The Imbiber's Report

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


April 15, 2017


BigEasterBunnyThe 2017 Easter edition of The Imbiber’s Report features a few of our new Ready to Drink products that have hit the LCBO shelves this week. With warmer weather on the way, we wanted to also remind you of our other spring and summer favourite, Dos Locos Lime Tequila Margarita. The April 15th Vintages release has a number of really interesting wines from the sunny parts of the Mediterranean that are worth exploring and we have a fantastic Old Vine Zinfandel that will be available this weekend too.

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With any luck, you’ll have a can of Dos Locos or Crazy Uncle Root Beer in your fridge. Pour yourself a glass, kick back and start enjoying the long weekend…



We have a goodly number of products in our portfolio that are in THE Ready to Drink (RTD) category. These are the products you’ll find on display near the beer and ciders and sometimes (if you’re lucky) in the fridge. Bring on the warm weather!

DOS LOCOS LIME NEW CANDos Locos Lime Tequila Margarita
370668 $2.95 7% alc./vol.

Cloudy pale lemon colour with aromas of lime, citrus, spice and agave with underlying floral notes.  It’s sweet and light-bodied, with balanced acidity and a refreshing level of carbonation, vibrant lime flavour, with underlying agave and ginger notes.

Dos Locos is incredibly refreshing and well balanced. Try it with all sorts of Tex-Mex food and casual pub fare – chicken wings, calamari and the like. We pour it into a glass and give it an extra squeeze of juice from a fresh lime for a bit of flair. Ice cubes are optional as is drinking it straight out of the can. Serve it cold.





VINTAGES RELEASE, April 15, 2017

BoldVineBottleShotBold Vine Old Vine Zinfandel 2013
Lodi, California, USA
281600 $18.95
512 (12 pack) cases available

90 Points – Ultimate Wine Challenge, Highly Recommended
“Ethereal menthol and cedarwood notes float atop the concentrated, all-berry core of this elegant old-vine zinfandel. Gentle tannins and a firm, meaty texture round out the palate, trailing toward white pepper and tobacco notes on the finish. Excellent”.

The gnarled vines for the Old Vine Zinfandel have dominated the vineyards of Lodi for generations, producing grapes with rich, bold character that stand up to its name. Bursting with aromas and flavours of plum, jammy blackberry and warm spice, it is the perfect accompaniment with BBQ beef ribs, Italian sausage or a meaty burger. Chill Bold Vine Old Vine Zin in the fridge for 15 or 20 minutes before serving.








We have three new RTD products at the LCBO this month, including two takes on classic ‘shotz’ cocktails, the B52 and Whipped Chocolate. Both are sold in 4 packs and each drink comes in its own shooter “glass” and is meant to be ‘shot’ straight out of the container or mixed with coffee or poured over ice into a cocktail glass. Both Shotz would be great with cold pressed iced coffee during the summer. We sampled these recently at Food and Drink Fest in Hamilton and patrons loved both of them.

Twisted Shotz B52 largeTwisted Shotz B52
491480 $9.95
4 x 30ml 20% alc./vol.

A blend of coffee and Irish cream liqueur twisted with a dash of orange for a smooth, creamy finish.






Twisted Shotz Whipped Chocolate largeTwisted Shotz Whipped Chocolate
491472 $9.95
4 x 30ml 20% alc./vol.

Chocolate cream liqueur twisted with whipped cream and vodka.






Crazy Uncle Hard Cream Soda medCrazy Uncle Hard Cream Soda
Craft Soda for Grown-Ups
491498 $2.95
473mL 5% alc./vol.

The newest Crazy Uncle Soda flavour is here just in time for summer. Cream Soda is made with real vanilla bean and lightly caramelized cane sugar. It’s smooth and creamy with a long-lasting finish. We launched the new flavour at the Food and Drink Fest in Hamilton and the response was fantastic. We ran out of Hard Cream Soda right as the show ended. Both the Root Beer and the Cream Soda put smiles on a lot of faces. We also offered both Sodas as Ice Cream Floats. Let’s just say that a lot of people rediscovered their inner-eight-year old self last weekend.






