The Imbiber's Report

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


August 21, 2015



Crozes Hermitage CorkOkay, this is it – everything but the apples is in season. Good growing conditions have produced a bumper crop of almost everything across the province. Have a look to see what’s available in your area: and remember to visit one of these markets before the summer is over
We have a new French red wine at the LCBO that we are very excited about! It has already garnered the praises of some local wine scribes as you’ll see below. d’Arry’s Original and Casa Silva’s Los Lingues Cab made Beppi Crosariol’s Globe and Mail wine column and Sue-Ann Staff’s Fancy Farm Girl is on the road. We had two visits to Humble & Fred since the last report (we won’t see them again until September).

This report’s recipe puts together a few of our favourite things and will be a great match with our new Crozes-Hermitage. Pour a glass of something red and read on…



Les Trois CouronnesLes Trois Couronnes
Crozes-Hermitage AOC 2013
Rhône Valley, France
421065 $17.95

This is the only Crozes-Hermitage on the ‘General List’ at the LCBO and the only Crozes-Hermitage under $20. 100% Syrah, this is an authentic and stylish wine with all the right hallmarks. Fruity, smooth and peppery with a good dollop of bright acidity, it will age for a couple of years if you want it to, or enjoy it now with wide variety of food. Decant it and put it in the fridge for 20 minutes to cool it down just a touch.

89 Points – Steve Thurlow,
“This is very typical for Crozes Hermitage, a red blend mostly of Syrah from the famed Hermitage hill in the northern Rhone. Expect aromas of blackberry and black cherry fruit with subtle oak spice, black pepper and beets and a hint of blueberry jam. It is full bodied and nicely rounded on the palate with the fruit persisting well and just enough tannin for grip on the finish. Very good length. Will gain in complexity and integration with a few more years of bottle age. So decant for an hour or pop in the cellar for a year or two”.

89 Points – David Lawrason,
“This is a stylish if not hugely deep or complex northern Rhone Syrah, with nicely ripened black cherry, licorice and some dusty, peppery and meaty notes. I like the authenticity and complexity here. It's medium to full bodied, fairly firm and dry with some mineral, meat and pepper on the finish. Good to very good length.”






dArrys Original

91 Points – Beppi Crosariol, Globe and Mail
d’Arenberg d’Arry’s Original Shiraz Grenache 2010
McLaren Vale, Australia
“Smooth, rich, succulent and chewy, this red blend dishes up concentrated plum and berry-jam flavours infused with a suggestion of tar, pulled in by structured tannins on the long finish. Perfect for grilled lamb chops”.




Casa Silva Cab Sauv90 Points – Beppi Crosariol, Globe and Mail
Casa Silva Los Lingues Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
McLaren Vale, Australia
"Polished in texture and complex for the money. Cassis, dark chocolate trade licks (as they say in jazz) with savoury notes of eucalyptus, smoke, black pepper and licorice. Ripe tannins pull it all together for a steak-friendly profile".









Catch Sue-Ann Staff’s Fancy Farm Girl at Big on Bloor this weekend at the VQA wine sampling truck.  For details visit their website

They are also on Twitter and Instagram @TheVQAWineTruck.  Check in to see where they are and when they will be pouring. They have added some additional dates that you will want to know about.











The August 12th episode began with Elle King’s other song - Last Damn Night. We talked baseball, jumping on the Jay’s bandwagon and terroir. The boyz tasted Balthasar Ress’ Hattenheimer Schutzenhaus Riesling Kabinett and the Casa Silva Los Lingues Cabernet Sauvignon as they noshed on some cheese and paté. Fred said he’s buying a bottle of the Riesling to take to the cottage for his wife and Humble was all over the red (as usual).

Here’s a link To Elle King’s song

To listen to our segment click here and go to the 53:50 mark.

We re-visited H&F on the 19th of August for another wineforbreakfast episode that began with the soulful sound of Anderson East’s Satisfy Me. We talked about sausage, the amazing gourmet food shop called the Cheese Boutique, the lack of stupid people in Portland, Oregon and Pinot Noir. They were both blown away by how different and good both the Rainstorm Pinot Noir and the Cross Stitch Shiraz/Cab were. We made some sausage jokes and commented on how great they were with the wines. Much fun was had by all.

