The Imbiber's Report

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


November 28, 2015


Grey Cup victoryThe 1909 University of Toronto Varsity Blues were the first winners of the Grey Cup, but the trophy wasn’t ready in time for the game, so it was presented later. It was nearly lost in a fire while it resided in the Toronto Argonaut Rowing Club. It’s been broken six times (officially), stolen twice and held for ransom. The cup has travelled across the country and overseas and has a well-established reputation as a drinking vessel. Beer, Champagne, Rye, Margaritas, and more beer have filled the vessel thousands of times. The weekend itself has long been associated with partying and general silliness. In 2013, liquor sales in the hosting province of Saskatchewan increased an astounding 61% for the week leading up to the game.     

Many fans and families have long-standing traditions associated with the weekend which usually involves a party with lots of food and drink. A Google search of ‘grey cup chili’ get 367,000 results and plenty of recipes. It’s not just chili that folks are feasting on: nachos, chicken wings, poutine, pulled pork, pierogies and pizza are also staples of the Grey Cup party spread. Whatever your favourite food tradition is, we have a few wine suggestions for you. Segura Viudas would be at the top of our list, followed by a couple of versatile whites like Deakin Estate Viognier and Caliterra Sauvignon Blanc. The off-dry Sprucewood Shores Riesling would be amazing with some of the spicier dishes. For red, something light and fruity like Pisse-Dru Beaujolais is great but make sure to have something more ‘substantial’ on hand like The Wanted Zin Old Vine Zinfandel or 7 Deadly Zins. Remember, pacing is important and you might want to invoke Jazz.FM91’s Safari Bwana - Jaymz Bee’s rule: for every two glasses of alcohol, have one glass of water.

The Holiday lights are being switched on all across the province; check this link for some ideas on where to see them:

We have a couple of polar opposites in this upcoming Vintages release. From the Mosel, we have an elegant Riesling from one of Germany’s most famous vineyards and a full-bodied, brawny Cabernet Sauvignon from South Australia. We have a few top-drawer reviews we would like to share with you, some promotions at the LCBO to tell you about and two links to our recent radio podcasts. Finally, we have a recipe for a Grey Cup dish if you read all the way to the end.

It’s getting to be Segura Viudas time again…


VINTAGES RELEASE, November 28, 2015

Wehlender Sonnenuhr Riesling SpatleseDr. Pauly Bergweiler
Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese 2013
Mosel, Germany
197186 $29.95
125 (12 pack) cases available

92 Points – Wine Spectator
“This Spätlese shows a lot of concentrated ripe fruit notes such as melon and peach. The palate lingers with dried apricot and honey cream accents. It is rich and complex and the mineral notes are underlined by the full-bodied characteristics”

This gorgeous Riesling would be fantastic with fondue. It will match salad with fruit in it, spicy Asian dishes or a fruit flan. Give it a whirl with some spicy snack food for the Grey Cup party.

The Middle Mosel, anchored by the ancient wine town of Bernkastel, wraps around itself, snaking through steep sided slopes of densely planted Riesling vines. In some vineyards it is the vine’s roots that hold the slate and soil onto the hill. Across the river from Wehlen, the vineyard rises at such a steep angle that it turns into a cliff face. Dr. Pauly Bergweiler’s website offers this insight:

“Wehlener Sonnenuhr” (Sundial of Wehlen) is a vineyard located in the heart of the Middle Moselle wine region, directly opposite the well-known wine village of Wehlen. The small south-southwest-facing terraces reach up to 250 meters above sea level.
Wehlener SonnenuhrBluish-grey, primarily stony slate from the Devonian Period forms an especially good reservoir for heat, storing the heat during the day and releasing it to the vines during cool nights. Deposits of loess and quartzite bring additional mineral components to the wine. The increased work demanded by cultivating the steepest area right around the sundial is rewarded each year by outstanding Riesling wines, largely produced from older self-rooted grapevines.

The sundial in the vineyards at the Wehlener Sonnenuhr location was erected in the 19th century by Jodocus Prüm, one of the ancestors of the Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler Estate. The Riesling wines from this vineyard have a fruity elegance combined with a lively character, and there is no doubt that these wines are among the best-known and most noble white wines in the world”.




Chapel Hill McLaren Vale Cab Sauv 2013Chapel Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
McLaren Vale, Australia
965830 $26.95
550 (12 pack) cases available

90 Points Robert Parker Wine Advocate

94 Points James Halliday, Australian Wine Companion
“Open-fermented, basket-pressed, 20 months in French hogsheads (23% new). Strong crimson-purple hue; dyed in the wool McLaren Vale cabernet, with a whirl of blackcurrant, dried herbs, black olive and unashamed cabernet tannins. Will cruise through the next 20 years”.

It was dry and warm in McLaren Vale in the summer of 2012-13, and most red grapes had a condensed growing season, reaching their optimum ripening levels earlier than normal. Each different lot of Cabernet Sauvignon was picked at peak quality and ripeness and fermented separately, using gentle extraction methods to ensure excellent concentration without any harsh tannin.

After fermentation, the wine was matured for 21 months in 300L new and used French hogsheads.

Winemaker’s Notes: “This wine exudes an evocative array of flavours. Brooding mulberry, aniseed and beetroot flavours all mingle harmoniously in the wine. The layered flavour profile is underpinned by the graceful and seamless integration with the trademark Cabernet Sauvignon “dusty” fine grained tannin structure”.

