The Imbiber's Report

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


October 29, 2016


HalloweenHave you ever seen or felt a ghost? You don’t have to travel far in Ontario in order to find a haunted building or place. Some of the hauntings have curious histories and stories that are worth exploring. We’ve been to quite a few of Toronto’s haunted buildings for wine events, but haven’t come across anything…yet. The Old Mill, Fort York, Mirvish Theatre and Casa Loma all apparently have resident spirits. Maybe they don’t like wine. The creepiest experience that the editor has had was in the basement of The Olde Angel Inn in Niagara-on-the-Lake, where an encounter with the ghost of Captain Colin Swayze left me spooked beyond belief.

The Captain met his demise in the Wine Cellar during the War of 1812 and is said to have roamed the Inn since it was rebuilt in the early 1800s. If you visit the Inn and need to use the facilities (which are located in the basement beside the cellar where Swayze was murdered), be vigilant.

The Toronto and Ontario Ghosts and Hauntings Research Society has a website where they keep track of reports. Have a look to see if there is anything interesting near you.

We have two wonderfully different wines released through Vintages this weekend, Segura Viudas’ flagship bubbly and a super-affordable Réserve red from our friends at Château de Gourgazaud.

Our colourfully labelled Les Dauphins Côtes du Rhône Réserve is currently featured on the LCBO’s website as part of a fall recipe with wine match feature. Find their Croque Madame recipe in On Food and Wine at the end of the report.

A glass of something red and warming would do the trick (and be a treat) right now…


VINTAGES RELEASE, October 29, 2016
SV HeredadSegura Viudas Brut Reserva Heredad
DO Cava, Penedès, Spain
558825 $29.95
640 (6 pack) cases available

90 Points – David Lawrason,
“Packaged with the distinctive, heavy pewter base, this is always a great buy in sparkling cava. It has a very generous, complex nose of toasted nuts, lemon, green olive and an exotic touch of ginger. It's medium-full bodied, elegant yet loose and a bit foamy on the palate, with very focused flavours hitting excellent length. There is a sense of wet stone on the finish”.
4.5 Stars - Susan Desjardins,
“Golden, with a green hue, this limited-production Cava, a blend of first pressing of estate-grown Macabeo and Parellada, displays depth and lovely balance. Intense aromas of pear, citrus and toasted butter pastry entice. Dry, bright and fresh, it has refined creamy mousse and lively, crisp texture. Rich flavours of Bosc pear and lemon-lime wash across the palate lingering on a clean, persistent finish. A sparkling wine of presence and weight, it presents well as a gift or served at any holiday gathering”.

Segura Viudas handcrafts this distinctive artisan méthode champenoise sparkling wine according to Cava traditions begun over 100 years ago. Steeped in rich Spanish heritage and situated on an estate that dates back to the 11th century, Segura Viudas draws on this legacy, blending it with modern winemaking to create sophisticated yet approachable Cava.

The Segura Viudas wines come from the renowned Penedès region of Spain just outside Barcelona. Reserva Heredad is the estate’s crown jewel - their tête de cuvée - a Cava blended from 67% Macabeo and 33% Parellada that enjoys aging on the lees for 30 months or longer. Every bottle is riddled and finished by hand.

Segura Viudas has its own proprietary strain of yeast, which it developed for both primary and secondary fermentations. The yeast promotes fresh fruit and floral notes in the wine and is a hallmark of all Segura Viudas Cava.

Serve this with a variety of hot or cold hors d'oeuvre or as partner for an elegant starter or light first course. Shrimp, crab and lobster are great matches.


Chateau de Gourgazaud Reserve 2013Château de Gourgazaud Reserve 2013
AC, Minervois la Livinière
Languedoc Roussillon, France
986083 $17.95
500 (12 pack) cases available

4 Stars – Vic Harradine,
“This crowd-pleasing, easy-drinking, estate-grown, Syrah/Mourvèdre blend was aged 12 months in new oak. Local savory herb aromas join berry and cherry fruit on the nose of this silky-smooth gem. A ripe, luscious, medium-full bodied flow of bramble berry and kirsch liqueur is balanced beautifully with lip-smacking tang on the palate and lengthy aftertaste. Give it a three-hour decant before serving with grilled steak”.

