The Imbiber's Report

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


April 18, 2015



Our Annual Portfolio Tasting…

Another sure harbinger of spring comes in early May in the form of our annual Portfolio Tasting. This year the tasting will be held on Monday, May 11th at the Ed Mirvish Theatre in downtown Toronto from 3:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.

This is our way of thanking you for your continued support throughout the year. We hope that you enjoy reading the Imbiber’s Report and that you find the information useful and entertaining. Our Annual Portfolio tasting is open to everyone who subscribes to The Imbiber’s Report and features all of our products available through the LCBO as well as a few treats from Vintages.

Once again, our friends from Second Harvest will have a table at the Portfolio Tasting with information on their food recovery programs and will have some fundraising chattels for sale. They will kindly accept donations as well.

We hope that you and a guest will be able to join us this year - we really look forward to catching up and sharing some wine with you. Please check your inbox for the official invitation, which was sent out earlier this week on Thursday.

Help us rebuild our subscriber list. We lost a number of subscribers last year due to the new anti-spam laws (like most of you, we haven't seen a reduction either). Unlike some less scrupulous businesses, we followed the instructions set out by the Privacy Commissioner and the result was less than favourable. If you have friends, family or colleagues who you think would like to attend our Portfolio Tasting, just have them sign up for the Imbiber’s Report by clicking here and we will send them an invitation. Thank you for your help!

Mother’s Day is not far off and if you are planning to cook something special for her, remember that that Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava goes with just about everything. In Barcelona, it’s used as a bright, refreshing palate cleanser that ‘exfoliates’ your palate in between different flavours and textures of food. Bubbles bring your tongue to life and let you set up for the next little bite whether it's seafood, eggs, sausage, fish, olives, smoked things, salad, or pasta. In many respects, it’s more versatile than Champagne because it can play well with Mediterranean flavours and handle a little spice too.

If that sounded like a segue for you to pour yourself a glass of Cava and continue reading the report – then, yes it is…


VINTAGES RELEASE, April 18, 2015

We are champions of red wine, poured all over
It's what we're known for, find arms crossed lines
Crossed for old times, like starting over
The New Pornographers, 2014

La Merika LargeLa Merika Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Central Coast, California (USA)
409169 $19.95
500 (12 pack) cases available

Gold Class Champion – Houston Rodeo Wine Competition

Gold Medal – San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

Black cherry, spice and mocha dominate the nose which also offers hints of graphite and earth. It's surprisingly dense and rich on the palate with ripe cherry, plum and layers of chocolate, vanilla and spice. La Merika ends with a smooth, long finish, velvety tannins and a bit more spice. La Merika spends 5 months in a mix of French and American oak. This is a really solid example of Central Coast Cab and a terrific deal at $19.95. It’s a wine that will pique the interest of even the most seasoned wine enthusiast.

Fruit for this wine was sourced from vineyards planted in the 1970s at the southern end of Monterey County where temperatures are a touch warmer and more suitable to Cabernet. At the time, Monterey was considered too cool to grow Cabernet Sauvignon and these vineyards were thought of as experimental. It seems counter-intuitive, but the cold ocean air that flows into the Salinas Valley has to travel south, up the valley to eventually reach the Hames Valley, where La Merika’s Vineyards are.



In Store Discovery…

Chivite Colección 125 Reserva largeChivite Colección 125 Reserva 2009
D.O.P. Navarra, Spain
702431 $37.95 
50 (6 pack) cases available

On the nose there are notes of black fruits, spice and cedar wood. Made from Tempranillo, this medium-bodied wine's palate has a smooth velvet texture with flavours of blueberry and spice such as clove, rosemary, thyme, black pepper and cinnamon.

95 Points Guia Repsol

94 Points Guia Penin

Top Ten Tempranillo in Spain – Decanter 2014
“A palate of spicy aromas: rosemary, thyme, black pepper and cinnamon, with the classic Tempranillo blueberries in the background. Medium-bodied, serious and precise. A fine wine with a future”.

The Chivite family has been making wine in Navarra since at least 1647, when the estate shows up on a mortgage document indicating that the winery was already well established at that time. The estate has been passed down through eleven generations of Chivites and they continue to own and operate the winery today. In 1860, France was in trouble. For years, vineyards had been devastated by pests and disease and there was a huge demand for finished wine that could not be met domestically. That year Chivite shipped some of its best wine to France to meet the demand and thus began their exporting business. The Chivite Colección 125 range was launched in 1985 to commemorate the first exports in 1860 and is now their flagship red wine.

The Chivite Colección 125 Reserva 2009 is a blend of 71% Tempranillo, 17% Merlot and 12% Cabernet Sauvignon and has been aged for 14 months in French oak barrels. This serious wine should be on any collector’s radar. There are only 300 bottles in the province so keep checking the LCBO’s website to see which Vintages locations have stock. The Colección 125 Reserva will benefit from cellar aging and will improve for at least 10 years.


