The Imbiber's Report

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


December 10, 2016


Chianti-Classico-1716-20162016 marks the 300th anniversary of the world’s oldest wine appellation. In 1716, the Grand Duke of Tuscany Cosimo III de’ Medici issued an edict that defined the region of Chianti Classico and its boundaries. This weekend’s Vintages release includes a wine with a label that celebrates that momentous occasion and it is our duty as wine lovers to drink some.

We also have a couple of semi-sweet Methode Champenoise bottles of bubbly, a classic Bordeaux blend from Saint-Estèphe, a relatively rare Colheita Port and a famous Chinese liquor from Guizhou Province to tell you about.

This is the last Vintages Release of 2016. The next Imbiber’s Report will have some of our favourite choices from the past year and some information on an iconic Australian red that will be released through Vintages Classics in the New Year. We will also let you know where you can purchase our wines through grocery stores.

Hopefully you picked up a bottle of the Dow’s Late Bottled Vintage Port. You can open it up and enjoy it over the weekend and it will keep for a few weeks in the fridge. Pour a little glass and put a plate of some old cheese together…


VINTAGES RELEASE, December 10, 2016

Rapid Release…

Krimsekt White 2014Krimsekt Winery Krimsekt White
Semi-Sweet Sparkling Wine 2014
206441 $19.95
600 (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 a gypsum 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 Red 2013Krimsekt Red
Semi-Sweet Sparkling Wine 2013
141655 $19.95
600 (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.








In Celebration…

Brolio Chianti ClassicoBarone Ricasoli Brolio 2013
Chianti Classico DOCG
Tuscany, Italy
3962 $22.95
800 (12 pack) cases available

91 Points – Monica Larner,
“Here is Barone Ricasoli's bread and butter wine. Some 600,000 bottles of the 2013 Chianti Classico Brolio were made and all the fruit that goes into this wine is estate-grown. This is a powerhouse wine in terms of production numbers and the 2013 vintage is an especially delicious one. I highly recommend this excellent value wine. The wine shows crunchy tannins and youthful fruit nuances with bright cherry and blackberry. The mouthfeel is generous and fresh”.

90 Points - Wine Enthusiast

90 Points – Sara d’Amato,
“A very traditional, very classic example of Chianti Classico, light but offering very good intensity and depth of flavour. Notes of cherry, sandalwood and a touch of appealing musk dominant the palate. A light bitterness is welcome as well as a balanced level of acidity. Concentration is above the mean and is complemented by fine tannins. Excellent length. Best now until 2021”.

This is what modern, fresh, lively Chianti Classico tastes like. This is a benchmark wine that tips its hat to the past, while striding confidently into the future. Brolio is incredibly appealing and wonderful to drink. It’s medium-bodied with flavour intensity that belies its colour and nose. An excellent value wine from the champion of Chianti Classico. Try this with wild mushroom and quail risotto, Gourmet Pizza or Pappardelle with Ragù al Chingiale (or game) - recipe below.

By the late 1600s, Chianti’s wine had developed an international reputation for quality. The region had long been organized under a quasi-military and trade organization called the Lega del Chianti, which included the hilltop towns of Radda, Castellina and Gaiole. In 1716, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo III de' Medici, defined the production areas of Chianti to include the old Chianti League region along with the town of Greve to the border of Siena. The edict protected the region’s vineyards and wine production, making Chianti the world’s first official appellation. Chianti Classico, as we know it today, covers the region initially set out by the Grand Duke with some minor alterations. Wines from that historic region carry the iconic black rooster seal of the Consorzio Chianti Classico.

Why the black rooster? (Gallo Nero in Italian).

Legend has it that in the 13th century, Florence and Siena decided to use a horse race to end their land dispute over Chianti. The meeting point of two knights, who had left respectively from Florence and Siena when the rooster sang at dawn, would mark the new borders of their territories. The Florentines selected a black rooster and kept it for a few days in a box with no food. On the day of the race, when they took the rooster out of the box, he sang much earlier than dawn.  Thus the Florentine knight left before the Sienese rider, meeting him only him only 20 km from Siena walls. Since then the black rooster has been the symbol of Chianti: first of the Chianti League in 13th century and then of the Chianti Classico Consortium.

With 2016 being the 300th anniversary of Chianti Classico, the 2013 vintage of Ricasoli’s Brolio Chianti Classico released this year was bottled with 2 different labels, the current look and the historical label.  Both have been shipped to the LCBO.


New to Vintages…

Chateau AndronChâteau Andron-Blanquet 2010
Saint-Estèphe AC Cru Bourgeois
Bordeaux, France
468389 $39.95
250 (12 pack) cases available

90 Points - James Suckling,   
“This is silky and pretty with fine tannins, medium body and a juicy finish. Fruit and cocoa. Hints of mineral. Drink or hold”.

This wine is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. The bouquet is fruity and creamy with subtle notes of vanilla. The palate is fleshy and velvety with flavours of plum, blackberries and cassis. It has a medium-body with fine tannins and a flavourful persistent finish.







New to Vintages…

Dows Colheita 2002Dow's Colheita Tawny Port DOC 2002
Douro, Portugal
473058 $39.95
150 (12 pack) cases available

5 Stars, Robert Parker

91 Points – Kim Markus, Wine Spectator
“Offers a spicy aroma, with rich, mouthcoating flavors of plum tart, mincemeat, baked fig and nutmeg, supported by ample acidity. Citrus zest and dried apricot details linger on the rich, fresh finish. Drink now”.

Winemaker’s Notes: “Dow’s ages some of its best Ports for many years in seasoned oak casks in its ancient cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia. This prolonged time in barrel ensures that the wines take on soft almond and walnut aromas, losing the intense red colour of its youth but gaining immense delicacy, richness and profound intensity of flavour.