Vintages Panel: “The Minervois la Livinière region was created in 1997 and encompasses four villages from the foothills of the Montagne Noire. The area was given its distinct appellation designation in large part because of its unique elevation and rockier soils than are common in Minervois. Syrah must also constitute a minimum of 40% of the blend, rather than the 20% required in Minervois. The 2013 Château de Gourgazaud Reserve is a juicy, rich and complex wine with impressive cassis and black fruit tones with touches of smoke and some mineral”.

In the early 1970s Roger Piquet had a vision for Château de Gourgazaud. He wanted to pull out the ubiquitous Grenache vines planted at the estate and replace them with Syrah and Mourvèdre (something unheard of at the time). His hunch was that these grapes would do well at the estate and would eventually be capable of producing wines of outstanding quality. The better, more elevated, vineyards to the back of the estate would eventually receive their own superior appellation of Minervois la Livinière AC. While Roger Piquet passed away a number of years ago, this is the wine that he dreamed of when he planted Syrah at Gourgazaud more than 40 years ago. The Réserve is aged in new oak barrels for 12 months before bottling.

This is outstanding value and is worthy of your attention. Do yourself a favour and pick up a few bottles (a case would be ideal) and put some in the cellar for 3 to 5 years. Your patience will be well rewarded.


Staff Black ONoirIf you are looking for a Hallowe'en treat feel free to pick up a bottle or two of the Sue-Ann Staff Black O' Noir Baco Noir at select stores. Click here to find the store nearest you!
It's frighteningly delicious!
394080   $14.95














We continue to feature wines from the LCBO’s E-Commerce program in a dedicated section called Ongoing On-Line Exclusives.

We have 2 new wines which have entered the program and are now available on-line and at the LCBO’s Chilean Boutique store at 5100 Erin Mills Parkway.  Casa Silva’s 1912 Vines Sauvignon Gris is both eclectic and rare, while their Los Lingues Carmenere is a single vineyard wine which has previously been available through Vintages.  They can be purchased by the case on-line or by the bottle at the store.

Here’s what is currently available:


Casa Silva Sauvignon Gris 1912 VinesCasa Silva 1912 Vines Sauvignon Gris 2015, Colchagua Valley, Chile
LCBO# 236322                                
In Store: $19.25 per bottle; Online: $231.00 per case of 12
Produced with grapes from the Angostura Estate planted in 1912, this wine has a delicate nose with melon aromas and mineral notes. The palate is fresh with tropical flavours and notes of meyer lemon and apple ending in a crisp finish.

91pts, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate ‘14
91pts, Chile’s Descorchados Wine Guide ‘14
90pts, Stephen Tanzer's Int’l Wine Cellar ‘14

Order here.







Casa Silva Los Lingues Carmenere 2014Casa Silva Los Lingues Carmenere 2014,  Colchagua Valley, Chile
LCBO# 236314    
In Store: $19.30 per bottle; Online: $231.60 per case of 12
The nose is intense with notes of ripe black fruits with hints of wild forest fruits. On the palate there is good balance between fruit and oak with notes of boysenberries and hints of tobacco. It has a good structure with round tannins and an excellent finish.

91pts, James Suckling
91pts, Wine & Spirits Magazine '12
90pts, Stephen Tanzer's Int’l Wine Cellar ‘14
90pts, Chile’s Descorchados wine guide

Order here.






Secreto Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Casablanca, Chile
LCBO# 224526
In Store: $14.10 per bottle; Online: $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 sipping, seafood and chévre.

90pts, Chile’s Descorchados wine guide

Order here.









