The Imbiber's Report

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


January 21, 2017


68 Image11Wednesday, January 25th is Robbie Burns Day, when Scots around the world celebrate the life and words of the Bard of Ayrshire. There are Burns Suppers held across the province with varying degrees of formality, but they all include haggis and some whisky. Have a look on-line for a celebration close to you.

If you can’t get out to enjoy a Burns Supper, you can always raise a glass at home. Some British speciality food shops sell versions of canned Haggis that can be pressed into service, if you can’t locate the real thing. Ask around since you never know where you’ll find a Haggis-lover.  

The Selkirk Grace
Some hae meat an canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
And sae let the Lord be thankit.

If you were lucky enough to find a bottle of Stronachie 10 Years Old Highland Single Malt Whisky at the LCBO this year, have a wee dram on Burns Night. There are a few bottles still available in the Ottawa area  It’s a remarkable whisky with fantastic story. To learn more about it, click here:

While we don’t have any wines released through this week’s Vintages Catalogue, we would like to tell you about a wine from Ontario that we think is worthy of your attention. The Bosc family from Château des Charmes has propagated and developed a new clone of Gamay called Gamay ‘Droit’. They have been awarded International Plant Breeders' Rights for the grape, a sort of patent that gives them exclusive rights to make wine from this Canadian vinifera vine. It’s a bit ‘bigger’ than regular Gamay (in colour, flavour and alcohol) and has been lauded by local wine scribes and awarded with numerous 90+ point scores. It’s $17.95 at the LCBO.

27.12.16 CARBONZERO 2 enWe would also like to tell you about an unprecedented certification that was recently awarded to our good friends at Viña Caliterra. They are the first Chilean carboNZero winery thanks in part to their own native forest located on the Caliterra property. The woodland not only allowed Viña Caliterra to obtain its certification, but also to do it without buying carbon credits. The certification involves all the organization’s operational activities, including international distribution to countries like Canada. In Ontario, the Certified Sustainability award and the carboNZero certification are symbolized by the wild horse that adorns the front and back labels of the wine. These horses run freely through the forests that surround Caliterra’s vineyards.

We have recycled our Wine in Grocery Stores segment in case you missed it in the last report. This overview will give you some insight into what’s going on at grocery. We have a few new reviews for some of our value-driven wines as well as an update on our current LCBO promotions. Please check out our guide to our on-going on-line exclusives to see if any of these wines pique your interest. At the end, we have a super-easy canapé recipe for Burns Night.

It would be okay, at this point, to pour yourself a wee sliver of whisky…



shopping-cart-In October, the Government of Ontario officially released the names of grocery stores that are eligible to sell wine, cider and beer. There are nearly 70 grocery stores that have licences and they include some familiar chains like Loblaws, Sobeys and Metro as well as a number of smaller regional chains like Ottawa-based Farm Boy and Hamilton-based Fortinos. Stores are able to choose which wines they wish to stock from a list provided by the LCBO. They are only permitted to sell wines with a $10.95 retail price or higher from the LCBO’s regular list: Vintages products and spirits are not available at grocery stores.  Half of the stores have restricted licences and can sell only domestic wines (and one imported product – more on that later!) and the other half have unrestricted licences which permit them to sell domestic and imported wines.  Products sold in grocery stores are the same price as the LCBO, but Bonus Air Miles are only available at the latter.

Stores are allowed to sell wine, cider and beer Monday to Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. and Sunday 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (although not all stores are open during those hours).

We have twenty wines and one beer available that are available to most grocery stores. They include domestic wines from Sue-Ann Staff and Sprucewood Shores as well as imported wines from France, Australia, Chile, Italy, Spain and the U.S. Lvivske 1715 beer from Ukraine is also available in some stores.  



This new section of The Imbiber’s Report will feature wines that are available at grocery stores with a tasting note and food matching suggestions.

Chateau de Gourgazaud LargeLa Minervois…

Château de Gourgazaud 2014
Minervois AC, France
22384 $12.95

Château de Gourgazaud is the only imported wine which can be sold in both restricted and unrestricted stores in the province. The reason is its size: it is the only imported winery with small enough production and from a small enough appellation to qualify under the restricted licence conditions.  It might be the proverbial needle in a haystack as the only imported wine is a sea of domestic products, but if your local store has a section for red blends, start there.  

Owned by the Piquet-Tiburce family, Château de Gourgazaud was planted with Syrah and Mourvèdre in 1973, long before those grape varieties were popular in that region of France. This bistro-styled, rustic red wine can be enjoyed with hearty winter stews and braises, grilled meat and rich tomato sauce.







Caliterra CS new label87 Points – Beppi Crosariol, The Globe and Mail
Caliterra Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva
Colchagua, Chile
257329 $10.95
“Medium-full-bodied and juicy, with suggestions of currant, blackberry, bitter cocoa and smoke. A light dusting of fine-grained tannins provides firmness”.





Deakin Estate Sauvignon Blanc new label med87 Points – Beppi Crosariol, The Globe and Mail
Deakin Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2016
Victoria, Australia
“Smooth yet admirably dry. Delicate lemon, and herbal notes without the assertive grassiness that is the grape’s southern hemisphere hallmark”.






Marques de Riscal Rueda medDavid Lawrason’s latest Toronto Life article features the LCBO’s ‘best bottles’ under $20, including Marqués de Riscal Rueda.

Toronto Life - Wine and Beer
The LCBO’s best bottles of wine for $20 or less
Budget-friendly finds from under-the-radar-vintners

87 Points – Toronto Life, David Lawrason
Marqués de Riscal 2015
Rueda, Spain
36822 $12.70
“This light, refreshing white is made from the Verdejo grape grown in the chalky soils of Rueda, northwest of Madrid. The notes are similar to those of a Sauvignon Blanc: lemon blossom, fresh dill, guava and passion fruit. It’s mid-weight, fairly smooth and herbal”.





Here’s what is currently available on-line and at the LCBO’s Australian Boutique store at 65 Wicksteed Avenue (Eglinton and Laird area), Toronto.

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.












The following promotions are available now until January 28th, 2017 at the LCBO:

Earn 6 Bonus Air Miles on Caliterra Cabernet Sauvignon (#257329)

Earn 15 Bonus Air Miles on Marqués De Riscal Rioja Reserva (#32656)

Save $1.00 on Deakin Estate Shiraz (#560821)

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

Save $1.50 on Alsace Willm Riesling Réserve (#11452)

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

Save $2.00 on The Wanted Zin Zinfandel (#416487)

Receive a FREE mug with the purchase of Vodka Mudshake Chocolate (#5280), Vodka Mudshake French Vanilla (#4606) or Vodka Mudshake Orange Cream (#448175) where applied. While supplies last.

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


The following wines are on sale until January 28th, 2017 at grocery stores:

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

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

Save $2.00 on The Wanted Zin Zinfandel (#416487)






The perfect way to begin a Burn Supper is with this easy canapé of oat cakes and smoked salmon. They are super easy and quite tasty (remember them for Christmas). Serve with Segura Viudas Brut Reserva or whisky.  


Salmon Oatcakes8 oatcakes
120g smoked salmon
1Tbs. cream cheese
1tsp. mild horseradish sauce
thin cucumber sticks or fresh basil leaves or watercress to decorate


Mix the cream cheese and horseradish sauce together and spread on top of each oatcake. Divide the smoked salmon equally among each oatcake and decorate with greenery.

Slàinte Mhath
Mark Donaldson, Editor and Factotum





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