The Imbiber's Report

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


June 24, 2017


Ontario StrawberriesThe first official weekend of summer brings us a bumper crop of strawberries, a plethora of festivals and farmer’s markets galore. There really is an amazing amount of things to see and do. Get out and explore your neighbourhood: you’ll be surprised by what’s going on just around the corner.

Remember that if you live in Southern Ontario, you are probably no less than an hour’s drive away from a winery. You are probably familiar with wineries from Niagara and ‘The County’, but did you know that there are a dozen wineries from emerging regions around the province, some situated just outside the GTA? Craft breweries are also worth checking out as they all sell directly to the public and usually have a special seasonal selection of brews on offer. Of course we have to send a special ‘shout-out’ to our friends at Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery in Jordan and to Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery in Harrow, on the north shore of Lake Erie. Both wineries love to have visitors and will make you feel right at home.

Speaking of Sprucewood Shores, we are very pleased to announce (officially) that their VQA Pinot Grigio is now available in the VQA section of the LBCO at various locations across the province. Check this link to find a store near you.
It’s the perfect summer patio/picnic/dock wine! And…it is on a Limited Time Offer until July 15th, with $1.00 off the regular price.

Grab a glass of Fancy Farm Girl White or Sprucewood’s new Pinot Grigio and celebrate the beginning of summer…



Please note that this wine was released on June 10th through Vintages.

Cederberg Ghost Corner Sauv BlancCederberg Ghost Corner Sauvignon Blanc 2015
Elim, South Africa
483750 $21.95
210 (12 pack) cases available

Gold - Decanter World Wine Awards
Gold - Concours Mondial du Sauvignon
Double Gold - Veritas
Top Sauvignon Blanc - South Africa Terroir Wine Awards

95 Points – Decanter World Wine Awards
“Piercingly fresh on the nose, with heady aromatics of green pea, asparagus and flinty, grey mineral. Zippy and spritzy on the palate, vibrantly fresh with lime and lemon zest, laced with a cut green grass note and braced by a focused, precise acidity”.

Winemaker’s Notes: “A unique Sauvignon Blanc that cannot be compared to any other. Powerful concentrated layers of green figs and gooseberries, with a touch of grapefruit, fynbos* and a steely minerality on the palate. A reflection of the cool maritime climate of Elim where the grapes are sourced. Lees contact during the winemaking process creates length and richness on the aftertaste, which will progress even more over the next 2 or 3 years. This wine can stand its own against any great seafood or poultry dishes”.

*Fynbos is the name given to the hard-leaved (sclerophyllous) shrublands and heathlands found in the coastal plains and mountains of the south western and southern Cape of South Africa. Its aroma is wild and floral.

Elim is a small, new winegrowing region on the Agulhas peninsula located near the southernmost tip of the African continent. A constant cool breeze blows off the Atlantic here, helping to grow grapes with remarkable concentration of aroma and flavour. Cederberg winemaker David Nieuwoudt crafts the winery’s Ghost Corner range from premium grapes grown in Elim. Ghost Corner takes its name from the treacherous coastline along Cape Agulhas, where more than 130 ships have been shipwrecked through the ages.

If you are a Sauvignon Blanc fan, you have to try this wine. It’s an exciting time in South Africa’s winemaking history, with new regions and wines emerging all the time. Elim was first planted in 1992, so most of the vineyards are relatively young. This Sauvignon Blanc will surprise you with its intensity and elegance. We like to say that South African wine has ‘one foot in the old world and one foot in the new world’ and that their wines have a European feel with a South African accent. Try Ghost Corner Sauvignon Blanc with all types of seafood, especially shrimp and scallops (see recipe below).


dArenberg hightrellisd’Arenberg The High Trellis Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
McLaren Vale, Australia
943456 $19.95
512 (12 pack) cases available

90 Points – James Halliday,  
“Matured in French oak (10% new) for 22 months. Excellent, vibrant crimson-purple sets the tone for a wine that over delivers in both varietal and regional terms; it is positively bright and juicy, with cassis to the fore. Has substance and will last, but no reason to delay. Drink By: 2023”.

Winemaker’s notes: “Small batches of grapes are gently crushed and then transferred to five tonne headed down open fermenters. These batches remain separate until final blending. Foot treading is undertaken two thirds of the way through fermentation. The wine is then basket pressed and transferred to old American oak barriques to complete fermentation. The barrel ferments are aged on lees, and there is no racking until final blending. This wine does not undertake fining or filtration prior to bottling.

This is a wine of great presence, loaded with classic Cabernet Sauvignon characters of cassis, plums, cedar, red capsicum and violets. Despite the depth and complexity of the fruit, the palate remains true to Cabernet form, providing a sleek mouthfeel framed by a long line of fine, chalky tannins. Powerful, aromatic, persistent and charming all at once. While this wine offers enough fruit to be enjoyed in youth, expect 5-8 further years of careful cellaring to enhance its overall quality and enjoyment”.

The High Trellis Cabernet Sauvignon is a beautiful expression of McLaren Vale’s terroir and the winemaking philosophy at d’Arenberg. While we tend to celebrate the region’s powerful and elegant Shiraz-based wines, there are some world-class Cabs made there too. As Halliday’s review points out, this Cab can be cellared for a few years, but why wait? It’s also drinkable right now. Try with grilled red meats, Mediterranean food or moderately strong cheeses.   