Rapid Release…

Dukang Mianrou 3 XingDukang Mianrou 3 Xing
Henan Province, China
410738  $37.95
150 (500ml 6 pack) cases available


Dukang Wine, a famous age-old Chinese liquor brand, is named after its legendary brewing ancestor, Du Kang. According to legend it was discovered over 4,000 years ago.

Dukang Mianrou 3 Xing is transparent with a light yellow tinge. It has a long, smooth taste with some heat on the finish.





We encourage people to drink Segura Viudas all year round because it is the best thing to have on hand for any occasion. It’s not just us that loves this charming Cava: here’s what some of the experts say…

SV Brut Reserva New Bottle Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava
216960 $14.45

Top 20 under $20 at the LCBO – Steve Thurlow
89 Points
“This is my favourite LCBO bubbly under $15, great for receptions as an aperitif; essentially anywhere you would consider Champagne, since when tasted side by side it’s tough to tell the difference...  Expect a fresh nose of grapefruit, mineral and pear with an elegant delicate soft mousse and a long lingering finish of apple pear fruit. Lots of flavour and super creamy texture. Very good length”.

Rhys Pender, Master of Wine

“I've drunk my body weight of this wine many times over and it always stands out for great consistency and great value. It is crisp, dry, has some hints of autolysis, a little funk from the traditional grapes and good length. It will stand up to whatever food you throw at it and not break the bank along the way. A good idea to always keep a case on hand”.

Sara d'Amato –

“Very good concentration, weight and depth. One of, if not the best value Cava on the shelves. Refreshing and memorable”.






TO taste second harvest







Toronto Taste

The Granddaddy of culinary events in Toronto is turning 25! Toronto Taste, the Second Harvest fundraiser presented by The Daniels Corporation, features 50 chefs and an astounding variety of wine and beer. This culinary extravaganza  takes place lakeside at Corus Quay on Sunday, June 7 from 6pm. If you choose only one wine and food event this year – this is it. We will be there pouring Segura Viudas Cava and a few of our new wines as well. To find out more about Second Harvest’s remarkable food recovery program visit





Jazz fm





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:



“Notes” on Jazz.FM91 with Brad Barker

“Plays well with others”. Chris and Mark brought four food friendly reds to the JazzFM.91 studio along with some grilled steak salad this week and Brad scored all of the wines and food matches very high. First up was the Tuscany all-star Ricasoli Chianti Classico, followed by winner of the best Carmenere in Chile from Casa Silva Los Lingues, Ryan Patrick Rock Island Red from Washington and finally, Michael David’s over-the-top Freakshow Cab from Lodi, California. There was definitely a touch of spring punchiness in the air. Find the Flank Steak recipe from the show below.

You can listen to the podcast here.


Thanks to everyone for supporting the JAZZ.FM91 Piano Series.  Due to the success of the original Dick Hyman show, two new shows have been added on Monday, May 4.  See below for information.


Date: New shows added on Monday, May 4 - Jazz Bistro
1st Show - 7:00 p.m.                     2nd Show - 9:30 p.m.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 - SOLD OUT
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.





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)





Grilled Mediterranean Flank Steak

flanksteakWe really love Flank Steak because it’s easy to grill and tremendously versatile. Serve by itself as part of a buffet or shared table, make it into a salad or individually plate it with seasonal veggies and salad. In the spring we like to have it with new potatoes and grilled spring veggies like asparagus or fiddleheads.

This recipe is almost fool-proof, provided you spend 10 to 15 minutes babysitting the steak at the grill. Charge your favourite outdoor wine vessel with a goodly amount of wine and hang out at the grill. Unlike other cuts of steak, flank cooks more evenly if you turn it over a few times, keeping the thickest part of the steak over the hottest part of your grill.

This version uses simple Mediterranean ingredients that really complement the steak’s flavour.
Marinating the meat in a wet rub helps the herbs and garlic infuse the steak.

2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs. chopped fresh aromatic herbs (thyme, sage, rosemary, marjoram, or a mix)
1 Tbs. kosher salt
1 Tbs. ground black pepper
1-1/2- to 2-lb flank steak, trimmed of any excess fat and membrane.

Mix garlic, herbs, oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Place steak in a zip-lock bag or in a shallow dish and rub the mixture into the meat and let it sit for at least 20 minutes.

Heat a gas grill to medium-high heat or prepare a medium-hot charcoal fire.

If your grill has a hot spot, grill the thickest part of the steak over it. Grill steak until medium rare about 12-15 minutes, turning the steak every 3 or 4 minutes to ensure even cooking. The thick part of the steak should come to 140F on a meat thermometer.

Place the steak on a cutting board and rest for 5 minutes. Slice the meat across the grain at a slight angle. Serve with grilled veggies and a green salad.  Drizzle the steak with a little olive oil and Maldon Salt to finish.

Serve with any red wine.




- Mark Donaldson, Editor and Factotum







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