The Imbiber's Report

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


September 1, 2016


CertsIt wasn’t really a blip, it was more like a hack, and we were unable to send out the August 20th Imbiber’s Report. We’ve patched things up so this week you get two Reports rolled into one.  It’s like the old Certs campaign from the 1980s (“Two Mints in One!”) which you can check out here.

In addition to products from both the August 20 and September 3 releases, we have the usual features and a new addition to the portfolio: the Organic Cabernet Sauvignon from Angove Family Winemakers in Australia.

We remind you that the grand old fair by the lake continues its 138th appearance this year in Toronto, replete with 26 food trucks, 31 PokeStops and dozens of games and rides. Get away from the midway and explore some of the fringe buildings where you can still catch a glimpse of the CNE’s small town soul. Butter sculptures and giant sunflowers are waiting for you. This year’s Labour Day Parade takes place on Monday, September 5 and runs along Queen Street before entering the Ex grounds at 11:00 a.m.

We had a rather motley collection of wine in the August 20 release, some of which were available through the LCBO’s Rapid Release program, two that were released through Vintages that weekend, and a Baco Noir from Sue-Ann Staff that is available only at VQA Boutique stores. We also revisited our E-Commerce wines, with a reminder that we will continue to include that segment in future Imbiber’s Reports.

The early September edition of the Imbiber’s Report has a lone Pinot Noir from a new cool climate growing region in Chile.

Fix yourself your favourite summer cocktail…



Angove Organic Cabernet Sauvignon 2015Angove Family Winemakers
Organic Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
Estate Bottled, South Australia
464743 $15.95

Founded in 1886, Angove Family Winemakers is a 5th Generation, family-owned winery with a dedication to creating premium wines from across South Australia’s best regions with a focus on McLaren Vale and Organic wines. It has a commitment to protecting and preserving the natural environment for future generations to come.

The grapes for Angove Organic Cabernet Sauvignon were sourced from Angove’s own Nanya Organic vineyard located in the township of Paringa. The soil is a relatively shallow red, sandy loam over limestone, on top of a cliff overlooking the picturesque Murray River. The vineyard produces rich textural wines due to the organic practices and location.

Dark red with magenta hues, this wine displays good intensity of rich berry fruit aromas interwoven with succulent plums and blackcurrant. The palate is full and opulent with luscious flavours of raspberry, blackcurrant and dried herbs with a hint of chocolate. The finish is soft, mouth-filling and long.

It pairs well with spicy dry ribs, lamb roast, game, and grilled red meat or by itself when you feel like a glass of red wine.




VINTAGES RELEASE, August 20, 2016

Watch for both Krimsekt sparkling wines in Vintages over the next couple of weeks as they will be released through the LCBO’s Rapid Release program.

 Rapid Release…
Krimsekt WhiteKrimsekt White
Semi-Sweet Sparkling Wine 2014
206441 $19.95
240 (6 pack) cases available

From the largest sparkling wine producer in Central and Eastern Europe, Krimsekt wines are made in the Methode Champenoise 300 feet underground in a huge facility that was once an alabaster mine. The temperature and humidity are ideal for secondary fermentation and aging sparkling wines. Both the red and white wines receive 18-24 months of aging before disgorgement. Remarkably, all of the riddling is still done by hand.

The white is a semi-sweet sparkling wine with a light straw colour, rich flower and fruit flavours. It is a blend of 30% Chardonnay, 30% Aligoté, 30% Riesling and 10% Pinot Gris which pairs well with mild cheeses, poultry, soups, spicy foods and Asian cuisine. It would also make fantastic mimosas.





Rapid Release…

Krimsekt RedKrimsekt Red
Semi-Sweet Sparkling Wine 2013
141655 $19.95
240 (6 pack) cases available

A unique bubbly blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot and 10% Saperavi. It is deep ruby red in colour, light weight with mild chocolate and dried plum notes.

This surprisingly refreshing red bubbly would be fun to drink with some baby back ribs with barbecue sauce, gourmet burgers with blue cheese or Peking duck. You could also match it with chocolate-based desserts. Serve well chilled.





New to Vintages…

LaMerika Pinot GrigioLa Merika Pinot Grigio 2014
Monterey, Central Coast, California, USA
458828 $18.95
192 (12 pack) cases available

88 Points – The Tasting Panel Magazine
“Fresh, clean and juicy with tangy and lively acidity; silky and long with bright, balanced flavours”.

