The Imbiber's Report

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


August 6, 2016


With so many different flavours and textures flying around the summertime table, it’s time to relax and break a few of the wine and food matching ‘rules’. Would you like to drink your red wine cold out of the fridge? Fine! Want to throw a few ice cubes in your rosé? Go ahead! Peach slices in your Cava? No problem! It’s like Thanksgiving or Christmas: put everything out on the table and let your family and friends play with their food. Mix and match to see what works (corn and Chardonnay) and what doesn’t (spicy lime grilled shrimp and Cabernet). This is the time to experiment and have fun.

We have three very different red wines in this release including a traditionally styled Pinot Noir from Oregon, a classic Ripasso from Veneto and a ‘New-World’ Cab from Lodi, California. We’ve also included a recipe for grilled veal chops that will play nicely with the Pinot Noir and Valpolicella Ripasso (see below). Make sure to chill these wines down a touch before serving.

It’s hot enough to warrant an ice-cold glass of Saint-Tropez Carte Noire Rosé or Gran Feudo Rosado right now …



Unless you have spent the last few weeks out of the country or you’re completely off the grid, you would have heard that the LCBO has launched its E-Commerce website.  There are currently 5,000 products available and in addition to all the regular listings at the LCBO, there are quite a few exclusives which can’t be found in stores.  We have three such products available now from the Viu Manent winery in Chile, which celebrated its 80th anniversary last year.  They are priced less than what they would be if available at retail, so they are great buys.  You must purchase them by the case from the E-Commerce site and can have them delivered to your nearest store for free, or to your home or office for $12, regardless of how much you buy.  If you are lucky enough to live near the Eglinton and Erin Mills LCBO in Mississauga, you can buy these wines by the bottle.  Because there are only 10 cases of each available, you’ll be one of a select few who can enjoy these wines.  We’ll be adding a few more products in weeks to come, so stay tuned.

We love the labels on the entire range of Viu Manent’s Secreto wines which were done by Chilean artist Catalina Abbott.  Although the dominant grape variety is stated on each label the “secret” is the addition of 15% of other grapes to enhance the flavour.

secreto-sauvignon-blanc2014Secreto Sauvignon Blanc 2015
Casablanca, Chile
224526 $14.10 per bottle; $169.20 per case of 12

A complex nose of grapefruit, pineapple and sea salt (one of the vineyards is 11 km from the sea) repeats on the palate producing a wine perfect for summer sipping, seafood and chévre.  This wine received 90 points from Chile’s Descorchados wine guide.
Order here.









secreto-carmenereSecreto Carmenere 2014
Colchagua Valley, Chile
224518 $14.15 per bottle; $169.80 per case of 12

Carmenere has become a signature grape of Chile and really excels in the Colchagua Valley.  Almost half of this wine was aged for 9 months in French oak.  You’ll find notes of red fruits, blueberries and plums on the nose with fresh complex flavours on the palate which belie its price.  You may enjoy it now or cellar for the next 5 or 6 years.
Order here.








secreto malbecSecreto Malbec 2014
Colchagua Valley, Chile
224500 $14.15 per bottle; $169.80 per case of 12

Although most people think of Argentina when they hear Malbec, more and more excellent Malbec wines are being produced in Chile.  As proof, Secreto Malbec received 90 points from Chile’s Descorchados wine guide and 89 points in The Wine Spectator.  Two thirds of the wine spent8 months in French oak, imparting a hint of vanilla which melds seamlessly with soft tannins.  Plums, sour cherries and violets are the dominant notes on this fresh, fruity wine.  Drink now or cellar for up to 6 years.
Order here.








VINTAGES RELEASE, August 6, 2016
Award winning wines at affordable prices…

Castle Rock Williamette PN 2014Castle Rock Pinot Noir 2014
Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA
366880 $23.95
200 (12 pack) cases available

89 Points – Harvey Steiman,
“Fresh and lively, with cinnamon-accented cherry and pomegranate flavours playing against fine-grained tannins, lingering on the open-weave finish”.

