny $46.95 +517730 Douro: 20%ABV, in a short, fat bottle based on a shape from their beginnings (hand-blown then, not so now). The blend comes from all of their 10, 20, 30, and 40 year old tawnies. Typical of older tawnies: candied peel, dry cherries and figs, nut rancio. The colour, though, looks a lot closer to ruby or LBV. Still a good drink.
-Maynard's 100 Years of Port Wine Stack $99 +515866 LCBO: 20%ABV, 4 bottles of 200mL apiece for 10, 20, 30, 40 years of tawny port – truly a century of port. Maynard's has been around for over 230 years, making and selling ports. Each tawny reveals a different character of blends, of course, and the intent could be to sell this for a group tasting, say 8 people ($12.50 each?) who want an ounce each to sample. Good idea!
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Torres Imperial Brandy Gran Reserva 10, +522359, 750mL, $29.95 LCBO: 38%ABV, an uncommonly good brandy at this price level, following the traditional distillation of white wines being aged in American oak casks in a solera system. Dark, spicy complex from the oak, clove-y and coconut-y. A double-gold winner, available in other bottle sizes but outside Ontario.
The Contact Person for Bodegas Altanza: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 94.