Water off the coast of Monterey is some of the deepest and coldest on the West coast of North America. This natural air conditioner not only keeps the city of Monterey cool during the summer months, it also greatly affects vineyard conditions further inland. Like clockwork, every afternoon a cool breeze rushes inland and drops the temperature. The region has become a favourite cool-climate growing region for many California wineries that aren’t actually based there, like Wente’s Riva Ranch and Delicato’s La Merika.

The following is from the winery’s technical notes and provides an excellent overview of the vintage, winemaking and tasting notes:

"The 2014 vintage delivered grapes of exceptional quality in Monterey. Due to a mild winter and light rain, bud break arrived a few weeks early. Typical Monterey weather conditions were consistent – early morning fog, moderate daytime temperatures and cool afternoon breezes. This allowed for a long hang time on the vines and even ripening of the grapes. The long growing season resulted in a harvest of vibrant flavour and bright acidity.

La Merika Pinot Grigio is harvested in the cool, early morning hours to preserve delicate aromas and flavours. After arriving at the winery, the grapes are gently pressed into stainless steel tanks to cold settle overnight. The juice is then racked into a second set of stainless steel tanks where the temperatures are raised and various yeasts are added to begin fermentation. At the completion of fermentation, all lots are tasted blind before final blending and bottling.

A refreshing take on Pinot Grigio —lively, vibrant and crisp. Enticing floral aromas of orange blossom and honeysuckle are framed by luscious white peach, pear and nectarine on the palate. This crisp and juicy medium-bodied Pinot Grigio delivers clean acidity and a lengthy, refreshing finish”.

This, fuller-bodied Pinot Grigio would be a great match with grilled chicken Caesar Salad, mussels, grilled scallops or shrimp. See the recipe below that was developed specifically for this Pinot Grigio.


New to Vintages…

Waimea Pinot Noir 2014Waimea Pinot Noir 2014
Nelson, New Zealand
447508 $22.95
224 (12 pack) cases available

90 points David Lawrason,
“This is a quite deeply coloured, ruby shaded pinot with quite generous, ripe cherry, floral and spicy oak aromas. The nose is very attractive. It's full bodied, open knit, quite intense and warm, with youthful, gritty tannin. This delivers beyond its price, and you might consider a few bottles for the cellar. Quite juicy cran-cherry fruit and spice on the finish”.

89 Points – Stephen Tanzer,
“Dark, bright red. Black cherry, dark plum and medicinal nuance on the lively nose, with complicating hints of spices and flowers. Nicely concentrated, tactile wine with good energy and clarity to its rather cool dark cherry, herb and light pepper flavours. Finishes with firm, slightly drying tannins. Give this a year or two of cellaring”.

91 Points – Wine Orbit

2014 was drier and warmer than usual for Nelson and most of the fruit, including Pinot Noir, ripened several weeks earlier than normal. Most parcels were harvested during the second week of March and were happily fermenting in the winery when over 200ml of rain dropped in mid-April. That’s good timing.

This solid Pinot Noir would be fantastic with game, grilled salmon, lamb and mushroom based dishes like risotto. This wine will develop in complexity with some cellar aging.



Staff Black ONoirSue-Ann Staff Estate Winery
Black O’Noir Baco Noir 2015
Niagara VQA, Canada
260422 14.95
120 (12 pack) cases available – in VQA Boutique Stores at the LCBO

Fruit for this Baco Noir was harvested exclusively from the Staff Estate which is located within the sub-appellation of 20 Mile Bench. Grapes were cool fermented in stainless steel to help maintain fresh fruit qualities of Baco Noir. Make sure to chill this wine down a little bit before serving.

Sue-Ann Staff’s Tasting Notes:
“This bright garnet wine with nice dark colour leads off with a lifted fruit driven nose vibrant with blueberry preserve and preserved kirsch cherries layered with herbal notes of dried lavender and subtle earthiness. The palate is clean, light to medium-bodied with lovely red berry notes and rhubarb coming through with a touch of dried tobacco, black pepper and herbs.  The soft finish is refreshing and leaves the palate cleansed.  Enjoy with grilled meats and veggies, ratatouille, burgers, beef ribs, tomato sauces, pastas, stews, blue cheese, patés and chocolate. Particularly lovely with milk chocolate”.





VINTAGES RELEASE, September 3, 2016

New to Vintages…

Casa Silva Cool Coast Pinot NoirCasa Silva Cool Coast Pinot Noir 2013
Colchagua Costa, Chile
464420 $16.95
(12 pack) cases available

90 Points – Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate

89 Points – Sara d’Amato,
“A compelling Pinot Noir, a little dusty, old world inspired and nicely composed. Good complexity, offering fine tannins and flavours that progressively swell on the palate. Delightfully surprising. Good length”.

