The Imbiber's Report

Our Bi-Weekly Newsletter with Product Reviews and Much More!


October 25, 2014


SquirrelThe weeks between Thanksgiving and Remembrance Day are busy ones for those of us who reside in northern climes as we prepare for the coming winter and take stock of snow tires, wood, shovels, wool undies, boots, mittens and all of the things forgotten about over the summer. As you winterize your nest over the next little while, take stock of your wine cellar (or fridge or closet). Are there any bottles in there that need your attention? Make sure you enjoy your collection, however modest, at its peak. Drinking a wine that’s past its prime is a shame.

Two reds and a bubbly come to us this weekend. Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad arrives in good time for the season and will sell out quickly, so make sure you pick up what you need. What else? How about ‘The Best Chilean Carmenere’ bestowed by the Chilean Wine Awards? We are also blessed with another vintage of Chapel Hill’s divine Shiraz.

And… Segura Viudas Brut Reserva was awarded Judges Choice and Best Value Winner at this year’s InterVin International Wine Awards. And you know what that means don’t you? Grab a glass of Cava and read on…


VINTAGES RELEASE, October 25, 2014

RESERVA mSegura Viudas Reserva Heredad
DO Cava, Penedès, Spain
558825 $29.95
450 (6 pack) cases available

91 Points – John Szabo MS,
“Consistently one of the classier Cavas I taste each year, this edition is fresh and fragrant, fruity and yeasty, with impeccable balance on a dry and crisp frame. Excellent length. A lovely mid-mature, mid-fresh style with grace”.

4.5/5 Stars – Susan Desjardins –
“Golden, with some green notes, this limited-production Cava, a blend of the first pressing of estate-grown Macabeo and Parellada, displays depth and lovely balance. Intense aromas of pear, citrus and toasted butter pastry entice. Dry, bright and fresh, it has a refined creamy mousse and a lively, crisp texture. Rich flavours of Bosc pear and lemon-lime wash across the palate and linger on the clean, persistent finish. A sparkling wine of presence and weight in an elegant hand-blown bottle with a pewter crest and base, it presents well as a gift or served at any holiday gathering”.

Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad is lauded around the world as one of Spain’s best Cavas. Segura Viudas is a beautiful working winery built around an 11th century estate just south of Barcelona. Segura Viudas marches to its own proverbial drummer by handpicking all of its grapes, using only the best ‘first pressed’ juice and bottle aging its wines a bit longer than everyone else. The winery has developed its own strain of proprietary yeast which gives all of its Cavas delicate floral notes on the nose and freshness on the palate. The Heredad is hand riddled and aged on its lees for 30 months. The hand-blown glass bottle is adorned with a pewter crest and base.

This special wine is an absolute pleasure to give and receive as a gift (and, with a certain season of holiday entertaining in the not too distant future, worth loading into your cellar). We open a bottle of Heredad when we decorate our tree. A toast is made and we decorate while enjoying some holiday jazz.  It’s also an amazing food wine.  Try it with crab, shrimp, smoked salmon, hard sharp cheese and a wide variety of hors d'œuvre.

TB CM 2011Caliterra Tributo Single Vineyard Carmenere 2011
Colchagua Valley, Chile
56630 $16.95
495 (12 pack) cases available

Best Carmenere in Chile – Wines of Chile Awards 2013

Judge’s Choice World Wine Awards of Canada

91 Points – Janet Dorozynski,
“An impressive and charming Carmenere from Chile's Colchagua Valley. Intense nose of bold dark fruit, with mocha and cloves and a slight resinous note. The palate is ample, rich and juicy with acid and tannins in harmony. Medium bodied and well balanced with a long smoky finish. A great wine and very good value. Drink now and over the next 3 to 4 years”.

Deep red in colour, the 2011 Tributo Carmenere shows tremendous intensity on the nose. It opens with aromas of black fruit accompanied by licks of spice, black pepper and cloves. The palate is meduium-bodied with soft, silky tannins and a vibrant cranberry-like acidity. Excellent finish and length.

