The Imbiber's Report

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


September 5, 2015


This seems to be a trend. The last few summers have ended with a warm, sunny and altogether pleasant September. That means there is still plenty of patio-time and outdoor dining to be enjoyed. If you have nothing planned this weekend, why not take a drive along the North Shore Lake Erie Wine Route and visit the newest addition to our portfolio, Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery. Don’t forget to take your bathing suit because the winery has its own beach. What could be better?

Apple alert: Apple Growers of Ontario has updated its Facebook profile with a picture of this year’s fresh apples. Keep your eyes peeled for them at the market and in your grocery store. A quick reconnaissance to the Friday Farmer’s market across the street from HQ revealed a bevy of awesome produce including some great looking peaches, heirloom tomatoes and fresh wild blueberries.

In addition to our two ‘official’ releases through Vintages this weekend, we have two wonderful sparkling wines from Krimsekt that will be making their way to LCBO’s shelves. We have an amazing red blend from Pessac-Léognan that we are excited to tell you about. One of our very favourite white wines makes a return visit to the LCBO, just in time for the long weekend.

A cold glass of refreshing Marques de Riscal Rueda (which you can read about below) would be the perfect thing to sip on while reading this edition of The Imbiber’s Report.



Sprucewood Shores with LogoWe are very pleased to announce a new addition to our portfolio - Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery. They produce a wide range of top quality wines on the north shore of Lake Erie and have two listings at the LCBO. We hope that you will support this home-grown venture by picking up a few bottles of their wine to share with your friends this weekend.

Family-owned and operated, Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery is located along the Lake Erie North Shore Wine Route between Harrow and Amherstburg in south western Ontario. Their first vines were planted in 1991 and now total 35 acres of top quality Vitis vinifera grapes.

The farm was initially purchased by Hannah and Gord Mitchell in 1975 with the dream of someday planting grapes and perhaps starting a winery. Gord’s family came from Essex County farming stock and were pioneers in the region. As they say, life happens and Gord began working with Chrysler, east of Toronto, where the couple raised four children while living and working on their respective careers. Finally in 1991, with the help of the children, the family planted the first (crooked) rows of vines. More vines were added over time and the fruit was sold to neighbouring wineries.

In 2003 they collectively decided to build and operate their own winery. Gord summoned his latent architect and designed the winery himself. While he contracted some of the work out, much of it he built by himself. He also did the landscaping, as well as tending to the vineyard. Behind the scene, Hannah directed everything to do with books, inventory and the eventual retail outlet.

The winery’s official Grand Opening was in June 2007 and was celebrated by family and friends. The winery immediately began winning awards for its wine and for its hospitality: Cottage Life named them ‘One of the ten best wineries to visit in Canada’.

Sadly, the winery’s founders passed away within a year of each other in 2011 and 2012 after bringing the family dream to fruition. Today all four siblings, extended family and friends continue to operate the winery on a daily basis, from winemaking to events, weddings and sales.

Please visit their website to learn more about their amazing story and to see pictures of the winery.

Sprucewood RieslingSprucewood Shores Estate Winery
VQA Ontario
326249 $13.95

This charming Riesling is crisp, light and refreshing. It’s very well balanced, with nice interplay between green apple, tropical fruit and lemon acidity on the palate. Hints of mineral and a bit of spice add complexity to this off-dry white. Try it with Lake Erie Perch or Pickerel, salads that have fruit in them (Spinach with goat cheese and mandarin oranges), grilled pork and apples or spicy pan-Asian cuisine. It’s friendly enough to use instead of beer with things like nachos or chicken wings. It would be a very nice match with the turkey burger recipe below.







Lady-In-RedSprucewood Shores Estate Winery
Lady in Red Cabernet / Merlot
VQA Ontario
266486 $14.95

This appealing blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Franc is medium-bodied, soft and smooth with good complexity and solid flavour intensity. Balanced cherry and dark fruit flavours are complemented by hints of oak and spice. The finish is soft and brambly. This very friendly red will play well with most grilled beef, sausages, tomato-based pasta dishes or pizza. You could also give it whirl with ribs or chicken and zingy barbecue sauce.








