The Imbiber's Report

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


April 4, 2015


knit cocoonsThe clever folks at the David Suzuki Foundation pranked the country (and the world) this week, when they urged people to knit cozy cocoons for vulnerable monarch butterfly caterpillars and hang them in trees on Wednesday. Footage of David Suzuki knitting and people hanging cocoons in trees was reminiscent of the BBC’s great "Spaghetti-Harvest in Ticino" April Fool’s hoax. It was ‘re-reported’ by a few news agencies, much to the delight of the Foundation.

The real story behind the hoax is that Monarch Butterflies (in all their stages of growth) need our help. What they need the most are more habitats in the form of Milkweed, which has been disappearing from south-central Ontario. Have a look at this website to see how you can help.

As our thoughts turn to spring, the folks in the southern hemisphere are in full harvest mode. Here’s a clip from our friends at d’Arenberg – foot trod and basket pressed…,

We have two wines in this weekend’s Vintages release that we are very excited about. In the last Imbiber’s Report we introduced you to one of our newest and most celebrated suppliers, Clos Pegase and to their amazing Mitsuko’s Vineyard Chardonnay. This week, the winery’s flagship Chardonnay called Hommage hits Vintages' shelves. As well, from the rolling hills of Tuscany, comes a beautiful Chianti Classico from Barone Ricasoli.

If you're into jazz, Pat Metheny is coming to town at the end of the month. See the Events section for details. As always, we have a few promotions happening at the LCBO. The report wraps up with a classic Quiche Lorraine recipe that you can press into service this Easter Weekend.

Something crisp and summery might be in order, like a glass of Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc but first…



Our Annual Portfolio Tasting will take place on Monday, May 11, 2015 in downtown Toronto from 3:00 until 7:00 pm.  As a subscriber to the Imbiber's Report, you will receive an invitation in the coming weeks for you and a guest.  If you know anyone who would be interested in attending, please ask them to sign up for our newsletter now since only those people who receive it can attend.  The location will be revealed in the invitation.  We look forward to seeing you there!


VINTAGES RELEASE, March 21, 2015

ClosPegase Chardonnay Hommage largeClos Pegase Hommage Chardonnay 2010
Mitsuko’s Vineyard
Carneros, Napa Valley, California
408385 $49.95
168 (6 pack) cases available

93 Points –, James Laube
“Opens lots of flavour doors, with rich fig, tropical fruit, smoky, toasty oak and apricot notes. This is impressive, dense without weight, ending with a roasted marshmallow aftertaste.”

90 Points - Sara d'Amato,
“A spicy, tight, intense chardonnay showing graceful maturity. Notes of pecans and toasted almond along with toast and buttery baked apple don the palate. A touch creamy with some lactic notes that creep in adding complexity. Alcohol can be felt on the finish so don't serve too close to room temperature. Delicious depth with excellent length”.

This wine has notes of exotic baked pear, quince jam, honeysuckle, and brioche. Broad and expansive on the palate, its opulent texture, intensity of flavour and pitch-perfect acidity make for a very formidable wine. The label art is Maria Elena Vieira da Silva’s The Oven from 1952.

Mitsuko's Vineyard was acquired and named in 1989 by Jan Shrem, the founder of Clos Pegase, who named it after his wife as a surprise Valentine's Day gift. Jan filled a gift box with soil from the new vineyard, wrapped it in a ribbon and excitedly presented it to her. Mitsuko, thinking she'd been the victim of a practical joke, was furious until her husband explained the source of the soil and told her he'd named the 365-acre vineyard for her in honour of 'every day of the year I love you.' Situated just three kilometres from San Francisco Bay, the vineyard is relatively cool and creates elegant, bright Chardonnay brimming with tropical fruit flavours.

Since the initial planting, Mitsuko’s Vineyard has been meticulously observed and documented. Clos Pegase has continually refined their plantings to optimize the fruit quality of each vineyard block and have identified some that consistently produce superior quality fruit. The best Chardonnay blocks provide the fruit for Hommage.