Secreto Carmenere 2014, Colchagua Valley, Chile
LCBO# 224518
In Store: $14.15 per bottle; Online: $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. Although the dominant grape variety is stated on each label the “secret” is the addition of 15% of other grapes to enhance the flavour.

Order here.








secreto malbec

Secreto Malbec 2014, Colchagua Valley, Chile
LCBO# 224500
In Store: $14.15 per bottle; Online: $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. Two thirds of the wine spent 8 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.

90pts, Chile’s Descorchados wine guide
89pts, Wine Spectator

Order here.








If you are planning a trip to California wine country this winter, consider going off the beaten path a bit and visit Livermore Valley and Wente Vineyards. Thrillist thinks it’s a pretty cool place and featured the winery in this article.


SV Brut Reserva New Bottle 3.5 Stars - Christopher Waters, London Free Press
Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava
Penedès, Spain
216960 $14.95
‘Popular brand Segura Viudas returns as a Value Award winner thanks to its fruitiness, freshness and complexity. InterVin judges praised its elegance, persistent bubbles and refined flavours. It’s a sparkling wine that’s flavourful enough to enjoy on its own and affordable enough to use as the base for mimosas or other sparkling wine cocktails’.




Marques de Riscal Rueda largeVines Magazine
Affordable Excellence
Top-scoring wines that retail for $15 or less
Marqués de Riscal Rueda 2015
36822 $12.40
“Made from Verdejo, the refreshing character of this Rueda strikes a chord. Its crisp profile delivers tropical fruit with hints of fennel and grass”.








Eat to the BeatEat to the Beat

Date: Tuesday, November 1, 2016
Time: 7:00 - 10:00pm
Venue: Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe Street, Toronto (St. Andrew subway station)
Dress: Smart casual
Tickets: $189
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 Fancy Farm Girl Frivolous White and Fancy Farm Girl Flamboyant Red from Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery in Niagara and meet Sue-Ann, the fabulous winemaker! See you there!





The following promotions are available now until November 5, 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 Chateau de Gourgazaud Minervois (#22384)

Earn 6 Bonus Air Miles on Alsace Willm Gewurztraminer Reserve (#269852)

Earn 6 Bonus Air Miles on Caliterra Sauvignon Blanc (#275909)

Earn 8 Bonus Air Miles on Les Dauphins Côtes de Rhône Réserve White (#450205)

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

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

Save $1.50 on Segura Viudas Brut Reserva (#216960)

Save $2.00 on Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay (#175430)

Save $2.00 on Les Dauphins Côtes de Rhône Réserve Red (#385385)

Save $2.00 on Gran Feudo Reserva (#479014)



Find the following wines chilling in the Wine Fridge in Select Stores:
Alsace Willm Riesling Réserve (#11452)







From the LCBO’s website feature:

Croque Madame

Trust the French to make a grilled cheese sandwich extra special! If you prefer, omit the eggs which turns this super snack into a Croque Monsieur.

¼ cup (60 mL) mayonnaise
4 tsp (20 mL) Dijon mustard
8 slices sourdough bread
4 oz (125 g) thinly sliced ham
4 oz (125 g) Gruyère cheese, thinly sliced
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
⅓ cup (80 mL) softened unsalted butter, divided
4 eggs
Grape tomatoes and drained cornichons

1.    In a small bowl, stir together mayonnaise and mustard. Spread 1 side of each bread slice with mayonnaise mixture.
2.    Top 4 bread slices with ham and cheese, dividing evenly. Sprinkle with pepper. Top with remaining slices of bread, mayonnaise-side down.
3.    Spread outsides of sandwiches with ¼ cup (60 mL) of butter.
4.    Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Fry sandwiches, in batches if necessary, on both sides until golden brown and crisp, about 6 minutes in total. Remove sandwiches from skillet and keep warm.
5.    Melt remaining butter in skillet. Break eggs into skillet and fry until done to taste.
6.    Top each sandwich with 1 egg. Serve with tomatoes and cornichons.
Serves 4

Cheers! - Mark Donaldson, Editor and Factotum







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