VINTAGES RELEASE, September 5, 2015

Rapid Release…

Watch for both Krimsekt sparkling wines in Vintages over the next couple of weeks as they will be released through the LCBO’s Rapid Release program.

Krimsekt WhiteKrimsekt White
Semi-Sweet Sparkling Wine 2013
206441 $19.95
250 (6 pack) cases available

A semi-sweet sparkling wine made in the Champagne method with a light straw colour and rich flower and fruit flavours. It pairs well with mild cheeses, poultry, soups, spicy foods and Asian cuisine. It would also make fantastic mimosas.









Krimsekt RedKrimsekt Red
Semi-Sweet Sparkling Wine 2013
141655 $19.95
240 (6 pack) cases available

A unique bubbly blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot and 10% Saperavi. It is deep ruby red in colour, light weight with mild chocolate and dried plum notes and is created in the Champagne method which combines the yeastiness of the second fermentation with the sweetness from the first fermentation.

This surprisingly refreshing red bubbly would be fun to drink with some baby back ribs with barbecue sauce, gourmet burgers with blue cheese or Peking duck. You could also match it with chocolate-based desserts. This is authentic sparkling red wine that gets its bubbles from secondary fermentation in the bottle.






dArenberg Hermit Crabd’Arenberg The Hermit Crab Viognier Marsanne 2013
McLaren Vale, South Australia
662775 $19.95
256 (12 pack) cases available

 4.5 Stars, Vic Harradine,
“A fabulous nose of exotic spice, floral notes and a salad bowl of peach, pear and tropical fruit set the table for a palate-bathing flow of lemon pie filling and Key lime interwoven with grilled pineapple, yellow peach and ripe pear. A true work of art, small parcels of fruit were basket-pressed, 3% wild-yeast fermented with 14% of Viognier aged in French and American oak. It’s medium-full bodied with generous mouth feel and a lengthy, lip-smacking finish that layers on wisps of piquant ginger and sugared lemon peel. This is yet another masterpiece from artist/winemaker Chester Osborn”.

90 Points - D.J. Kearney,
“Like winemaker Chester Osborn in his outrageous floral shirts and trousers, this new edition of the Crab is flamboyant and attention-getting. Open and expressive, a dazzling mix of jasmine, peach and lemon verbena lead the aromatic charge with subtle almond and beeswax notes. Flavours transit through apricot, lime curd, and pineapple, streaked with spice, marzipan and dried herbs. At once rich and lithe, it’s textured and balanced, with a lengthy finish full of savoury verve. A look at the back label reveals a touch of barrel fermentation on a portion of the Viognier”.

We love this wine: it’s quirky, complex and totally delicious. Hermit Crab is a favourite of the wine world inteligencia and is scooped up by Sommeliers, restaurateurs and educators alike. We love it with crustacean, shellfish, octopus and everything that swims in the sea. This white Rhône blend has, what we like to call, a pan-Mediterranean sensibility. It plays well with stronger flavoured dishes that include garlic, capers, olives, anchovies and tomatoes. Try it with the grilled Turkey burger recipe below. Dress the burger with green olive tapenade and grilled onions.


Chateau Baret Pessac LeognanChâteau Baret 2009
Pessac-Léognan AOC
Bordeaux, France
81877 $36.95
120 (12 pack) cases available

90-93 Points – James Suckling,
“Blueberry and clove on the nose. Full-bodied, with soft and velvety tannins and a core of impressive fruit. Super fruity. 49% Merlot, 48% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Cabernet Franc”.