Fruit is hand-harvested at night and delivered cold to the winery for immediate whole cluster pressing. The juice is barrel fermented using natural yeast at cool temperatures. After initial fermentation, the wine is inoculated with a malolactic strain that naturally converts sour malic acid into softer lactic acid. The wine is left sur lie in barrels for 15 months and stirred often.


“…a terrific wine for the money…”

Brolio largeBarone Ricasoli Brolio
Chianti Classico DOCG 2012
Tuscany (Italy)
3962 $23.95
300 (12 pack) cases available

90 Points – Antonio Galloni,
“The 2010 Chianti Classico Brolio is a gorgeous wine. In fact, it is one of the most delicious wines I have tasted from Ricasoli in a long time. Sweet dark cherries, licorice and tobacco burst from the glass in this big, hugely rewarding Chianti Classico. The purity and vibrancy of the fruit is striking. This is a terrific wine for the money. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2016”.

The bouquet is fresh with floral notes followed by notes of blackberries, passion fruit and mint leaves. This is a vibrant wine filled with flowers, sweet spices, and raspberry jam flavours that flesh out on the supple finish. This elegant Chianti will match a wide variety of food including grilled pork or veal chops, tomato based pasta dishes or wild mushroom risotto.






BEST BUYS | Wine Buyers Guide
Two impressive wines available at affordable prices!

SV Brut Reserva New Bottle no background4/5 Stars – Vines Magazine, Courtney Henderson and Erin Henderson
Segura Viudas Brut Reserva
216960 $14.25
“An InterVin Gold Medal and Best Value winner, this stylish sparkling is clean, crisp and bright, with aromas of lemon/lime citrus and green apple. The palate is marked by fine bubbles and tangy flavours of pink grapefruit, lime and a faint petrol note. A terrific value that over-delivers for the price, try this bubbly with ceviche, grilled chicken or seared scallops.”



VERAMONTE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2013 croppedWine Spectator – Best Value, Kim Marcus
Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc 2014
367748 $12.95
“An herbaceous style, with piercing acidity behind the grapefruit and kiwi fruit flavours. Offers an intense finish of scallion and dried oregano.”





And three reviews from Gord Stimmell of the Toronto Star...

ClosPegase Chardonnay Mitzuko large


93 Points – Gord Stimmell, Toronto Star
Clos Pegase Mitsuko’s Vineyard 2012 Chardonnay

986737 $29.95
“... Clos Pegase Mitsuko’s Vineyard 2012 Chardonnay (is) a stunning white with buttercups, honeycomb, clover blossom, coconut and apricot cobbler complexity. It is utterly distinct, and world class”.




FREAKSHOW med92+ Points – Gord Stimmell, Toronto Star
Freakshow Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
405175 $24.95
“Among the Cali reds, my favourite was Freakshow 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon from Michael David Winery in Lodi. It’s totally eclectic, with big smoked meat, mulberry, pomegranate, mocha and chocolate layers. You may recall this winery’s 7 Deadly Zins. Fun stuff”.





Ryan Patrick Rock Island Red 2012 large91+ Points – Gord Stimmell, Toronto Star
Ryan Patrick Rock Island Red 2012
403402 $24.95
“Speaking of eclectic, also from the West Coast is Ryan Patrick 2012 Rock Island Red a lavish mocha and cassis-infused red blend of Merlot, Syrah, Petite Sirah and Primitivo grapes. This smoky monster hails from the Wahluke Slope in Washington State”.





Jost logoJost Vineyards on CBC Land and Sea
Carl and Donna Sparkes, owners of Jost Vineyard in Nova Scotia, are featured in this episode of Land and Sea on CBC which airs this Sunday at noon. Jost is the largest and longest operating winery in Nova Scotia and continues to lead the province in production. The LCBO will have a few  Jost wines available this coming year. Keep watching The Imbiber’s Report for details.