4.5 Stars – Vic Harradine,
“Dark, purple-hued in the glass, baking spice and forest floor aromas waft easily from this mid-weight, juicy Pinot. A ripe, sweet and luscious river of fruit—red and black berry fruit adorned with baking spice and soft, fine-grained tannin—bathe the palate, balanced and gorgeous. It’s good to go now and would be a suitable dance partner with smoked, grilled duck breast or coq au vin”.

In the last Imbiber’s Report, we introduced you to Castle Rock Winery and their Russian River Pinot Noir. This release, we are featuring another Pinot Noir from Castle Rock Winery which comes from the prestigious cool-climate growing region of the Willamette Valley in Oregon. Oregon is one of the world’s best regions for growing Pinot Noir and its wines are more stylistically akin to Burgundy than they are to California. Castle Rock’s winemaker, Eric Laumann, is a Pinot Noir specialist and has been crafting Pinot Noir and Chardonnay since 1984. His winemaking philosophy can be summed up in this quote: “Great wine needs to taste good, go with great food and provide a significant physical, emotional and philosophical impact to the imbiber.”

We really love this wine’s adaptability when it comes to matching it with food. Try it with ‘Steak-Frites’, duck, smoked fish or any grilled poultry. It will also match paté, charcuterie and wide variety of cheeses.



Bertani Valpolicella RipassoBertani Valpolicella Ripasso DOC 2013
Verona, Italy
395087 $17.95
825 (12 pack) cases available

Vintages Panel: “The nose on this Ripasso Valpolicella is highly attractive with a pleasing floral note of violets atop the cherry, dark fruit and leather tones. Rich and sumptuous on the palate, the mouth here is a delightful mirroring of the nose. A vibrant acidity assures a sense of freshness and lift. Wonderful character and a superb price; a winner on all counts”.

89 Points David Lawrason,

“This is a nicely vibrant, edgy Valpolicella…very pleased by the energy, acidity and depth. Expect sour red currant/cherry fruit, leather, dried herbs and very little oak embellishment. It's actually not unlike some pinots - sour edged, fine tannin and a touch earthy. The length is very good to excellent”.

A blend of 85% Corvina Veronese, 10% Merlot and 5% Rondinella, this lively Ripasso can be matched with different Italian dishes such as pasta, risotto with porcini mushrooms, grilled and roasted meat, as well as medium-matured cheeses.

Ripasso is a wine from Verona’s country tradition and is made using a very old winemaking practice called “ripasso”. This technique involves reintroducing young Valpolicella wine to the skins at the end of the fermentation of Recioto (Amarone), usually in March. Because there is still sugar and active yeast in the pomace (grape skins) of the Recioto, the wine re-ferments, adding some alcohol and making the wine seem warm and mature. The Ripasso is fresh and drinkable but also has a rich and concentrated character from the dried grapes.



Encore Cab SauvignonHeritage Vineyards
Encore Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
Lodi, California, USA
460683 $19.95
560 (12 pack) cases available

Vintages Panel: “Impressive and complex on the nose with dark fruit, blackcurrant, dark chocolate and coffee tones. This is a big and velvety wine that still manages to push some hefty structure. Broad and concentrated, as one would expect from 2013. A great option for all manner of grilled meats, steak, burgers or beef tenderloin. Nicely done”.

The Cabernet Sauvignon grapes for Encore come from the Lodi region in California, located just East of San Francisco. Its Mediterranean-esque climate and terroir is the perfect place to grow many varieties. Many of the vines in the region are old and produce concentrated fruit. The vineyard management team at Encore farm the land with the health of the environment in mind by using sustainable farming practices that ensure a healthy life cycle for all of its inhabitants – animal, plant and human.

This is a plush, fruity and concentrated Cabernet Sauvignon with good structure and balance. Dark fruit and mocha play supporting roles on the nose and palate. Try Encore Cab with anything off the grill, including hamburgers, sausages, steaks or barbecue back ribs. Don’t be afraid to add some spicy heat to your food with this wine.




Stronachie 10YO WhiskyStronachie 10 Years Old
Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Small Batch Release
A.D. Rattray Ltd.
#458307 $83.50
Limited supply

94 Points – Whiskey Bible, Jim Murray

Recommended – Whisky for Everyone
“This is a very good single malt from A. D. Rattray, especially when you consider the price and relative rarity.  The lovely mix of robust malt, sweetness and fruitiness with more subtle notes is excellent.  We also like the idea of trying to recreate a heritage whisky as closely as possible and the historical link of the brand with the company.  This is definitely worth searching out if you've got a £30-35 budget and want to try something a bit different”.