Rapid Release…

Please note that at the time of writing, Cockspur Rum was not live on the LCBO’s website. The product may be available this weekend, so check the LCBO’s website for more information.

cockspur fineCockspur Five Star Fine Rum, Barbados
488338 $31.95
140 (12 pack) cases available

This is Cockspur's flagship brand. It has a brilliant golden amber colour and a mixture of aromas including brown sugar, butter rum, dried fruit and island spices. Its rich, full and smooth body leaves a beautiful, lingering taste of gentle oak and warm spice. It is great combined with mixers, or in cocktails, and is equally enjoyed on the rocks.











The best wine for summer grilling…

The Laughing Magpie Shiraz Viognier bottle91 Points – Beppi Crosariol, The Globe and Mail
d’Arenberg The Laughing Magpie Shiraz Viognier 2012, Australia
936971 $29.95
“Deeply coloured and deeply flavoured. Matured entirely in older French- and American-oak barrels, so there’s not a lot of vanilla wood influence here, refreshingly. Blueberry-blackberry jam, licorice, black olive and hints of mint and espresso, the latter particularly on the long finish. Good acid zip and gently sticky tannins. Good for juicy steak, sweet ribs or spicy sausages – and most other grilled meats”.

















Notes with Brad Barker

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

Waimea Classic Riesling from New Zealand, First Press Napa Valley Chardonnay, Saint-Tropez Carte Noire Rosé and Michael David’s Petite Petit are all currently being featured on the station.

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



Zooma Farm Grill at Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery

Garden dining is back at Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery! Zooma Caters joins forces with Sue-Ann to present Zooma Farm Grill this summer.  Enjoy Zooma's incredible food with Sue-Ann's award-winning wine outside on the beautiful winery grounds. Check out the menu below! No reservations, just come on out to the farm!

 Sue-Ann Zooma

















Future summer dates for Zooma Farm Grill are:

July 1 & 2
July 15 & 16
July 29 & 30
August 12 & 13
August 26 & 27
September 9 & 10
September 23 & 24


Meet the Maker

Meet the Maker dArenberg
















On 29 June d’Arenberg is broadcasting live from their Facebook page as Chief Winemaker Chester Osborn introduces the 2014 vintage of the d'Arenberg Icon wines. Hear first-hand about the traditional winemaking techniques they still use, and how they contribute to the quality of their flagship wine, The Dead Arm Shiraz. This will be a great opportunity for you to learn, and ask questions!
d’Arenberg is encouraging customers to taste along at home, use the hashtag #mytasting to share your experience and join the online conversation.
More details can be found at



The concerts at Wente






For more than 30 years, The Concerts at Wente Vineyards in California (60 minutes from San Francisco) have brought top name performers to the winery's picturesque natural amphitheater. We are pleased to announce the lineup for the 2017 concert season. Tickets will go on sale to the general public at 10 am on 5/2/17, through Ticketmaster only ( or Ticketmaster 1-800-745-3000). For all the details, visit

Wednesday July 12

Friday July 14

Tuesday July 18

KENNY ROGERS' Final World Tour: The Gambler’s Last Deal with special guest LINDA DAVIS
Wednesday July 26

Tuesday August 1

Thursday August 3

Wednesday August 9

Tuesday August 15

Wednesday August 16

Monday August 21

Thursday August 24

Wednesday August 30

Thursday August 31

Tuesday September 19





The following promotions are available now until July 16, 2017 at the LCBO:

Earn 6 Bonus Air Miles on Caliterra Cabernet Sauvignon #257329

Earn 6 Bonus Air Miles on Patriarche Pinot Noir #522649 #522649

Earn 6 Bonus Air Miles on Château de Gourgazaud Minervois AC #22384

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

Save $1.00 on Sprucewood Shores Pinot Grigio #426577

Save $3.00 on Seven Deadly Zins #59311

Receive a free Koozie (where applied) with the purchase of Vodka Mudshake French Vanilla #4606. While supplies last.

Find the following wines chilling in the Wine Fridge in Select Stores:
Segura Viudas Brut Reserva #216960
Sprucewood Shores Pinot Grigio #426577






The LCBO’s Food & Drink Magazine is a pretty good source for recipes.  They are kitchen-tested and tweaked and often include seasonal and local ingredients. This Lucy Waverman recipe is from the Early Summer 2012 edition and is made for a Sauvignon Blanc.

Baked Scallops with Herbed Crumbs

baked scallops with herbed crumbsA simple herbal dish with flavour that is a remarkable match with Sauvignon Blanc. If chervil is unavailable, then use 2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped tarragon. Serve as a first course or add an extra scallop or two per person for a main course.


Herbed Crumbs
2 tbsp (30 mL) butter
1 tsp (5 mL) chopped garlic
¼ cup (60 mL) chopped chervil
½ cup (125 mL) fresh bread crumbs
Salt to taste

2 tbsp (30 mL) butter
8 jumbo scallops
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp (30 mL) lemon juice
2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped chervil

1. Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C).

2. Heat butter and garlic in small skillet over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add chervil and bread crumbs. Toss together, season with salt and remove from heat. Cool.

3. Heat butter in non-stick skillet over high heat to sear the scallops. Season scallops with salt and pepper and sear about 1 minute per side or until browned. Transfer scallops, along with browned butter, to an ovenproof baking dish and sprinkle with lemon juice. Scatter over crumbs.

4. Bake for 4 to 5 minutes or until scallops are opaque and crumbs are golden. Serve at once with chopped chervil sprinkled over.

Serves 4

Enjoy with Cederberg’s Ghost Corner Sauvignon Blanc.


Mark Donaldson, Editor and Factotum




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