Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Classified Sites


"Stickies" a nice alternative to Port -- but Port's great, too!

Let’s just get this out of the way.

I hate icewine.

There. I said it. On the record.

My fellow countrymen (fellow countrypeople? both-gendered inhabitants of the same nation?), especially those in the wine biz, might want to have me shot, or at the very least, severely injured, for making such a controversial statement. After all, our country is recognized world-wide for its icewine.

But although I’m a proud Canadian, and I’m equally proud that others in remote parts of the planet are smitten with a product we call our own, I’m just not enamoured.

And perhaps I overstated the case earlier. Perhaps "hate" is too strong a word. Well, upon reflection, it definitely is. But I really don’t like the stuff.

I appreciate how incredibly difficult and time-consuming and weather-dependent and labour-intensive icewine is to produce. I know that those involved in the industry are dedicated professionals who are justifiably proud of their accomplishment in making an exclusive beverage that’s heralded in far-flung parts of the globe.

However, the bottom line is this: Icewine is too sweet for me.

I’m sure some regular readers of this column, especially the icewine fans, might find that statement somewhat baffling, especially because I frequently sing the praises of Benedictine, my favourite liqueur, which is as sweet as sweet can be.

And I’m at a loss to explain why I like Benedictine (and most other liqueurs, to be perfectly frank, when they’re all crazily sweet) and not icewine.

But that’s just the way it is. It’s my palate and I’ll cry (foul) if I want to.

While I don’t mind late harvest wines, which are similar to icewines but not quite as syrupy, I’m not crazy about them either.

Which is what made an episode that took place a few weeks back all the more surprising.

Manitoba Liquor Control Commission product ambassador Kathy Boultbee and I conducted a wine-and-cheese-pairing session at the Manitoba Institute of Culinary Arts. We were joined by 18 wine aficionados and tasted 11 wines and five cheeses that evening. Responses were, understandably, varied between the participants, and between Boultbee and me as well.

For our last sampling, which was with blue cheese, I chose to include an old standby — port. In this case it was the Taylor Fladgate 10-Year-Old Tawny from Portugal, which sells at the Liquor Mart for $34.99 for a 750 ml bottle. Ever the adventurer, ever curious, and wanting to give those in attendance something different to try, Boultbee chose The Stump Jump Sticky Chardonnay from Australia, which costs $14.71 for a 375 ml bottle.

And while I wouldn’t say I was (stump) jumping up and down about it, I was impressed. It was just so… interesting! The sticky Chard was sweet, of course, but there was something special about it. With a faint hint of flowers and lemon, the wine was like butterscotch and marmalade and fresh plums all rolled into one. Yet it wasn’t cloying or overbearing — even with all that sweetness going on, it managed to pull off a zesty freshness. If you’re a fan of this sort of beverage, The Stump Jump Sticky Chard is definitely worth checking out, especially when its price is compared to those of the icewines and late harvest wines out there.

This particular round of wine and cheese wars was especially gratifying, because I really liked both of the options, by themselves and with the blue cheese. The Taylor Fladgate Tawny 10-year-old Port was also lovely — nutty, with berry notes and toffee, it was great on its own and especially with the blue cheese.

Those who prefer ruby port — and I know those folks are out there (a hearty hello to all the guys from my table at the Military Ball a few years back, who told me in no uncertain terms that tawny port is "a ladies’ port" and that real men drink ruby) — might want to give Dow’s Fine Ruby Port a go. Full-bodied and with plenty of raspberry and cherry flavours, this port has a long finish and is certainly easy on the pocketbook at $16.05 a bottle. (Incidentally, I prefer tawny, but I really like ruby Port, too. In fact, I couldn’t stand blue cheese until I tried it with Port about two decades ago. Ever since then, I’ve loved them both — Port and blue cheese.)

And for those who truly DO like icewine, check out the Magnotta Vidal Ice Wine from Niagara. The 2010 vintage boasts peach, apricot and tropical fruit flavor, complemented by hints of clove, spice, apple, and pear. At $39.66 for a 375 ml bottle, it’s sort of mid-range pricewise. And if you want to try before you buy (sort of), there’s a 50 ml bottle of the Magnotta Vidal Icecube available for $7.52. Note, though, that the Icecube is the 2008 vintage, while the bigger bottle is 2010.

While we’re on the subject of sweet wines, why not "Have Some Madeira, M’Dear!" The Blandy’s Duke of Clarence Madeira features a nutty raisin flavor — it’s creamy and has notes of spice and vanilla. Those who like dessert wines, or "stickies" (all of the above would pretty much fit into that category), would find that Madeira is likely to pair well with cakes and certain pies pecan springs to mind — or something with caramel, or crème bruléé.

So while I’m a fan of Port as well as Madeira, especially with blue cheese (or better yet, Stilton), if you’re looking for something out of the ordinary, especially at such a comparatively reasonable price, it’s worth giving The Stump Jump Sticky Chard a try. It’s a lovely alternative to an old standby, and something fresh and unusual to add to your roster of dessert or after-dinner wines.

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition February 23, 2013

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Let’s just get this out of the way.

I hate icewine.

Please subscribe to view full article.

Already subscribed? Login to view full article.

Not yet a subscriber? Click here to sign up

Let’s just get this out of the way.

I hate icewine.

Subscription required to view full article.

A subscription to the Brandon Sun Newspaper is required to view this article. Please update your user information if you are already a newspaper subscriber.


Make text: Larger | Smaller

Brandon Sun - Readers Choice Results
Why Not Minot?

Social Media