The Imbiber's Report

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


October 16, 2015


Blue JaysThink of every baseball game as an opportunity to eat. Dust off the TV trays and relax (if you can). The pace of a baseball game lends itself to leisurely noshing. There is plenty of time to enjoy some good food and some fine wine. It’s like having a casual two and a half hour dinner party.  Nachos and Willm Riesling, Chili and Chateau de Gourgazaud, Hamburgers and The Wanted Zin, Fish Tacos and Deakin Viognier, Cheddar Smokies and Sue-Ann Staff’s Baco Noir, and Cobb Salad and Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay are just a few ideas. It doesn’t have to be complicated either.  A nice cheese plate with some cured meat and veggies with some Segura Viudas Cava or Gran Feudo Rosado will do the trick.

The October 17th Vintages release sees the return of Chester Osborn’s Garagista Bordeaux blend. We have some good news from Wine Align World Wine Awards of Canada 2015, some terrific promotions at the LCBO to talk about and a cool food idea for one of the baseball games.
A celebratory glass of Segura Viudas would be in order…


VINTAGES RELEASE, October 17, 2015

dArenberg Galvo Garage Cabernet Sauvignon d’Arenberg The Galvo Garage 2010
McLaren Vale/Adelaide Hills, South Australia
907584 $29.95
192 (12 pack) cases available

91 Points - Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar

91 Points – Josh Raynolds,
“(68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 9% Petit Verdot and 4% Cabernet Franc): Saturated ruby. Smoky cherry and dark berries on the intensely perfumed nose, with a hint of licorice in the background. Densely packed, chewy blackcurrant and bitter cherry flavors gain sweetness with air. Opens up more on the finish, which features youthful tannins and an echo of woodsmoke”.

There is a little stamp on the back label which reads – Foot Trod – Basket Pressed. In case you are wondering what that means, here are the winemaker’s notes:

“Small batches of grapes are gently crushed and then transferred to five tonne headed down open fermenters. These batches remain separate until final blending.

Foot treading is undertaken two thirds of the way through fermentation. The wine is then basket pressed and transferred to a mixture of new and used French barriques to complete fermentation

The barrel ferments are aged on lees, and there is no racking until final blending. This wine does not undertake fining or filtration prior to bottling”.

The wine is basically untouched from the time it finishes fermenting until it’s blended and bottled. All of the grapy goodness stays intact, ready for you to enjoy. Try with braised beef ribs or game.





Wine Align World Wine Awards of Canada 2015

Deakin Estate Shiraz Sm-MedGold Medal, Value Wine
Deakin Estate Shiraz 2014, Australia
560821   $9.95
“What a great price for this well made very drinkable shiraz. Expect aromas of red and blackcherry fruit with spicy and herbal tones and a hint of tobacco. It is on the light side of mid-weight with the black cherry fruit well balanced by lemony acidity. Very good length. A good everyday wine to have on hand at this price”. - Steve Thurlow




Caliterra Cab Sauv medSilver Medal, Value Wine
Caliterra Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2013, Chile
257329   $9.95
“This is a soft, very approachable young cabernet that is fruity with aromas and flavours of blueberry and blackcurrant fruit with some herbal and chocolate notes. Medium weight, sweetish and very smooth, with dry smooth tannin. Good length”. - Steve Thurlow





Caliterra Sauv Blanc medSilver Medal, Value Wine
Caliterra Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2014, Chile
275909   $9.95
“This is very well priced for a pure clean richer style of sauvignon. Expect aromas of passionfruit, lemon and pear fruit with a hint of fresh bread. The palate is mid-weight well balanced with good focus and fresh lemony acidity. Very good length with the fruit persisting well. Try with grilled chicken or sautéed seafood”. - Steve Thurlow





Casal Thaulero Pinot Grigio 1medSilver Medal, Value Wine
Casal Thaulero Pinot Grigio 2014, Italy
73163   $8.95
“The 2014 is still among the best Pinot Grigio on the shelves at the LCBO despite being one of the least expensive. Expect mild aromas of apple and melon fruit with nutty and lemon notes. The palate is very fruity and rich with the lively acidity well balanced by the fruit. It is dry and clean with very good length. The finish shows lots of clean fruit”. - Steve Thurlow





