The Imbiber's Report

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


January 10, 2015


soup bowls"Good soup is one of the prime ingredients of good living… for soup can do more to lift the spirits and stimulate the appetite than any other one dish." – Louis De Gouy, The Soup Book

When it’s this cold outside, stay inside and make some soup. It doesn’t need to be complicated, it just needs to be nourishing and flavourful. We have included one of our favourite super simple soup suggestions for you at the end of this report and a link to a really great ‘build your own bean and veggie soup’ recipe maker as well as a link to Canadian Living’s 101 Soup Recipes page.

Vintages’ first release of 2015 features four Churchill Cellars’ wines including a zippy white from the Loire Valley, a couple of reds from California and one from the McLaren Vale, Australia.

Grab a glass of whatever’s open and toss another log on the fire.


VINTAGES RELEASE, January 10, 2015

Oysters Anyone?…
Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie Domaine du Bois Malinge 2013Domaine du Bois Malinge 2013
Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie AC
Loire Valley, France
224246 $13.95
300 (12 pack) cases available

87 Points – John Szabo MS,
“Crisp and very dry, classically-styled muscadet with wet stone and apple flavours. Solid length and depth for the money - a fine aperitif wine”.

This Muscadet has a pale golden colour and is rich with almond and white citrus aromas. The palate is fresh with notes of citrus, peach and mineral undertones and finishes with a nice spritz. Perfect for oysters, sushi, light salads or bouillabaisse.

The vineyards at the western edge of the Loire Valley are heavily influenced by the Atlantic Ocean and the mineral-laden makeup of the soil. Here in the Pays Nantais, a grape called Melon de Bourgogne is cultivated with great success. The region has taken up the mantle of ‘Seafood Wine’ with great enthusiasm and produces a wine that, as one French critic has said, “casts its pale golden glow over the purple of lobsters and the pearls of oysters, the pink of shrimps and the red of mullet”.


"Soup puts the heart at ease, calms down the violence of hunger, eliminates the tension of the day, and awakens and refines the appetite."
Auguste Escoffier


Grove Street PN no bckgrnd largeGrove Street Pinot Noir 2012
Sonoma County, California
231613 $19.95
448 (12 pack) cases available

89 Points – Sara d’Amato,
“Loaded with character and life, the 2012 Grove Street is a touch commercial but exhibits a good deal of complexity and refinement as well. Highly appealing with cooler climate peppery notes and notable definition".

Expect enticing aromas of ripe red fruit and vanilla along with lush flavours of sweet dried cherry, juicy raspberry and turned earth framed by subtle smoke. Smooth on the palate with polished tannins and oak spice on the finish, it will be ideal with game, cedar planked salmon or mushroom soup.

There is an excellent amount of ‘Pinot Noir character’ in this Sonoma County wine. A large percentage of the fruit for the 2012 comes from the highly acclaimed Russian River Valley where warm sunny days and cool foggy nights provide Pinot Noir with ideal growing conditions.



INCOGNITO largeIncognito Red 2012
Lodi, California
394890 $19.95
280 (12 pack) cases available

2012 was an exceptional year for Lodi as the grape quality well exceeded average across all varietals. A uniform staggered harvest allowed winemakers the luxury of time. This is not always the case, especially when the weather does not cooperate and different grapes are all harvested at the same time.

This wine has an attractive elegance with a juicy, succulent texture. There are notes of red and black fruit intermixed with notes of dusty, loamy soil, pepper and bouquet garni. The intriguing blend is comprised of Syrah, Petite Sirah, Carignan, Mourvèdre, Grenache, Cinsault, and Souzao.

Incognito is a Rhône style field blend that has spent a year in oak barrels to give it just a kiss of spice. There is a real Mediterranean feel to it. It’s medium-bodied with moderate acidity and plenty of flavour. Try it with Mediterranean cuisine, tomato-based pasta dishes, grilled red meat or sausage, gourmet pizza or hearty bean and tomato soup.



The Footbolt Shiraz larged’Arenberg The Footbolt Shiraz 2011
McLaren Vale, Australia
984021 $21.95
640 (12 pack) cases available

91 Points - Nick Stock, Good Wine Guide, 2013
“Terrific value here. This blended red offers a wealth of ripe red and blue fruits, some light pepper and spice too. The palate’s supple, juicy and even, delivering a fine and smooth, juicy red berry style, nicely balanced, tangy to close. Immensely good value red”.

On the nose there are dark, earthy aromas such as mulberry, black plum and baking spice. The palate is pleasantly bright with lively acidity and elegant fruit weight. A generous dose of mineral fruit tannin ensures the wine is structured and wonderfully long. Try it with hearty beef stew or Harira (Moroccan lamb, tomato & lentil soup).

Footbolt is 100% Shiraz and is made in small handmade batches. It is basket pressed, foot trod and aged in a mix of old and new oak barrels for 12-18 months. This wine is not filtered or fined before bottling so there may be a little sediment.  If you have time, we suggest decanting before pouring.




7 Deadly Zins New Packaging LargeMichael David 7 Deadly Zins Old Vine Zinfandel 2012
Lodi, California, USA
59311  $24.95

90 Points- Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate
"Another outstanding value is the 2012 Zinfandel 7 Deadly Zins (230,000 cases of 100% Zinfandel). Aged in American oak, it is an opulent, delicious, sexy, full-throttle Zinfandel boasting lots of briary, peppery, mulberry and black cherry fruit notes, a full-bodied texture and terrific purity as well as opulence. It is a delicious, staggering value in Zinfandel, and the fact that there are 230,000 cases blows my mind. Drink it over the next several years.

A candidate for the best value winery in the United States, the Michael David Winery is incredibly proficient at turning out full-flavored wines at bargain basement prices. Shrewd consumers take note".















