The Imbiber's Report

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


September 18, 2015


Big Bold and WantedIsn’t this fun? The weather for most of south central Ontario is looking just fine. After a few hot days in most parts, the weekend may start off on the damp side but then turn into seasonal weather for late September. That’s still patio weather!  Remember the relief you felt in the spring when it finally hit 10C?  Keep playing outside! There are food and wine festivals to attend, country fairs to visit, the Apple Pie Trail to walk and drive. The salmon are running and the leaves have started to turn in Algonquin.

While we don’t have anything in this Vintages release, there are a few wines that we would like to draw your attention to even if they aren’t ours. Our colleague Sue-Ann Staff is featured on page 7 of the Vintages release as a woman who is making waves in Ontario, ‘2002 Winemaker of the Year…and she has been a consulting winemaker at top Ontario wineries and even in Bordeaux’. Turn the page and read the two page spread on John Howard’s Megalomaniac wines. Can you guess who the consulting winemaker was? (hint: her initials are SAS). Give the Merlot a spin with some grilled flank steak.

Cave Spring Indian Summer Select Late Harvest Riesling is a benchmark Ontario wine and a must-have for anyone who loves Riesling. This has graced our Thanksgiving table for more than 10 years running.  It’s perfect with fruit pies, crumbles and tarts. Sticking with Ontario, if you love the heartbreak grape, pick up some of Norman Hardie’s Unfiltered Pinot Noir VQA PEC – it is beautiful wine that is worth hunting down.

We have good news for fans of ‘The Wanted Zin’’: it’s back in stock and it’s on sale from September 13th until October 10th. It’s a big, bold, Italian Zinfandel (AKA Primitivo) from Puglia at a bargain price. Designated as a Zinfandel IGT, the wine has an American look to it, but is really quite Italian in feel and style. Chill this down for 15 minutes and drink it with salami, barbecue, grilled beef, tomato based pasta dishes or hard Italian cheese. Give this a try.  We promise you won’t be disappointed. It will go well with the recipe featured below.

Meanwhile, pour a glass of Rosé while the weather is still fine and relax a spell.




“And our bargain of the week is Casal Thaulero Pinot Grigio, replete with new label and a new vintage. It’s still a breakaway charmer for less than $9. Enjoy!”

Casal Thaulero Pinot Grigio 189+ Points – Gord Stimmell, Toronto Star
Casal Thaulero Pinot Grigio 2014
Terre di Chieti IGP, Italy
73163 $8.95
“A bouquet of yellow apple, spice and lime ushers in flavours of fresh cling peach, lemon blossom and apple. The style is full ripe fruit with a crisp finish”.







dArenberg Hermit Crab90 Points – Beppi Crosariol, The Globe and Mail
d’Arenberg The Hermit Crab Viognier Marsanne 2013
McLaren Vale, Australia
662775 $19.95
“The curious name is a double-entendre. First, it’s a tribute to the crab itself, a bizarre crustacean that appropriates and inhabits the abandoned shell of other sea creatures and whose fossilized remains over the ages supposedly helped form the limestone-rich soils of McLaren Vale, d’Arenberg’s home region. “Hermit” is also a nod and a wink to Hermitage, the famed district of France’s northern Rhône Valley where the Marsanne grape helps make some very fine, hard-to-find white wines. Medium-full-bodied, this aromatic Aussie blend shows an oily texture that evolves into a crisp, tangy finish, with flavours of lemon-honey tea and herbs along the way. A fine match for roast chicken or fleshy fish such as halibut”.
















Churchill Cellars is on the air with Humble and Fred!

We appeared on Humble & Fred this morning (if you’re reading this on Friday) and after listening and talking about the Bill King Rhythm Express cover of Jimmy Cliff’s The Harder They Come (which you can listen to here:, we tasted d’Arenberg’s The Hermit Crab Viognier Marsanne and Angove Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon.  We matched both with olive-based antipasto, and grilled Italian sausage with roasted red pepper and salami to give people an idea of how versatile both wines are. The Hermit Crab is one of the few white wines to play nicely with tomatoes (of which there seems to be a bumper crop right now).

To listen to our segment click here and go to the 1:21 mark.



Eva’s Taste Matters

Tuesday, October 20, 2015
6:00 – 9:00 pm
Liberty Grand
25 British Columbia Rd, Toronto

Join us on October 20th for the best in food, wine, craft beer, and more!
All proceeds will go towards Eva’s critical services to help homeless youth live productive lives away from the streets.