A.D. Rattray provides this background for Stronachie (Stron-a-key).

“Stronachie, one of the legendary names in the annals of vanished distilleries, lives on with this award-winning Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky. It is a tribute to the original Stronachie distillery which ceased production in the early 1920s.

Stronachie, a distillery which rose out of the wilderness in the 1890s. Set in a desolate glen on the Perth-Kinross border, it stood between bleak hills on an isolated road that toiled its way through the Ochill mountains in Scotland. Stronachie Distillery produced a traditional Highland-style whisky until 1928 and during its four decades of production, A.D. Rattray Ltd. represented the brand in Scotland.

A.D. Rattray is proud to revive the Stronachie name and reproduce this spirit of another time. To replicate the whisky, a bottle of original Stronachie 1904 was purchased at auction - one of only four bottles left in existence. A small sample of whisky was drawn from this bottle and tasted. Then samples of many Highland malt whiskies were compared to the original Stronachie. Finally, Benrinnes, an historical whisky distillery, was chosen due to its altitude and remote location. This first-class malt emulates the flavours and profile of the original Stronachie whisky”.

Click here to find stores that carry inventory. Please be sure to enter your postal code or city in order to find the store near you given there is very limited supply.




Caliterra SB new label 2015#‎ToniasWineoftheWeek‬ - Chef Tonia Wilson, Instagram - Facebook
“Possible to find a great Sauvignon Blanc for $10? It seems it is! 2015 Caliterra offers loads of aroma: fresh citrus, lime blossom, tomato stem, and correct in its bright, zippy acidity. Don't expect the sweetness level of Kim Crawford or you'll be disappointed, this is fully dry and an amazing bargain”.










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:

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:





The following promotions are available now until August 13, 2016 at the LCBO:

Earn 4 Bonus Air Miles on Casal Thaulero Pinot Grigio IGT (#73163)

Earn 6 Bonus Air Miles on Marqués De Riscal White Rueda (#36822)

Earn 6 Bonus Air Miles on Wente Southern Hills Cabernet Sauvignon (#301507)

Earn 8 Bonus Air Miles on Vodka Mudshake Orange Cream (#448175)

Save $1.50 on Vodka Mudshake French Vanilla (#4606)

Save $2.00 on Pisse-Dru Beaujolais (#2881)

Save $2.00 on Gran Feudo Reserva (#479014)

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

Receive a free Bleu Lavande Coupon (where applied) with the purchase of Domaine Pinnacle Ice Cider (#94094). While supplies Last.

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

Sprucewood Shores Estate Riesling VQA (326249)






Grilled Veal Chops with Kozlik’s ‘Double C’ Mustard

Grilled-veal-ChopThese bone-in chops are great because you marinate them for 12-24 hours, grill them for about 10 minutes and serve them with potatoes and seasonal veggies. They also come with a handy handle so you can get every last morsel off.


•    ¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil
•    2 Tbsp dry white wine
•    2 Tbsp Kozlik’s ‘Double C’ or other grainy Dijon mustard
•    1 Tbsp honey
•    1 Tbsp finely minced shallots
•    2 cloves garlic, chopped
•    4 bone-in veal chops, about 2.5 cm thick, trimmed of fat
•    Salt and pepper to taste


1. In a non-reactive dish, combine all of the ingredients except the meat. Add chops and coat with marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 12-24 hours.

2. Preheat and clean grill, oil the grate.

3. Set the grill to medium-low and grill the chops 4-5 minutes per side for medium rare or longer until you reach desired doneness.

Try it with the Castle Rock Pinot Noir or the Bertani Valpolicella Ripasso above.

Cheers! - Mark Donaldson, Editor and Factotum







   facebook     twitter                     instagram          

Telephone: 416-368-5108 Fax: 416-368-1349
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Download PDF of our most recent General List Price List

Download PDF of our most recent Vintages Price List