This impressive Cabernet Sauvignon exudes McLaren Vale terroir and would be a fine addition to a wine cellar or collection. You could enjoy this wine now with well marbled steak, lamb or braised dishes with pan-Mediterranean flavours, or try it in 20 years!







SV Brut Reserva New Bottle Vines –
Best Buy – Wine Buyers Guide
4 Stars – Segura Viudas
216960 $15
“This well-loved bubbly offers great value and impressive complexity. Expect aromas of toasted brioche, golden apples and crisp yellow pears with melon, soft floral notes and bright citrus balanced atop a nutty core. It boasts a persistent mousse, roasted nuts, toasted apple pastries and lemon curd flavours mimic the nose. It’s an extremely reliable all-around bubbly with a creamy weight”. – Daenna Van Mulligen



Taste different wines to get out of your comfort zone
Wines of the Week

Wente Southern Hills Large4 out of 5 Stars – Christopher Waters, Toronto Sun
Wente Vineyards
Southern Hills Cabernet Sauvignon
Livermore Valley, San Francisco Bay
301507 $17.95
“The Wente family has been a pioneering force in California wine since 1883. This ripe and juicy Cabernet comes from family owned vineyards in the Bay Area of San Francisco. Nicely layered with fruit, cedar and coffee notes, this flavourful wine is an excellent partner for barbecued ribs or chili.”




Bleasdale-Frank-Potts91 Points – Beppi Crosariol, The Globe and Mail
Bleasdale Frank Potts 2012
Cabernet Sauvignon Blend
Langhorne Creek, South Australia
619999 $27.95
“Oenologically speaking, Australia may be at polar opposites with France in many ways. The wines tend to be louder and the grape blends often tradition-flouting. Here’s a full-bodied red that slavishly follows the classic Bordeaux formula, mostly cabernet sauvignon with malbec, petit verdot, merlot and cabernet franc. Gutsy and dense with sweet plum jam, it’s balanced by tangy acidity and peppery spice, with an herbal, tobacco depth (is that the cab franc speaking?) and a touch of mint. Lamb chops would carry it to a fine finish”.












Churchill Cellars is on the air with Humble and Fred!

We began this week’s show with Chris’ New Canadian Music selection How Can You Think of Love (At a Time Like This) from The Noble Thiefs Gordie Johnson from Big Sugar was on hand to provide some wine and food commentary as he snacked on Kebabs and rice. We talked a little bit about family history before jumping into the wine tasting. The boyz sampled Casa Silva Cool Coast Sauvignon Blanc from Chile and Bleasdale’s Frank Pott’s Cabernet red blend from Langhorne Creek, Australia.  We are on at the 56 minute 30 second mark but things completely fall apart after the 1 hour 16 minute mark of the show – so be forewarned.

WARNING: mature language!










NOTES – As Featured on JAZZ.FM91 with Brad Barker

We paid Brad Barker a visit on the 18th of November for the latest episode of ‘Notes’. We brought some paté to match the red wine and talked a little bit about the great run of weather we’ve had. We tasted Casa Silva’s Cool Coast Sauvignon Blanc, Château de Panigon, Ricasoli’s Brolio Chianti Classico Riserva and d’Arenberg’s High Trellis Cabernet Sauvignon. We had a great tasting with Brad, who was very impressed with the Sauvignon Blanc and the overall quality of the reds, particularly the Ricasoli Brolio. We finished with some nice words about the good folks at Bay Bloor Radio and Chris’ turntable.  If you’re still playing vinyl, he heartily recommends taking your turntable in for a tune-up since he can’t believe the “before” and “after” results. Listen here.



 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:





The following promotions are available from November 29 to January 2, 2016 at the LCBO:


Earn 6 Bonus Air Miles on Patriarche Pinot Noir (#522649)

Earn 8 Bonus Air Miles on Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc (#367748)

Earn 10 Bonus Air Miles on Domaine Pinnacle Ice Cider (#94094)

Receive a free 50ml Chic Choc Spiced Rum (where applied) with the purchase of Vodka Mudshake Chocolate (#5280) OR Vodka Mudshake French Vanilla (#4606). While supplies Last.

Receive a free Key Chain (where applied) with the purchase of Segura Viudas Brut Reserva (#216960). While supplies Last.

Receive a free Chic Choc Tin Cup (where applied) with the purchase of Chic Choc Spiced Rum (#402867). While supplies Last.

Receive a free Key Chain (where applied) with the purchase of House of Mandela Sauvignon Blanc (#407882). While supplies Last.


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)





Grey Cup Baked Buffalo Chicken Dip


buffalo-chicken-dip s4x38 oz cream cheese
2 cups cooked and shredded chicken breast meat
½ cup Frank’s Buffalo Wing Sauce (not Hot Sauce)
1 Tblsp margarine
½ cup crumbled blue cheese
½ cup Kraft shredded Tex-Mex cheese blend
2 spring onions finely chopped


Preheat oven to 300°F.

Spread the cream cheese into the bottom of a shallow casserole dish
Toss the chicken in Buffalo Wing Sauce and margarine
Spread the chicken around the bottom of the casserole dish
Cover the chicken with shredded cheese and top with blue cheese

Bake for 20 minutes until cheese looks golden brown

Garnish with spring onion and serve immediately

Serve with carrot and celery sticks, tortilla chips and

Serve with Segura Viudas Brut Cava or Sprucewood Shores Riesling.


- Mark Donaldson, Editor and Factotum




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