The Imbiber's Report

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


June 11, 2016


Crazy Uncle Blue BackgroundThanks to all of our Imbiber’s Report subscribers who made the trek down to the George Brown College Waterfront Campus this week to join us for our 14th Annual Portfolio Tasting. We greatly appreciate the effort and thank you for your continued support. We would also like to thank all of our suppliers who were able to join us, especially the good people from Segura Viudas, who supplied everyone with a complimentary glass of Cava.

So the thing is…we have this new ‘grown-up’ craft soda in the portfolio that was released a few weeks ago. At the time, we thought we should wait until there was enough stock on-shelf before announcing it in the Imbiber’s Report (we didn’t want you to go looking for something that wasn’t there yet). And then this happened and Crazy Uncle All Natural Hard Root Beer sold out. This week, the Root Beer is back in stock (for now). This will likely sell out quickly, so grab some this weekend if you can…  Enjoy it out of the can, in a frosty mug, or try it as an adult Root Beer float.


Crazy Uncle Hard Root BeerCrazy Uncle
All Natural Hard Root Beer
Craft Soda for Grown-Ups
448779 $2.95
Made in Canada 5% alc./vol.






Your ‘have a glass of wine while reading the Imbiber’s Report mission’ is to match what’s in your glass with how you feel right while reading this sentence. The Editor plans to retire the week with a French 75 made with Segura Viudas Cava and Ungava Gin.



We have no new wines in the June 11 Vintages release so in lieu of that, here are our three Vintages Essentials that are available year round at most Vintages locations.

Willm Riesling 2014 largeWillm Riesling Réserve 2014
Alsace AC, France
11452 $17.95

90 Points – Best Buy - Anne Krebiehl MW, Wine Enthusiast
“Red apples abound on the nose of this fresh, taut and wonderfully clean and crisp Riesling. The palate is just off dry and the tension between crunchy apple and tart citrus makes you want to go on sipping, just to get that lovely lip-smacking finish again”.

Recommended – Rod Phillips, Ottawa Citizen
“This Riesling from Alsace is made in a dry style, but not as astringently dry as many, and that makes it good sipping on its own, as well as friendly to food. Look for well-defined flavours and crisp acidity, and enjoy it with seafood, smoked salmon, white fish, and poultry”.

With one of the longest and driest growing seasons in continental Europe, Alsace is perfectly suited for growing cool-climate grapes like Riesling and Pinot Gris. Riesling ripens well during a normal season but will often benefit from a late sunny autumn. The added hang time builds sugar and promotes full maturity of the grapes. The 2014 had a sunny and fair September and the fruit harvest began around the 15th.

We had Willm Riesling recently with pan-fried Ontario trout and warm ‘German’ potato and asparagus salad – it was amazing! (recipe below).



Gran Feudo Reserva NVGran Feudo Reserva 2009
Navarra DO, Spain
479014 $16.95

Here’s your chance to taste a nicely maturing Tempranillo-based blend from Rioja’s often overlooked neighbour, Navarra. The addition of 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot gives this Reserva a bright modern feel. It’s fleshy, intense and medium-full bodied with smooth as silk tannins and lovely long finish. Pan-Mediterranean flavours play well with this red, including Moroccan spice and Herbs de Provence from southern France.










7 Deadly Zins New Packaging LargeMichael David Winery
7 Deadly Zins 2013
Lodi, California
59311  $24.95

“Year in year out, this is one of the best value wineries in the entire world”

90 Points - Robert Parker, Wine Advocate
“A softer, more lush and voluptuous texture can be found in the 2013 7 Deadly Zins, which is also 100% Zinfandel from Lodi. The production here is 280,000 cases! To produce such a high-volume wine of this quality is pretty remarkable winemaking. Loads of ripeness, fruit, glycerin and medium to full-bodied silky mouthfeel make for a delicious effort.... Year in year out, this is one of the best value wineries in the entire world. Working from grape sources in Lodi, they offer an assortment of wines, but their top cuvées are always the rather solid, full-flavored and savoury dry red wines”.