People who have visited Caliterra say that it is one of the most beautiful vineyard sites in the world. From the beginning, Caliterra was developed as an environmentally sustainable vineyard. Its code of practise was written down by the winery and in 2011, the code was adopted by the Chilean wine industry for its certification of sustainability.

See for yourself:


Chapel Hill Shiraz no vintageChapel Hill Shiraz 2012
McLaren Vale, Australia
743989 $26.95
416 (12 pack) cases available

90 Points - David Lawrason,
"Here is a big, rich, but juicy sweet and sour Shiraz... Quite savoury on the nose with pepper, herbs, a certain inky minerality and smoked meat. Fairly tannic and gritty with good density and very good to excellent length".

From Chapel Hill’s website:  “Chapel Hill’s mantra is to produce wines with pure varietal and regional characters, that have power and grace, balance and texture”.

Winemaking notes: “The grapes were sourced from vines (all grown on their own roots) aged between eighteen and thirty eight years. The various vineyard parcels were harvested and open fermented separately to ensure that each parcel articulates the unique character of each vineyard site. All ferments were maintained on skins for a minimum of 8 days and then gently basked pressed, following which the free run and pressing fractions were combined. During the subsequent twenty month maturation in fine grained French oak barrels each individual batch of barrels was racked and returned periodically to seamlessly integrate the tannins into the structure of the wine. To preserve varietal and site purity, the wine is unfined, doesn’t have any tannin additions and is bottled unfiltered”.

Try this: Vigorously decant a bottle of this wine into a glass pitcher or decanter. Put it into the fridge for 20 minutes while you prepare a plate of mixed charcuterie, cheese and olives. Enjoy the wine and food for at least an hour and watch how it changes and develops over time. A fireside game of backgammon might be in order.



Kunde ZinfandelGord on Grapes
90+ Points – Gord Stimmell, Toronto Star
Kunde Family Estate Zinfandel 2012
Sonoma Valley, California
965921 $23.95

“Kunde 2012 Zinfandel from Sonoma brims with chocolate, coconut, smoke, figs, dried dates, black raspberry and blueberry potency. An ideal match for spicy rack of ribs”.




SV Brut Reserva New Bottle no background

Judges Choice, Best Value Winner
InterVin International Wine Awards
Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava
216960 $14.25

“This year’s competition was a strong showing for Cava, with three serious contenders making it to the final. Segura Viudas’ classic Brut bottling won the day with its lively mousse, crisp character and refreshing finish. Ranked as a Best Value Winner, the stunning quality for the price makes this ideal for entertaining or everyday enjoyment”.












JazzFM.91 Notes with Brad Barker

Chris and Mark will be on JazzFM.91 on Wednesday, October 29 sampling Kunde Sonoma Valley Chardonnay, Hermanos Lurton Tempranillo, Animus and Château de Panigon. Pick up a bottle of each, tune in and follow along at home!









Chris and Mark are on the air with Humble and Fred!

Wineforbreakfast with Humble and Fred on October 16 featured Kunde’s Sonoma Valley Zinfandel and d’Arenberg d’Arry’s Original Shiraz Grenache (both available through Vintages). Listen to the podcast here. You’ll find us around the 54:00 minute mark.

NOTE: Broadcast contains mature language.

You can listen to Humble & Fred on SiriusXM on Canada Laughs, Channel 168 from 7:00 to 9:00 am and 10:00 am to noon every weekday as well as rebroadcasts on Newstalk 1010 at midnight.





Jazz fm



Sound of Jazz Concert Series 2014

This year the JAZZ.FM91 Sound of Jazz Concert Series presents 5 incredible performances by international and local jazz artists at the Old Mill in Toronto.  Ranee Lee kicked off the season September 22nd.

The Sound of Jazz is the first concert series to be announced as part of JAZZ.FM91’s On Stage Season.

This year is the 39th Annual Sound of Jazz, including performances by:

Monday, November 3rd, 2014
Experience ‘Mangione Music’ from different eras as Gap Mangione performs music from he and his brother Chuck Mangione's vast career spanning from 1960 to today in this special concert.

Monday, November 24th, 2014
On this special evening in the Sound of Jazz Concert Series, Juno Award-winning jazz saxophonist, P.J. Perry will share the stage with some of the most talented up and coming musicians today, the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band!

