The Imbiber's Report

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


July 25, 2015



Reinvented-corn-on-the-cobThis week we re-visit the age old question. Can one eat too much corn on the cob? With fresh, sweet Norfolk County corn making its debut this week, you might ask yourself – how much is too much? Here’s an article from the Huffington Post that helps to dispel some of the ‘myths’ surrounding corn, it’s nutritional value and why some people think it’s bad for you (it’s not).

Besides corn, there is bounty of fruit and veggies available now. Please have a look at these links, especially the Farmer’s Markets Ontario site, and get out and support the people who grow our food!

Vintages Catalogue No. 567 contains four new limited additions to our portfolio. The release thematic is Chill Out and we have two fabulous whites featured this weekend including a Rheingau Riesling from Balthasar Ress and a zippy Riesling-centric blend from our friends at d’Arenberg. d’Arenberg’s d’Arry’s Original also makes a return visit to Ontario and Casa Silva’s beautiful single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is pictured on the back cover of the catalogue. Fans and collectors of Vintage Port should have look at the Vintages Shop Online section below for information on the rare 2003 Dow’s.

Also, Gord Stimmell lauds three of our wines as great-value in the Toronto Star, we have a link to the latest Notes episode with Brad Barker, there are some promotions at the LCBO worth reading about and there is an easy-peasy ‘pizza’ recipe that we would like to share with you.

It really feels like a Riesling moment. Hopefully there’s a bottle of Willm Reserve kicking around in the fridge (or Loved by Lu)



Wines to Chill…

Balthasar Ress Hattenheimer Ries kabBalthasar Ress Hattenheimer Schützenhaus
Riesling Kabinett 2013, Prädikatswein
Rheingau, Germany
735241 $17.95 |
150 (12 pack) cases available

16.5 out of 20 (Distinguished) – Michael Schidt,
“A fresh aroma of pears is complemented by a hint of vanilla and the merest notion of cloves. On the palate a dash of citrus peel combines with lively acidity and a gentle salty tang to produce an exemplary freshness. The contribution of residual sugar has been perfectly judged. Kabinett par excellence”.

89 Points - Kim Marcus,
“Firm and focused, with black currant, melon and red peach flavours that are juicy and fresh-tasting. Savoury notes are featured as well, with a filigree finish that lingers with hints of tarragon”.
Just west of the village of Hattenheim, the Schützenhaus vineyard site rises gently on a south-south west facing slope, where it catches sunshine and is well protected from cold easterly winds. The ‘Shooting-house’ name refers to the small huts that were placed in the vineyard where the vineyard ‘keepers’ would shoot blank cartridges to scare grape-hungry starlings off the vines. The soils are loess and loess-loam that have considerable water and nutrient supplies which ensures healthy and productive vines.

This Riesling sits in the middle of the of the Kabinett sweetness spectrum and it very well-balanced with bright citrus-apple acidity. Try it with grilled pork chops, lettuce wraps, sweet pea and ham risotto, spicy pan-Asian dishes and salads.

Wines to Chill…

The-Stump Jump Riesling Sauvignon Blanc Marsanne Roussanned'Arenberg The Stump Jump White Blend 2014
McLaren Vale, Australia
922203 $14.95
448 (12 pack) cases available

Recommended – David Lawrason,
“This is an unusual but effective blend of Riesling and Sauvignon with Rhone white varieties like Roussanne and Marsanne. It is unoaked. It is a mid-weight quite fresh, juicy white. No distinct characteristics as often is the case with blends, but green and yellow melon fruit with some lime peel and herbs show the various components. It's mid-weight, fresh and rich at the same time with some sour lemon-lime. Very good length”.

Vintages panel: “Surfing the borderline between dry and off-dry (and just catching the wave curl on the dry side), this Riesling-centric blend showcases lemon, pear and floral aromas and a citrusy palate. It'll go nicely with seafood or summer salads”.

When winemaker Chester Osborn initially set out to make the two original ‘Stumpies’, he wanted to craft a red and a white that would be quaffable and go with a wide variety of casual food – especially spicy Asian seafood dishes. The 2014 Stump Jump White contains most of the same grapes as the original white blend with Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Marsanne and Roussanne and is made in a bright, breezy style that is super easy to drink.