This section of The Imbiber’s Report features products that are available at grocery stores with a tasting note and food matching suggestions.

Les Dauphins Reserve White largeLes Dauphins Blanc
Côtes du Rhône AC
Rhône Valley, France
450205 $12.95

Fresh and lively with aromas and flavours of citrus, peach and apricot, this medium-bodied white blend is the perfect summer ‘do-everything’ wine. Made from white grape varieties native to the south of France (65% Grenache Blanc, 15% Marsanne, 10% Clairette and 10% Viognier), it’s like a more flavourful version of Pinot Grigio with a bit of spice to it.

Serve Les Dauphins Blanc all summer long with salads, fish and seafood or poultry. It’s one of the few white wines that can ‘play well’ with tomatoes. Give it a spin with all sorts of Mediterranean food, like Greek Salad, grilled bread with tapenade or deep fried calamari – anything that you would squeeze a lemon over.
















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

This month’s featured wines include our Vintages Essential Willm Riesling Reserve and three reds that are available now at the LCBO: Bold Vine Old Vine Zinfandel, Patrick Ryan Redhead Red and Michael David Freakshow Cabernet Sauvignon. Brad has seen the light and will be drinking some Riesling this summer. The three reds were all spectacular and really showed well. All three reds would make fantastic barbecue wines.

Tune in to Jazz.FM91 anytime to hear some great music and, if you’re lucky, Chris and Mark’s wine recommendations.






The following promotions are available now until April 23, 2017 at the LCBO:

Save $1.00 LTO on Alsace Willm Riesling Réserve (#11452)

Save $1.50 LTO on Vodka Mudshake Orange Cream (#448175)

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






Roast Rack of Lamb with Grainy Mustard Crust and Zinfandel Sauce

This recipe comes from Chef Michael Smith’s show on Canada’s Food Network. It’s relatively simple to prepare and would be perfect for Easter weekend dinner. You can substitute any full-bodied red wine like Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon.


Lamb2 racks of lamb, cleaned (save trimmings)
Coarse salt and cracked pepper
3 Tbsp of olive oil or vegetable oil
1 cup of red Zinfandel wine or other big bodied red wine such as Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon
1 cup of chicken or beef stock, homemade or canned
3 bay leaves
1 bunch of tarragon, roughly chopped (save a few sprigs for garnish)
1 egg yolk
¼ cup of grainy mustard
1 cup of coarse bread crumbs
Salt and pepper to taste if desired


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Season the meat with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. Preheat a sauté pan large enough to hold both lamb racks over medium-high heat.
2. Add the olive oil and the lamb racks, meat side down and brown well. At this point you’re not trying to cook the meat through, you’re just adding rich caramelized flavour to it that would be impossible once its insulated by the breadcrumb crust. Using tongs, turn racks and brown the bone side. Place on a plate, resting on its bones while preparing the crust and sauce.

3. Toss the lamb trimmings into the sauté pan and brown until well caramelized. Drain excess fat and then pour the Zinfandel into pan, scraping up the brown bits with a wooden spoon. This is known as ‘deglazing.’ The brown bits are caramelized juices from the meat and will add a ton of flavour to the sauce. Add the stock and bay leaves then simmer until the liquid reduces by 2/3 two thirds to a sauce-like consistency.

4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the tarragon, egg yolk and mustard together. Pat this mixture around the meaty part of the lamb racks, applying pressure to make it adhere. Pat on the breadcrumbs. Place the lamb racks onto a baking sheet and bake until crust is golden, about 10 to 15 minutes. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, when it reads 140 degrees F (70 C), it’s a perfect medium rare.

5. Rest on a rack for at least 10 minutes before slicing. This will allow the meat that’s stressed out from the heat of the grill to relax and reabsorb the juices that are driven to the centre of the cut. By letting it rest you won’t end up with a platter of juice and dry meat!

6. With a sharp knife, slice the lamb racks between every second rib bone. Place two pieces in a warm bowl and spoon some Zinfandel sauce around them. Garnish with a sprig of tarragon.

Serve with any big red wine.


Mark Donaldson, Editor and Factotum







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