This big, brash Zinfandel is unapologetically over-the-top without offending. The bright, intense cherry-like acidity actually lightens this wine up a bit and makes a great partner with all sorts of food that include a sweet and spicy combo. Barbecue ribs, pulled pork, bacon and cheese burgers and things like Chinese BBQ duck or teriyaki dishes. Put 7 Deadly Zins in the fridge for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. It should be a couple of degrees below 20C.






dArenberg The Footbolt Shiraz91 Points – Beppi Crosariol, The Globe and Mail
d’Arenberg The Footbolt Shiraz 2013
McLaren Vale, Australia
984021 $19.95

“Full-bodied, with intense blackberry-blueberry characters infused with notes of chocolate and vanilla, finishing with impressive peppery vigour and mouth-watering acidity. A big but fresh and lively Australian red, and an excellent choice for barbecued red meats, even saucy ribs”.















Second Harvest's Toronto Taste 2016

Lakeside, Corus Quay
25 Dockside Dr. Toronto
Sunday, June 12, 2016
Doors Open: 6:00 PM

To purchase tickets and for more details:




The concerts at Wente





The Concerts at Wente Vineyards in California showcase world-renowned entertainers in the winery’s picturesque natural amphitheater in Livermore, about 60 minutes east of San Francisco.  Although not all the shows have been announced, this year's lineup includes:

Tuesday, June 28th – CHICAGO
Thursday, July 7th – DIANA ROSS
Wednesday, August 10th – HUEY LEWIS AND THE NEWS
Tuesday, August 16th – LYNYRD SKYNYRD
Tuesday, September 13th – CHRIS ISAAK

For all the details, visit
If you plan to visit California over the summer, this is a great way to spend an evening. For tickets, go to or call them at 1-800-745-3000.











Our JazzFM.91 appearance with Brad Barker is now posted as a podcast on their website. You’ll find it here:

We love Jazz.FM91 and we try to help out with their fundraising campaigns as much a possible by donating wine and food events to the station. The money raised helps to keep the station on the air. It also assists with their music education and outreach programs for youth in Toronto.

You can catch our fundraising segment on Friday June 10 live with Brad Barker at around 5 pm. We’ll have a special event that you can join us at if you donate to the station. You can also donate anytime by following this link to the donate now button





The following promotions are available now until June 18, 2016 at the LCBO:

Earn 4 Bonus Air Miles on Dunavar Pinot Grigio (#335422)

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

Earn 6 Bonus Air Miles on Gran Feudo Rose (#165845)

Earn 7 Bonus Air Miles on Caliterra Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva (#257329)

Earn 7 Bonus Air Miles on Patriarche Pinot Noir VdP (#522649)

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

Save $1.00 on Sprucewood Shores Estate Riesling VQA (#326249)

Save $1.50 on Vodka Mudshake Chocolate (#5280)

Receive a free Koozie (where applied) with the purchase of Vodka Mudshake Orange (#448175). While supplies Last.

Find the following wines chilling in the Wine Fridge in Select Stores:
Segura Viudas Brut Reserva (#216960)





This classic German potato salad is a summer staple. Perfectly suited to use Ontario produce in and other local ingredients like apple cider vinegar and mustard from Kozlik’s mustard.

Warm German Potato and Asparagus Salad

Ontario asparagus brightens and enhances the classic German potato salad. Switch up other seasonal veggies for asparagus after the season is over. Try green beans, red or green peppers or roasted corn.

Warm potato German Salad3 cups peeled and cut into chunks Ontario Potatoes
4 slices Ontario Bacon
1 small Ontario Onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup Farm Boy Organic apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp Kozlik’s Double C mustard
1/2 tsp salt
pinch pepper
1 lb Ontario Asparagus, trimmed and chopped into two-inch pieces

Place potatoes in medium pot; cover with cold water. Bring to boil, cover and cook until fork tender, 10 to 15 minutes; drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, in large deep skillet over medium-high heat, cook bacon, turning as needed, until crisp, three to six minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate to absorb excess fat. Chop or crumble bacon, set aside.

Pour off all but 2 tbsp bacon fat from skillet. Add onion to skillet and cook over medium heat until golden, about three minutes. Add vinegar, sugar, water, mustard, salt and pepper and bring to boil. Add potatoes and asparagus and cook until asparagus is tender-crisp, about three minutes, transfer to serving platter. Top with crumbled bacon; serve warm.

Tip: Potatoes, bacon and onion dressing can be made ahead. Ten minutes before serving, finish by reheating the dressing and potatoes, then cooking the asparagus.

Enjoy with most white wine, rosé or beer. It’s a great side to have on hand all summer.

Cheers! - Mark Donaldson, Editor and Factotum





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