It’s an interesting blend that puts us in mind of fruity, off-dry Viognier (which interestingly was included in the original blend) or Chenin Blanc. Try it with foods that you usually drink beer with like chicken wings, hamburgers and pizza. Spicy food really works well, so try it with Tex-Mex, Cajun or Creole dishes.

Because it’s a quaffing wine, it comes with its own built in sobriety test in the form of an optometrist eye chart. If you hold the bottle at arm’s length and can still read the bottom line, you can have another glass. (This statement is of a humorous nature and not to be considered a test of blood alcohol for the purposes of driving a vehicle, operating heavy machinery or writing inappropriate late-night Tweets).


As Featured on the Back Cover…

Casa Silva Cab SauvCasa Silva Gran Terroir Los Lingues Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Colchagua Valley D.O., Chile
640870  $15.95
350 (12 pack) cases available

91 Points – Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar
“Glass-staining ruby. Exotically perfumed bouquet of spicy red berries, cherry-cola, incense and rose oil. Floral-accented cherry and cassis flavors are framed by silky tannins and pick up a smoky mineral quality with air. This pure, juicy, focused cabernet finishes with excellent clarity and persistence. Very nicely balanced wine”.

This single vineyard Cabernet from Chile’s Colchagua Valley likely won’t last long.  It’s a superb value and with it being featured on the back cover of this weekend’s release bulletin, we plan to grab our bottles early!






“Terrific Value…”

dArrys Originald’Arenberg d’Arry’s Original Shiraz Grenache 2010
McLaren Vale, Australia
942904  $19.95
448 (12 pack) cases available

91 Points – Joe Czerwinski, Wine Enthusiast, Editor’s Choice
“A terrific value, this blend displays gentle oaking and a hint of warm asphalt, just enough to highlight the wine's plum and black cherry fruit. It's full bodied and features a long finish, outlined by wonderfully fine, dusty tannins”.

91 Points - Josh Raynolds, Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar
“This wine is named in honour of d’Arenberg principal Francis d’Arenberg Osborn, who is universally known as d’Arry. On the nose, there is an array of complex notes of plums, licorice, nutmeg and a subtle hint of cedar. The palate is typical of the vintage, concentrated and round with velvety tannins, although still a touch of those beautiful, fine, gritty tannins so typical of d’Arenberg Grenache persist”.






Dow2003 largeDow’s Vintage Port 2003
Symington Family Estates
DOP, Portugal
673657 $129.00

93 Points – James Suckling, The Wine Spectator

Aromas of blackberries and licorice follow through to a full-bodied palate, with lots of sweetness, fine tannins and a caressing, textured finish. A refined Dow. Best after 2012. 8,500 cases made. –JS

The above review dates back to 2006 and the original US price then was $80 a bottle, so this is a steal for the port lovers among you (or your friends who deserve a gift).  The wine is drinking exceptionally well now.

It was brought into Ontario for the Primum Familiae Vini event at Vintages a few months ago. This Symington Family library stock is very limited and will not likely be available here again. You can purchase this wine by following this link.






The Toronto Star’s Gord Stimmell is a huge fan of three of our ‘great-value’ wines.

Get the party started with these great-value wines: Gord on Grapes

“Thaulero Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon, Deakin Estate’s Viognier and Piedra Negra Pinot Grigio offer great taste at a good price.

The Casal Thaulero range of wines from Terre de Chieti in Italy offer up great value.
My current favourite is the Thaulero Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon, now into a new vintage with a new label. It may not possess pizzazz, but it has real substance! At less than $8 it is an amazing best buy. Turning to summer whites, brand new from the Deakin Estate range is their Viognier. Viogniers from the original village of Condrieu in France range more than $50. This version from Oz at just $10 delivers very similar classic clover blossom and apricot joy. And from producer Lurton in Argentina, with new name and vintage, the Piedra Negra Pinot Grigio is also delicious, a perfect patio white great with seafood, poultry and all kinds of hard cheeses. Get the party started!”

Deakin Viognier med90 Points – Gord Stimmell, The Toronto Star and other Metroland media publications
Deakin Estate Viognier, 2014
Victoria, Australia
399253 $10.80
“A bouquet of peach, dried apricots and clover blossoms with lovely silky yellow Apple, peach and honeysuckle flavours”.





Piedra Negra PinotGrigio large89+ Points – Gord Stimmell, The Toronto Star and other Metroland media publications
Lurton Piedra Negra Pinot Grigio, 2014
Mendoza, Argentina
399253 $10.80
“Pure pear, green apple, lime and floral notes for aromas and spicy pear, yellow apple, ginger and lime juice flavours”.