Buy Tickets

EARLY BIRD UNTIL SEPTEMBER 20 Single ticket – $100 with $60 donation receipt; 10 Ticket Package – $900 with $500 donation receipt

Eat to the Beat
60 Female Chefs. One Worthy Cause.
Benefitting Willow Breast & Hereditary Cancer Support

Eat to the Beat at a Glance
Celebrating its 20th year, Willow's Eat to the Beat is a mecca for urban foodies who come to experience the best Ontario’s culinary scene has to offer. It is the only event in Canada that exclusively features the talent of 60 female chefs: women supporting women through the challenges that come with a breast cancer diagnosis.

Tickets include savoury and sweet dishes at 60 stations along with wine, beer and a selection of non-alcoholic libations from 20 of the finest beverage purveyors.

Churchill Cellars is proud to support Eat to the Beat again this year. Please come by our table and taste House of Mandela Sauvignon Blanc, The Wanted Zin, Willm Gewurztraminer and Chateau Bel Air. See you there.

Tickets: $175
Date: Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Time: 7:00 pm
Venue: Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe Street, Toronto (St. Andrew subway station)
Dress: Smart casual
Visit for more information.

Willow org

About Willow
Willow Breast & Hereditary Cancer Support was founded in 1994 as a national, not-for-profit organization. Willow provides free-of-cost peer support, insight and information to anyone affected by breast or hereditary cancer.

Visit for more information.

Ticket are available here:





The following promotions are available until October 10, 2015 at the LCBO:


Save $0.50 on Dos Locos Lime Tequila Margarita (#370668)

Save $1.00 Vodka Mudshake Caramel (#319467)

Save $1.00 on The Wanted Zin Zinfandel IGT (#416487)

Save $1.50 on Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava (#216960)

Save $3.00 on San Leonino Governo All'Uso Toscano 2013 (#409144) (Available through Vintages)

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

Earn 10 Bonus Air Miles on Alpine Valley Sauvignon Blanc (#241810)

Receive a free 50ml Chic Choc Spiced Rum (where applied) with the purchase of Ungava Premium Gin (#374231)

Receive a free Chic Choc Tin Mug (where applied) with the purchase of Chic Choc Spiced Rum (#402867)

Find the following wines chilling in the Wine Fridge:
Marques de Riscal White Rueda (#36822)
Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery Riesling, VQA (#326249)
Alpine Valley Sauvignon Blanc (#241810)
Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava (#216960)





The Wanted Zin is exceptionally food friendly. It’s a big wine with a lot of fruit and very little tannin, so it can handle a little heat.

Among the amazing resources for recipes on line are manufacturers like Cusinart and Kitchenaid. If you are looking for a great collection of grilling recipes, have a look at Weber’s site here:

This is an amazing recipe for Rib Eye steaks that has a little heat and a ton of flavour – perfect for ‘The Wanted Zin’.


Chile-Garlic Rib Eyes with Fresh Salsa Recipe
by Jamie Purviance

Serves: 4 // Prep time: 20 minutes | Grilling time: 6 to 8 minutes


Chile Garlic Rib EyePaste
•    1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
•    2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
•    2 teaspoons kosher salt
•    1 teaspoon paprika
•    2 garlic cloves, minced or pushed through a press
•    ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

•    4 boneless rib eye steaks, each about 12 ounces and 1 inch thick, trimmed of excess fat

•    2 medium, ripe tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
•    ½ cup finely chopped red onion
•    1 small poblano chile pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
•    1 small jalapeño chile pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
•    ¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
•    2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
•    ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
•    ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
•    ½ teaspoon ground cumin
•    1 garlic clove, minced or pushed through a press


1.    Mix the paste ingredients. Spread the paste on both sides of the steaks. Allow the steaks to stand at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes before grilling.
2.    Meanwhile, combine the salsa ingredients. Set aside until ready to serve.
3.    Prepare the grill for direct cooking over high heat (450° to 550°F).
4.    Grill the steaks over direct high heat, with the lid closed, until cooked to your desired doneness, 6 to 8 minutes for medium rare, turning once. Remove from the grill and let rest for 3 to 5 minutes. Serve warm with the salsa.


- Mark Donaldson, Editor and Factotum








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