Featuring Ernesto Cervini & Chris Donnelly
Monday, December 8th, 2014
In this special holiday edition to the JAZZ.FM91 Sound of Jazz Concert Series, drummer extraordinaire Ernesto Cervini and Juno-nominated pianist Chris Donnelly team together to present Christmas, All Jazzed Up. With a full jazz band, featuring everyone’s favourite holiday melodies, this energy filled performance is an evening for the whole family.

To purchase concert tickets, visit CLICK HERE or call 416-595-0404.

Ticket Prices:
$39 per Ticket
$175 Series Subscription
Special discounts are available for students & JAZZ.FM91 Members

The Old Mill Toronto
21 Old Mill Road
Toronto, Ontario
M8X 1G5
Local - 416-236-2641
Toll Free – 1-866-653-6455

Please note that all Sound of Jazz Concert Series tickets are general admission. Seating is on a first come, first seated basis. JAZZ.FM91 will not be responsible for, or process refunds for poor sightlines and seating obstructions.
Doors open at 5:30 pm with all concerts beginning at 8:00 pm.
General admission tickets do not include dinner.  If you would like to make a dinner reservation at the Old Mill Inn, please call 416-236-2641.






Fall Fairs – various around Ontario
’Tis the season so have a look around this website for weekend fair ideas.




The following promotions are available now to November 8 at the LCBO:

Save $1.00 on d’Arenberg Stump Jump GSM (173294)

Save $1.00 on Pisse-Dru Beaujolais (2881)

Save $1.50 on Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc (367748)

Earn 5 Bonus Air Miles on Wente Southern Hills Cabernet Sauvignon (301507)

Earn 10 Bonus Hermanos Lurton Tempranillo (372342)






Lamb Shanks Braised in Red Wine and Tomato with Moroccan Spices
This wine-friendly Moroccan braised lamb shank recipe includes the ‘classic’ spices along with tomatoes and a little bit of heat.  This is different from stew recipes which usually include some sweet fruit and sometime olives. The mint, cilantro and almond topping play a very minor role in the dish and will match the two red wines above (both of which have mint and 5 spice notes in them). Serve shanks over couscous or mashed potatoes and a side of green beans.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil  
 4 lamb shanks (about 1 1/4 pounds each)  
 Salt and freshly ground pepper  
 1 large onion, finely chopped  
 2 carrots, finely chopped  
 2 large garlic cloves, minced  
 1 teaspoon ground cumin  
 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander  
 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon  
 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice  
 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg  
 2 tablespoons tomato paste  
 1 teaspoon harissa or other chili paste  
See -
 2 cups dry red wine  (Caliterra Cabernet Sauvignon)
One 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped  
 1 cup chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth  
 1/4 cup slivered almonds, chopped and lightly toasted
2 tablespoons finely chopped mint  
 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro  

Preheat the oven to 325°. In a large enamelled cast-iron casserole, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Season the shanks with salt and pepper. Add them to the casserole, 2 at a time, and cook over moderately high heat until browned all over, about  10- 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate and wipe out the casserole.  

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the casserole. Add the onion, carrots and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes (be careful not to burn the garlic). Add the cumin, coriander, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg and cook, stirring until lightly toasted, about 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and harissa and cook over medium- high heat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Stir in the wine and boil until reduced to thick sauce about 4-6 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and 1 cup of the chicken stock to the casserole. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Nestle the lamb shanks in the liquid. Cover tightly and braise in the oven for about 3 hours, basting occasionally, until the meat is almost falling off the bone. Transfer the shanks to a platter and cover with foil. Leave the oven on.  

Strain the sauce into a bowl, pressing on the vegetables; skim any fat. Return the sauce to the casserole and boil over high heat until reduced to 1 cup, about 10 minutes. Return the vegetables and lamb to the sauce and keep warm.  

In a small bowl, mix the mint with the cilantro and almonds and season lightly with salt and pepper.  

Lamb can be prepared up to three days in advance and gently re-heated.

Serve with Caliterra Tributo Carmenere and/or Chapel Hill Shiraz.



- Mark Donaldson, Editor and Factotum





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