Casal Thaulero Merlot Cab New Label MED89+ Points – Gord Stimmell, The Toronto Star and other Metroland media publications
Casal Thaulero Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
Terre di Chieti, Italy
621953 $7.75
“Nice blackberry, violets, cedar and black olives aroma with sturdy spicy black cherry, plum and blueberry nuanced flavours”.




Don’t forget about the other two Casal Thaulero wines, the Pinot Grigio and the Sangiovese (also in new packaging) as well as the Deakin Estate Shiraz, which we feel is one of the best values currently available.














“Notes” on Jazz.FM91

Chris, Mark and Brad enjoyed four new wines along with some pita pizza on Jazz.FM91 this past Wednesday. The theme was decidedly summery with House of Mandela Sauvignon Blanc, Castle Rock Chardonnay, St. Tropez Carte Noire Rosé and Animus red blend on the menu. We answered some listener’s questions, chatted a bit with Brad and chose our guest ‘Sommelier’ for the next show in August. Thanks to everyone who participated in our contest.  We will do it again soon.  
We also shared the pita pizza with no-cook sauce recipe with Jazz.FM91 listeners, which you can see below.

You can listen to the podcast here.





The following promotions are available until August 15, 2015 at the LCBO:

Save $1.00 on Deakin Estate Viognier (#399253) (NEW!)

Save $1.00 on Alsace Willm Riesling Réserve (#11452)

Save $3.00 on Seven Deadly Zins Zinfandel (#59311)

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

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

Earn 12 Bonus Air Miles on Ungava Candadian Premium Gin (#374231)

Earn 4 Bonus Air Miles when you buy 1 Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc, (#367748) earn 12 Bonus Air Miles when you buy 2

Receive a free key chain (where applied) with the purchase of House of Mandela Sauvignon Blanc (#407882).

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

Find the following wines chilling in the Wine Fridge:
Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay (#175430)
Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc (#367748)
Fresita Sparkling Wine (#383901)




Food Hack. “Food-Hacking” is a way of re-thinking a dish, to make it easier and sometimes better. This recipe for ‘pizza’ uses already cooked pitas as the base and an uncooked tomato sauce for an easy mid-week dinner.


Pita Pizzas with No-cook Tomato Sauce

These faux thin crust pizzas are simple to prepare and with a little imagination, they can be absolutely delicious. The no-cook sauce can be made very quickly and customized to suit your taste.

Tomato sauce ingredients:

Pita Pizza28 oz can crushed or ground tomatoes
2 Tbs. red-wine vinegar or lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Optional ingredients:

1 tsp. dried (or Tbs. finely chopped fresh) oregano, basil, marjoram, thyme or parsley
3 to 5 cloves garlic, minced or pressed


Whisk the tomatoes, vinegar or lemon juice, and any optional ingredients together in a bowl. Add a little bit of water to thin the sauce out to make it easy to spread on pizza.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the pita, you can use whatever is available in your local store. We use Haddad Bakery Large Lebanese Style plain or whole wheat pitas 6 per pack (two will fit on a baking sheet). Some prefer to use a thicker pita or tandoori bread.

Choose one or two different types of cheese like mozzarella, bocconcini and/or chevre and any coloured pepper, onion, zucchini, tomatoes or your favourite veggie. For meat, try smoked ham, Italian salami or prosciutto. Salty toppings like olives, pickled artichokes or anchovies will add a kick of flavour as well. Choose a theme and have fun. Try putting different flavour combos on each pizza to see what works best. We like to add some fresh basil leaves to these pizzas after they are cooked.

Preheat your oven or grill to 400F

To prepare each pizza, lightly oil the bottom of the pita and place it on a sturdy baking sheet. Add a thin layer of sauce to cover the entire surface of the bread. Add enough mozzarella to cover the pizza, leaving room for it to melt. Add salty ingredients and veggies. Finally, add the cured meat and chevre or bocconcini. Repeat with each pizza until finished. Bake pizzas for 6-10 minutes or until the cheese has melted and started to brown, being careful not to burn the bottom of the pita.
Serve with a green salad and your favourite wine.

This sauce can be refrigerated for a week or frozen for up to six months.


- Mark Donaldson, Editor and Factotum





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