Churchill Cellars is on the air with Humble and Fred!

Chris and Mark joined Humble & Fred on January 6th for #wineforbreakfast.  Grove Street Cabernet Sauvignon and Girard Old Vine Napa Zinfandel were the object of the boy’z affections along with a pig-shaped salami. Tune in to the 43.00 minute mark to hear Chris’ musical selection Going Down Slowly by Galactic followed by chatter about salami and wine. Click here.


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




Churchill Cellars is sponsoring the JAZZ.FM91 inaugural Piano Series featuring some of the world's greatest pianists. Coming to Jazz Bistro in 2015:


Date: Tuesday, February 3, 2015 - Jazz Bistro
1st Show - 7:00 p.m.                     2nd Show - 9:30 p.m.
One of the world's premiere jazz pianists, Bill Charlap has performed with Phil Woods, Tony Bennett, Wynton Marsalis and is known for his interpretation of American popular songs. This Grammy award-nominated pianist has recorded albums featuring the music of Hoagy Carmichael, Leonard Bernstein and George Gershwin. Signed to Blue Note Records in 2009, Charlap was pianist and musical director for the Blue Note 7, an all-star jazz septet celebrating the legacy of Blue Note Records on its 70th anniversary.
Members Pre-Sale: $25
Regular Price: $27.50


Date: Tuesday, March 3, 2015 - Jazz Bistro
1st Show - 7:00 p.m.                     2nd Show - 9:30 p.m.
Hailed as perhaps the most exciting hard-swinging, hard-bop pianist to ever emerge from Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. Beginning his touring life with Betty Carter, to being chosen as the first recipient of the City of Toronto's Glen Gould International Protégé Prize in Music by Oscar Peterson, Green has appeared on well over 100 recordings with legacy artists, in addition to performing previously at JAZZ.FM91's JAZZ LIVES.   
Members Pre-Sale: $25
Regular Price: $27.50


Date: Tuesday, April 7, 2015 - Jazz Bistro
1st Show - 7:00 p.m.                     2nd Show - 9:30 p.m.
JAZZ.FM91 features Cyrus Chestnut, who the New York Times described as a 'highly intelligent improviser with one of the surest senses of swing in jazz'.  Chestnut has earned a reputation for his skillful versatility, ability for blending sounds and for unabashedly bringing gospel into the club performance he gives.  Throughout his career, he has worked with an array of artists including jazz legend Wynton Marsalis, Chick Corea and trumpeter Roy Hargrove. Recently Chestnut has collaborated with vocalists Anita Baker, Bette Midler and Brian McKnight
Members Pre-Sale: $25
Regular Price: $27.50


Date: Tuesday, May 5, 2015 - Jazz Bistro
1st Show - 7:00 p.m.                     2nd Show - 9:30 p.m.
From a pianist, organist, arranger, music director and composer, Hyman has had a long career involving film scores, orchestral compositions, concert appearances and has recorded well over 100 albums under his own name!  Performing with the likes of George Gershwin and Duke Ellington, Dick Hyman was one of the first to record on the Moog synthesizer.  This Emmy award-winner has also created the scores for Woody Allen Films; is a member of the Jazz Hall of Fame of the Rutgers Institute of Jazz Studies; and an alumni performer of JAZZ.FM91's Sound of Jazz Series.    
Members Pre-Sale: $25
Regular Price: $27.50


This EXCLUSIVE Members Pre-Sale offers tickets at the following prices from Wednesday, December 17, 2014 through Sunday, December 21, 2014:    
Presale Pricing:
Presale Tickets: $25
Presale Series Subscription: $85
Regular Pricing:
General Admission: $27.50
General Series Subscription: $95
For tickets and more details click HERE.






The following promotions are available now until January 31, 2015 at the LCBO:


Save $1.00 on Vodka Mudshakes French Vanilla (4606)

Earn 3 Bonus Air Miles on Casal Thaulero Sangiovese (588996)

Earn 5 Bonus Air Miles on Alsace Willm Gewurztraminer Réserve (269852)

Earn 5 Bonus Air Miles on Deakin Estate Shiraz (560821)

Earn 10 Bonus Air Miles on Marqués de Riscal Reserva (32656)






Tomato Soup

Tomato Soup 1We whip this soup up often. It’s fast, easy and delicious.
•    3 tablespoons olive oil
•    2 red onions, chopped
•    3 cloves garlic, minced
•    1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
•    4 cups good-quality chicken stock
•    Kosher salt
•    Freshly ground black pepper
•    ¾ - 1 cup heavy cream
•    Parmesan cheese, for garnish

1.    Heat olive oil over medium-low heat in a Dutch oven or large pot. Once hot, add onions and season generously with Kosher salt. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until soft and starting to turn golden brown, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute, stirring to avoid burning the garlic.
2.    Stir in the tomatoes and chicken stock. Season generously with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower heat to maintain a simmer for at least 15 minutes.
3.    Purée mixture using an immersion blender or carefully transfer soup to a blender. If using a blender, return mixture to the pot.
4.    Stir in the cream and let simmer for at least 15 minutes (longer if you would like a thicker consistency).
5.    Grate some Parmigiano-Reggiano on top and finish with some fresh pepper.
Garnish soup with something green like fresh parsley, chives or basil. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes to the onion and garlic for a little bit of heat. We sometimes add a dollop of regular sour cream or richer crème fraîche. For the ultimate comfort meal, serve it with grilled-cheese sandwiches.

Here is a fun link to a build your own recipe engine:

And here is Canadian Living’s 101 Soup Recipe collection:


- Mark Donaldson, Editor and Factotum




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Download PDF of our most recent General List Price List

Download PDF of our most recent Vintages Price List