Deakin Art Blend Cabernet Tempranillo medBronze Medal, Value Wine
Deakin Artisan’s Blend Cabernet Tempranillo 2013, Australia
399238    $12.80
“A midweight juicy red blend with mild aromas of raspberry fruit with beetroot and mild oak spice. It is well balanced with a soft entry and dry fruity finish". - Steve Thurlow






Deakin Viognier medBronze Medal, Value Wine
Deakin Estate Viognier 2014, Australia
399253    $10.80
“This is a lightweight varietally correct viognier with a perfumed delicate nose of honeysuckle with peach and orange zest aromas. The delicate fruit on the palate is well balanced by some soft lemony acidity. Very good focus and very good length". - Steve Thurlow















Churchill Cellars is on the air with Humble and Fred!

Humble really loved Chris’ choice for the intro song this week - Ben Caplan and the Casual Smokers, 40 Days and 40 Nights We talked about baseball and the crazy game that saw the Jays win the series. We poured two different Bordeaux wines from Château Bel Air and Château Donissan. The boyz noshed on some Tourtière along with some award winning cheese and settled down into some rather serious talk about the Bordeaux region and the difference between the two. More ball talk and we were finished.

To listen to our segment click here and go to the 1:02:40 mark.



 Jazz FM Italian series sign









JAZZ FM Sounds of Italy Concert Series

Three of our Italian wines, Casal Thaulero Pinot Grigio, Sangiovese and The Wanted Zin Old Vine Zinfandel are sponsors of this interesting series featuring four Italian jazz pianists. The first show was this past week but three more pianists will be featured over 6 shows.  Mirko Signorile appears on November 10, Rita Marcotulli on February 22 and Giovanni Guidi on March 22.  Show times are 7:00 pm and 9:30 pm on those nights at the Jazz Bistro, but we suggest you arrive earlier to enjoy dinner with some wine before the show.

To see more information about the shows and order tickets, go to:




Evas Taste Matters Logo





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.

To Buy Tickets:



Willow org


Eat to the Beat

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

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.

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 November 7, 2015 at the LCBO:

Save $1.50 on Cellier des Dauphins Carte Noire (#110197)

Save $2.00 on San Leonino Chianti Classico DOCG 2011, through Vintages (#412387)

Save $2.00 on Animus Douro DOC 2013, through Vintages (#385302)

Earn 3 Bonus Air Miles on Dunavar Pinot Grigio (#335422)

Earn 4 Bonus Air Miles on Pisse-Dru Beaujolais (#2881)

Earn 12 Bonus Air Miles on Domaine Pinnacle Ice Cider (#94094)

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)





Cheese Dip

My 1953 copy of The New Joy of Cooking has a recipe for Spinach and Cheese spread that can be used as a sandwich filling or heated up to be served as a canapé. This type of dish saw some return to popularity in the eighties when it was often available as pub food (when’s the last time you saw a ploughman’s lunch on a menu?). We’ve also used baby arugula with good success.

This version uses slightly different ingredients, including Kale, but the idea is the same. Use it as a dip for veggies: we use toasted whole wheat pita ‘chips’.


6 cups (1.5 L) packed Baby Kale, (about 125 g)
1 cup (250 mL) shredded Swiss cheese
3 tbsp (45 mL) grated parmesan cheese
Half pkg (250 g pkg) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (125 mL) mayonnaise
1/2 cup (125 mL) sour cream
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp (1 mL) each salt and pepper

In saucepan of lightly salted boiling water, cook kale until wilted, about 1 minute. Drain; let cool slightly. Using back of spoon, press out and discard excess liquid; chop kale into pieces. Combine Swiss cheese with Parmesan cheese; set aside.

In a food processor, pulse together kale, cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, garlic, salt and pepper, scraping down side as needed, until smooth. Stir in all but 3 tbsp of the Swiss cheese mixture. Scrape into a 2-cup (500 mL) ovenproof dish; sprinkle with remaining Swiss cheese mixture. (Make-ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Add 10 minutes to bake time.) Bake in 400 F (200 C) oven until hot, golden and bubbly, about 20 minutes.

Serve with a light zippy wine like Casal Thaulero, Piedra Negra or Dunavar Pinot Grigio, Alpine Valley or Caliterra Sauvignon Blanc or Segura Viudas Cava.

Go Jays!


- Mark Donaldson, Editor and Factotum




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