Check out Anderson East here

Listen to the segment here at the 54:44 mark.

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. You may listen to the podcast anytime you please.

NOTE: Broadcasts contains mature language.






The following promotions are available until September 12, 2015 at the LCBO:


Save $1.00 on Pisse-Dru Beaujolais AC (#2881)

Save $1.50 on Crazy Uncle Über Caesar (#370650)

Save $2.00 on Gran Feudo Reserva (#479014)

Save $2.00 on La Merika Central Coast Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (#409169) - Available through Vintages

Save $3.00 on Slava Ultra Premium Vodka (#600585)

Earn 3 Bonus Air Miles on Cellier des Dauphins Prestige Red Côtes du Rhône (#464669)

Earn 4 Bonus Air Miles on Caliterra Cabernet Sauvignon (#257329)

Earn 6 Bonus Air Miles on Alsace Willm Gewurztraminer Réserve (#269852)

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

Earn 5 Bonus Air Miles when you buy 1 Vodka Mudshake French Vanilla (#4606) or Vodka Mudshake Caramel (#319467), Buy both and earn 15 Bonus Air Miles

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




There was a little serendipity in the parking lot of the Cheese Boutique this week as I was picking up the sausages to grill for the Humble & Fred show. Tom from Café Bar Pasta handed me a bag of his fresh Bastoncini pasta to try (we’ve never officially met before – but the timing was right and the gesture was greatly appreciated). Go to and check out their food-porn and the dough2go section to see what’s available this week.  

Bastoncini (bas-ton-chee-knee)
A member of the spaghetti family. This is a more durable version of spaghetti with three times the thickness. Round in shape, its applications allow you to be bold with your flavour accompaniments.
Café Pasta Bar Chef Scaife says: “This is a great pasta for spaghetti and meatballs with stronger flavours like lamb meatballs or bison. It holds well with squid ink as well”.

Bastoncini with Grilled Tomato Sauce and Grilled Italian Sausage

This method requires a little babysitting of the tomatoes while they are on the grill, but otherwise, it’s a pretty easy and tasty way to make a sauce. If you are good with timing, you can make the sauce while the water is coming to a boil. Otherwise make the sauce ahead and bring the water to a boil as the sausages cook and then put the dish together.

PastaFor the sauce:
8 Italian plum tomatoes, cut in half, seeded and tossed in olive oil
1 red pepper, cut into 4 large pieces for grilling
1 red onion, cut into quarters with the papery skin removed (leave the stem on)
1 head of garlic, top cut off, drizzled with olive oil and wrap in tin foil
Salt and pepper to taste
Your choice of fresh herbs like basil, rosemary, oregano and parsley

Heat a grill to medium high and place the onion, garlic and red peppers on direct heat for 5 minutes.
Turn the veggies to ensure they are cooking evenly for another five to ten minutes.
Place the tomatoes flesh side down and grill until they char, turn them over and cook on the skin side for 2 – 3 minutes.

Remove the tomatoes, onion and red pepper and place them in a large bowl.  Check the garlic to see if it’s cooked through – leave it on the grill for another 5 minutes if not.

Meanwhile, peel any blackened skin off the pepper and tomato. Remove the stem of the red onion. Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their paper-skin.

In a large food processor, puree all of the veggies together until smooth.

Reheat the sauce on the stove, season with herbs, salt and pepper to taste

(Depending on when you are preparing – heat your grill to medium-low if it’s not already on)

For the pasta dish:
1 lb of fresh spaghetti –like pasta (from Café Bar Pasta, the Cheese Boutique or other)
Grated hard Italian cheese to taste.
4 fresh Italian sausages – mild or spicy

Grill the sausages until they are cooked through (cover, set aside to keep warm)
In a large pot, bring four litres of water to a boil. Add one Tbsp of salt and cook pasta according to instructions (we usually shave a minute off the cooking time and finish cooking the pasta in the sauce in the pot).

Serve pasta ‘family’ style on a large platter. Cut the sausages into bite sized pieces and place them on top of the pasta, sprinkle with some fresh parsley and grated cheese.



- Mark Donaldson, Editor and Factotum








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