 4.5 Stars, Vic Harradine,
“The spice-driven nose offers up aromas of dark berry fruit and pipe tobacco wrapped in baking spice. It’s rich and dense with dark cherry and cassis joined by baking spice and espresso roast flavours on the palate. Medium-full bodied with firm structure, it’s quite showy and fruit forward finishing with a solid tannin underpinning. Aerate/decant for three hours before serving or better still, wait another 12 months to pull corks”.

This château is under Denis Dubourdieu’s consulting skills and now produces high quality red and white wines at sensible prices. Dubourdieu is a French winemaker and Professor of Oenology at the University of Bordeaux. He is manager or co-manager of several wineries in Bordeaux.





Angove Vineyard Select Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon90 Points – Gord Stimmell, Toronto Star, K-W Record, Hamilton Spectator
Angove Vineyard Select Cabernet Sauvignon
Coonawarra, Australia
361311 $22.95
“A nose of cherry wood, vanilla and menthol with vanilla, black cherry, mulberry and red plum flavours all clad in a smooth texture”.





Marques de Riscal Rueda largeBeppi Crosariol, Globe and Mail
Marques de Riscal
Rueda DO, Spain
36822  $12.05
Verdejo: Think of this vivacious grape’s name as a Spanish word for ‘white-wine value’
“Picture this: lip-smacking freshness, smooth, seductive body and a complex yet unpretentious character, the sort of drink that could put the spark back in your weekday house-wine rotation.

Modern Rueda as we know it dates back only to the 1970s, when large producer Marques de Riscal saw potential in verdejo to yield a dry wine with more international appeal than syrupy, fortified fare. That gambit coincided with the spread in Spain of newfangled temperature-controlled steel tanks, which keep fermentations cool to preserve freshness – just what verdejo needed after struggling for a millennium in Spain’s sweltering heat.

Marques de Riscal, among others, makes an excellent entry-level Rueda for about $12”.











NOTES – As Featured on JAZZ.FM91 With Brad Barker
This week, Chris and Mark paid a visit to the JAZZ.FM91 studio and were joined by contest winner and ‘Guest Sommelier’ Carole Binsky. The late summer tasting included d’Arenberg Stump Jump White, First Press Napa Valley Chardonnay, Angove Cross Stitch Shiraz / Cabernet Sauvignon and Casa Silva Gran Terroir Los Lingues Cabernet Sauvignon. Carol took an immediate shining to the Casa Silva Cabernet Sauvignon. Brad enjoyed all four wines and liked the ‘deconstructed turkey’ burgers that we served as the food match (see recipe below). All in all, it was a solid episode of Notes and you can listen to it here.






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)





Grilled Parmesan Turkey Burgers

These are easy to prepare and make a great mid-week dinner. They have a lot of flavour and taste amazing with simple toppings like tomato and red onion. If you need more cheese, try using something other than cheddar - brie or Bergeron are terrific.

We use the high fibre burger buns from Cobbs dressed accordingly.


1 lb ground Turkey
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 Tbs chopped fresh chives
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 Tbs olive oil
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 tsp salt


Mix all of the ingredients into a large bowl. Fold the meat over gently with a spoon or your hands until well mixed.

Make four equal sized patties (hint - with your thumb, make a small dent in the top of the burger for better cooking results).

Cook turkey burgers over medium high heat until well charred on the outside and cooked through completely. Dress with your favourite topping and bun. Serve immediately.

You can substitute other hard cheeses like Grana or Pecarino Romano for Parmigiano-Reggiano, but don’t use the 100% grated ‘Parmesan’ cheese that comes in the green shaker.

This dish goes great with almost any style of wine. Match the toppings, not the burger. Try blue cheese with a big red, sautéed onions with a medium, fruity red, guacamole with fruity whites, etc.

To make this ‘sing’ with d’Arenberg Hermit Crab or Sprucewood’s Riesling add a ¼ tsp of cayenne pepper to the ground turkey and top with Gadoury’s Guacamole that we featured in the August 8th edition.


- Mark Donaldson, Editor and Factotum









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