The word ‘Colheita’ means ‘harvest’.  For Port this word is used to describe a wine from a single year that has been aged in wood for a minimum of 7 years.

Many of the Dow’s Colheitas available today have been aged for considerably longer and Dow’s has one of the finest collections of cask aged Ports in existence today.

The family team of tasters regularly tastes all the old tawny Ports as they mature in the cellar. These wines are ‘racked’ two or three times a year and then returned to the original cask. When the tasters judge that the wine has reached the perfect state of maturity, the Port is carefully drawn off the cask and bottled. Due to the long and careful aging process no fining or filtration takes place.

Dow’s Colheita Ports are for savouring and quite an appreciation for their intense and rare flavours.
Dow’s 2002 Colheita has a light red colour with a yellow tawny rim. The nose is fresh and lively with aromas of red fruit and hints of orange peel. The elegant palate has baked fig, nutmeg and nutty flavours with a firm backbone of acidity leading to a long and lingering finish. It is a perfect match with sweet pastries, such as apple pie with cinnamon”.

This gorgeous Colheita would make a superb gift for the wine lover on your list. They don’t need to know much about Port as this a comfortable style that will appeal to almost everyone. Try it with Lankaaster Celtic Blue Reserve, winner of the Supreme Global Champion at the Global Cheese Awards (the Academy Awards of the cheese world), and some dried fruit and nuts.


Rapid Release…

Moutai Prince ChiewMoutai Prince Chiew
Guizhou Province, China
455956 $89.95
72 (500ml x 6 pack) cases available

Made from the same water source and quality grain as the legendary “Kweichow Moutai Chiew”, though with a shorter distillation period. The Moutai Prince Chiew is fresh, light and delicate with sweet aromas of apple and pear and a hint of soy sauce. It is mild and mellow in flavour while still retaining complexity.










SV Brut Reserva New Sm-MedRecommended – Rod Phillips, Ottawa Citizen
Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava
Penedès, Spain
216960 $14.95
“This is a very well-priced dry sparkling wine, made by the same method as champagne. It shows bright and attractive flavours right through the palate, crisp acidity, and plenty of bubble action in the glass. Drink it on its own, as an aperitif, or with fish, seafood, and chicken”.









In addition to the d’Arenberg wines mentioned above, two of their Stump Jump wines are now available on-line and at the LCBO’s Australian Boutique store at 65 Wicksteed Avenue (Eglinton and Laird area), Toronto. Because the labels resemble an eye chart, these wines will make a great gift for an optometrist!

Stump Jump Lightly Wooded Chardonnayd’Arenberg The Stump Jump Lightly Wooded Chardonnay 2015
LCBO# 267012
In Store: $14.95 per bottle; Online: $179.40 per case of 12

The winemaker describes this as “fresh, crunchy Chardonnay, full of Granny Smith apples”.  The use of oak is really prudent and the mid palate has a lovely creaminess.  This would be brilliant with salmon or anything with a cream sauce.

Order here:








Stump-Jump-Shirazd’Arenberg The Stump Jump Shiraz 2012
LCBO# 267020
In Store: $15.00 per bottle; Online: $180.00 per case of 12

This is 100% Shiraz from the McLaren Vale region.  It’s generous, juicy and loaded with blackberry, plum and raspberry notes.  It’s medium-bodied, beautifully balanced and really punches over its weight.

Order here:








Here’s what else is currently available on-line and at the LCBO’s Chilean Boutique store at 5100 Erin Mills Parkway:


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.




















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

Tune in to Jazz.FM91 this Monday at 4:00 pm to listen to me and Chris Churchill.  We’ll be pouring some bubbles and a couple of other wines as we talk about what to serve over the holidays and offer as gifts.






The following promotions are available now until December 31, 2016 at the LCBO:

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

Earn 8 Bonus Air Miles on Sprucewood Shores Riesling VQA (#326249)

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

Earn 10 Bonus Air Miles on Angove Organic Cabernet Sauvignon (#464743)

Earn 15 Bonus Air Miles on Domaine Pinnacle Ice Cider (#94094)


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






Wild Boar Ragu


WildBoarRagu1 pound wild boar shoulder or leg, cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces
(use venison or moose as a substitute)
1 sprig rosemary, torn in half
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 cups Casal Thaulero Sangiovese
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 medium celery stalk, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 cup canned tomatoes with liquid
2 cups chicken stock
Tagliatelle, Pappardelle or other thick pasta
Aged Pecorino Cheese.


The night before making the ragu, place the meat in a bowl with the rosemary, peppercorns, garlic and enough wine to cover. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Discard the rosemary and garlic. Drain the meat in a strainer set over a bowl, reserving the wine. In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat the oil until shimmering, and add the carrot, celery and onion. Sauté until softened, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the meat and cook, stirring frequently, until all the liquid released by the meat has evaporated and the meat is browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the reserved wine and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is dry, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes, breaking them up with a spoon. Add 1 cup water, reduce heat to very low, and cook, partly covered, at a low simmer for 1 hour.

Add vegetable stock and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the meat begins to break apart, 1.5 to 2.5 hours. Remove from heat and, using a whisk or spoon, break the meat into very fine shreds.

Cook the pasta one minute less than recommended on the packaging. Turn the heat off. While you drain the pasta, save ½ cup of the pasta water, add this back to the pot with one cup of Ragu, stir the noodles back into the pot until well covered, gently cooking for another minute.

Place pasta on a large family-style serving platter and pour the remaining sauce over the middle of the noodles. Garnish with freshly grated Pecorino.

Buon Appetito!
Marko Donaldson, Editor and Factotum






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