Churchill Cellars is on the air with Humble and Fred!


Humble and Fred were a little punchy this week when Chris and Mark visited them two big wines from California, Clos Pegase Mitsuko’s Vineyard Chardonnay and Michael David’s Freakshow Cab. Quiche was enjoyed by all as the discussion bounced around music, Phil’s hot bod and bacon (again). The rude language and hilarity pretty much starts at the 51 minute mark <click here>
Mr. Churchill’s music selection for the segment was from Anthony Gomes’ new album, Electric Field Holler, called Whiskey Train. Check it out here…

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.  You may listen to the podcast anytime you please.

NOTE: Broadcast contains mature language.



Jazz Lives

This year’s Jazz Lives concert features guitar virtuoso Pat Metheny on Thursday, April 30th at Koerner Hall. For complete details and to purchase tickets click here:









Thanks to everyone for supporting the JAZZ.FM91 Piano Series.  The Dick Hyman shows have sold out but there may be some tickets left for this Sunday's shows.   Here’s a little background info for those who are attending. Stay tuned for more Jazz announcements.


Date: Sunday April 5, 2015 - Jazz Bistro
1st Show - 12:30 p.m.                     2nd Show - 7:00 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.    

For tickets and more details click HERE.


cali wine fair logo







We will be pouring an array of our California wines at The California Wine Fair 2015 in Ottawa and Toronto!

Ottawa - Friday April 10, 2015 at The Westin Ottawa
Trade Tasting: 2:30-5:00pm
Consumer Tasting: 7:00-9:30pm

Toronto - Monday April 13, 2015 at The Fairmont Royal York Hotel
Trade Tasting: 2:30-5:30pm
Consumer Tasting: 7:00-9:30pm

To purchase tickets or further details please visit





The following promotions are available now to April 25, 2015 at the LCBO:

Save $1.00 on Vodka Mudshake Chocolate (5280)

Save $3.00 on Waimea Estates Chardonnay (650242) (Released through Vintages)

Earn 3 Bonus Air Miles on Casal Thaulero Pinot Grigio IGT (73163)

Buy 1 Caliterra Cabernet Sauvignon (257329) earn 4 Bonus Air Miles, Buy 3 get 15 Bonus Air Miles

Receive a free 50ml Domaine Pinnacle Ice Cider (where applied) with the purchase of our new Chic Choc Spiced Rum (402867)




Classic Quiche Lorraine

We turn once again to our favourite source for authentic recipes and food ideas –
A few years ago the magazine collected 150 classic recipes for its 150th edition. Most of the recipes are available online, including this stalwart one for Quiche Lorraine.

Quiche LorraineIngredients:
1¾ cups flour
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more
3 eggs
¾ cup grated Gruyère
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup milk
¼ tsp. cayenne
¼ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 slices bacon, finely chopped
Chopped chives, to garnish

1. Place flour, butter, and salt in a bowl; using your fingers, rub together until pea-size crumbles form. Add 1 egg and 1 tbsp. ice-cold water; stir until dough forms. Briefly knead until smooth; form into a disk. Wrap and chill for 1 hour. Whisk together remaining eggs, cheese, cream, milk, cayenne, nutmeg, and salt and pepper in a bowl. Cook bacon in an 8″ skillet over medium heat to render its fat, about 12 minutes; cool. Add to egg mixture; set filling aside.

2. Heat oven to 375°. Roll dough into a 13" circle; transfer to a 11" tart pan with a removable bottom, pressing into bottom and sides. Trim excess dough; chill for 30 minutes. Prick bottom with a fork; cover with parchment paper, fill with dried beans, and bake until set, about 20 minutes. Remove paper and beans; bake until light brown, about 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°; pour filling into crust. Bake until just set, about 20 minutes; garnish with chives.

Serve with Lurton Pinot Grigio, Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay or Segura Viudas Brut Reserva.


- Mark Donaldson, Editor and Factotum






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