Vintages Panel: “This wine has the distinction of hailing from the first vineyard planted in the coastal hills of the Colchagua Valley, a mere 8 kilometres from the Pacific Ocean. It's a fresh, fruity take on Pinot Noir that's bursting with juicy cherry fruit, and shows some vanilla character for added intrigue”.

Winemaker’s Notes: “This wine is dominated by red fruits like strawberries, cherries and pomegranate on the nose, with subtle notes of cinnamon which add aromatic complexity. Juicy and refreshing on the palate, this wine has flavours of wild forest fruits and sweet raspberries. Its cool coastal origin at Paredones adds a refreshing acidity, soft tannins and an elegant long finish”.

Every effort was made to preserve the fresh fruit quality of Pinot Noir during the harvest and the winemaking process. Grapes were picked over night and into the morning and then cooled down to 3ºC upon arrival at the winery. Grapes were hand sorted, destemmed and added directly to the fermentation tanks without the use of pumps. The grapes were cold soaked for 12 days before slow 15 day fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks. The cap was punched down by hand throughout the fermentation process to maintain freshness. 100% of the wine was aged in 2 year old French oak barrels for 12 months.

Try with fatty fish such as grilled tuna or grilled salmon.  It’s ideal with duck breast with red fruit sauce, wild ostrich steak or mushroom risotto.




In previous Imbiber’s Reports, we introduced you to our new E-Commerce wines from the Viu Manent winery in Chile. We will continue to feature wines from that program in a dedicated section called Ongoing On-Line Exclusives and we will let you know when we’ve added new products.

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. The Viu Manent wines 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 you can have them delivered to your nearest store for free, or to your home or office for $12, regardless of how much you buy. Because there are only 10 cases of each available, you’ll be one of a select few who can enjoy these wines.

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.











Fancy Farm Girl Rose NV4.5 Stars – Vic Harradine,
Sue-Ann Staff ‘Fancy Farm Girl – Foxy Pink’ Rosé 2014
VQA Niagara Peninsula $14.95 (469338) 11.0% alcohol
“Aromas of rose petals and strawberry abound. This is mid weight with oodles of tang and a lingering aftertaste. Flavours of strawberry cordial mingle with red grapefruit tang on the palate and dry, crisp finish. Sip on its own or with any manner of lighter fare—cheese plate, deli platter or charcuterie”.








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, September 13th – CHRIS ISAAK
Thursday, September 29th – JACKSON BROWNE (solo acoustic)

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 September 10, 2016 at the LCBO:

Earn 4 Bonus Air Miles on Casal Thaulero Sangiovese IGT (#588996)

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

Earn 5 Bonus Air Miles on Deakin Estate Viognier (#399253)

Earn 7 Bonus Air Miles on Patriarche Pinot Noir Pays D'Oc (#522649)

Earn 9 Bonus Air Miles on Fresita Sparkling Wine (#383901)

Save $1.00 on Alsace Willm Riesling Reserve (#11452)

Save $1.50 on Vodka Mudshake Chocolate (#5280)

Save $1.50 on The Wanted Zin Zinfandel (#416487)

Save $1.00 on Grove Street Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (#161190) (through Vintages)

Save $2.00 on Waimea Chardonnay 2014 (#650242) (through Vintages)

Save $2.00 on San Leonino Chianti Classico 2012 (#412387) (through Vintages)

Save $4.00 on Val di Suga Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2010 (#713719) (through Vintages)

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

Receive a free koozie (where applied) with the purchase of Vodka Mudshake French Vanilla (#4606) OR Vodka Mudshake Orange Cream (#448175). 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 Shrimp with Lime & Basil

This recipe comes from La Merika’s website and was developed to perfectly match with La Merika Pinot Grigio.

Grilled Shrimp with lime and basilServes 4-6 as an appetizer.
•    1 lb. jumbo or extra large raw shrimp, peeled & tail on
•    6 limes - 5 squeezed for juice, 1 cut for garnish
•    4 Tbs. finely chopped basil
•    1 Tbs. rice vinegar
•    3 Tbs. vegetable oil
•    1 Tbs. sugar
•    1 Tsp. ground ginger
•    1 Tbs. cracked black pepper

In a large bowl, whisk together the lime juice, basil, rice vinegar, oil, sugar, ginger and black pepper. Add the shrimp; cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes up to 2 hours.
Preheat grill & keep on medium-high. Remove shrimp from refrigerator. Working quickly and carefully, shake extra marinade from shrimp and put on grill.  They will cook quickly – grill each side no more than 1 minute. Remove from grill and put on a clean plate and serve. Use extra lime for garnish.

Cheers! - Mark Donaldson, Editor and Factotum




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