CTV Morning Live

November 18, 2016

Ottawa, ON

Today on CTV Morning Live, CTV’s Lianne Laing and Sommelier Matt Steeves showcased some delicious celebrity wines and spirits that you’ve got to try if you haven’t already.  These are wines and spirits that have more than a celebrity behind them, along with the catchy marketing campaigns, these products are actually really darn good!

Check out the CTV Morning Live video here

More and more celebrities are getting into the wine and spirits business for a variety of reasons, with one of the biggest being that they can afford it.  It’s not cheap to run a winery, as a glorified farmer, so when an angel investor, such as a celebrity, comes by and expresses an interest in partnering it’s a great opportunity for both winemaker and celebrity to create something extraordinary as the celebrity often brings what’s needed to enable the product to be elevated to another level that otherwise wouldn’t be achievable had they not stepped in with their cash and network.

There are more reasons than just being loaded that attract celebrities into the winemaking businesses.  For many it’s the love of wine and intrigue with making it that draws them in with an emotional connection like an aged Burgundy draws in sommeliers like flies in a barnyard.  For some it’s the opportunity to leverage their money and their brand to make more of both, which these celebrities are often very good at.   Whatever the purpose, each year more celebrities get into this business and today we’re going to show a few of the hits they’ve produced.

Starting off with one of Canada’s favourite bands, and certainly one of the most popular this past year given the lead singer’s unfortunate situation.  The Tragically Hip teamed up with Ontario winery Stoney Ridge to produce a commemorative wine and the 2015 is their third vintage.  Available winery direct, it’s been available in Vintages a couple times but never lasts long enough to get it if you weren’t lined-up at the door on release day, kinda like the ticket sales to their farewell concerts this summer…

The Tragically Hip’s Fully Completely Grand Reserve Red 2015

cq5dam-web-1280-12803The Fully Completely Grand Reserve Red was originally created to commemorate the Hips announcement of the re-release of their legendary album Fully Completely and 2015 North American Tour. The wine was co-created by band members Gord Downie, Paul Langlois, Rob Baker, Gord Sinclair, and Johnny Fay in conjunction with Stoney Ridge Head Winemaker Jeff Hundertmark. The wine is an ultra-premium blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc from the acclaimed 2015 vintage. The bottle features an exact replication of the original artwork that first appeared on he Fully Completely album cover.

Matt’s review: The iconic Canadian band, The Tragically Hip, teamed up with Stoney Ridge head winemaker Jeff Hundertmark to produce a premium Ontario (Bordeaux-style) red blend worthy of carrying the bands name and legendary album artwork and title that millions of Canadians fell in love with back in the 1990s and to this day hold dear to their hearts. Fully Completely Grand Reserve Red is a blend of 48% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Franc and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon all from a single vineyard on the Niagara Peninsula. The nose shows dark cherry, plum, pepper, clove, cedar brush, and graphite. Great structure and acidity, with firm tannins that benefit from a two hour decant to soften. The palate shows great texture whilst retaining that refreshing characteristic of a food-friendly Ontario (Bordeaux) blend. This fine wine would be terrific when paired with grilled flat iron steak, beef rib eye roast, or venison tenderloin. Decant two hours and enjoy 2016-2025. Pre-order your bottles winery-direct and receive them in time for holiday gifting to all those Hip fans in your life. Tasted November 2016. 89+ points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca

PS: Also available in 1.5L magnums…the ultimate collectors gift!

Order your Tragically Hip Fully Completely Red winery direct here for $25


The Tragically Hip Ahead By a Century Chardonnay 2015

th-ahead-by-a-century-bottleA delightful balance between fruit and oak. The nose is ripe with aromas of Macintosh apple, pear and lemon and orange zest with oaky notes of vanilla and allspice. The palate is medium bodied with a silky, buttery texture, balanced by crisp lemon acidity. Flavours include butterscotch, melon, peach and apples. The finish is awash in vanilla and clove notes with lingering minerality. Drinking well now, this wine can be aged a further 2 – 4 years for added complexity.

Winemaker Notes:

100% Chardonnay partially hand harvested from select vineyards in the Niagara Peninsula on October 12th at an average of 21.2˚ Brix. Grapes were crushed and fermented at cool temperatures in a combination of 95% barrel, and 5% stainless steel tank. The barrel component of the wine was aged in new French oak barrels for 10 and a half months on the lees. During this time, full malolactic fermentation was allowed to occur.

Matt’s review: The iconic Canadian band, The Tragically Hip, teamed up with Stoney Ridge head winemaker Jeff Hundertmark to produce a premium Ontario cool-climate Chardonnay worthy of carrying the bands name and legendary song title “Ahead by a Century”. Ahead by a Century Chardonnay is a pale gold with wild flower honey, pineapple, honeydew melon, sweet corn, almonds, and biscuit on the nose and palate. It’s medium bodied with great balance of creamy mouthfeel with refreshing acidity leading to a spicy orchard fruit finish. Enjoy this refreshing cool-climate Chardonnay with crab cakes, roasted poultry, or seared Mahi Mahi with zesty basil butter. Pre-order your bottles winery-direct and receive them in time for holiday gifting to all those Hip fans in your life. Tasted November 2016. 89+ points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca

Order your Ahead by a Century wine  winery direct here for $19.95






Canadian golf legend, Mike Weir, is most famous for his Masters win in 2003 and the 110 weeks he spent in the top 10 of the pro golf world between 2001-2005.  In 2005 Mike opened his estate winery where he’s been producing ultra premium VQA wines ever since that showcase the world-class wine growing region of Niagara, where Mike and his family have deep roots.  Profits from the sale of his wines go to the Mike Weir Charitable Foundation which assists many causes that support children in physical, emotional or financial need.  Hat’s off to this Canadian legend!

Canadian Golf Legend, Mike Weir, with his Mike Weir Wine Cabernet Merlot 2010 available at LCBO for $17.95


Matt’s review: Canadian Golf Legend, turned Ontario wine ambassador and winery owner, Mike Weir, produces some very accessible and tasty VQA wines. The 2010 Cabernet Merlot is a blend of 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot, and 4% Cabernet Franc sourced from the Niagara Peninsula. The nose shows sauteed peppers, plum, dark chocolate, clove, and dried herbs. Dry with fine integrated tannins, refreshing acidity, and a dark fruit and pepper finish, this aged red is in its prime and ideally suited for enjoying with lamb chops with Moroccan sauce, garlic-rosemary pork tenderloin, or baked goat cheese dip. Decant 30 minutes prior to service and enjoy over the next year. Tasted April 2016. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca

Mike Weir Chardonnay available at LCBO for $14.95

Weir_15_chardonnay (1).jpg

Pale lemon in colour; aromas of orchard fruit, citrus, floral and melon; the palate is dry and light with delicate flavours of green apple, citrus and a hint of mineral notes.  www.lcbo.ca



International iconic singer songwriter Dave Matthews from the Dave Matthews Band, teamed-up with award-winning Sonoma County winemaker Sean McKenzie to produce super consumer friendly wines under the name The Dreaming Tree, a track from the Dave Matthews Band “Before These Crowded Streets” 1998 album.

Dreaming Tree uses wine bottles that weigh 50% lighter than average,with sustainably grown cork, and recycled paper for the labels. Also a side note, the corks have different Dave Matthews Band lyrics on each cork.

Every time I’ve poured these wines I’m always greeted with smiles for their rich fruity and easy going character.

Dave Matthews’ (Band) – The Dreaming Tree Chardonnay


2014 Dreaming Tree Chardonnay is golden straw in color, with baked pear and peach flavors that jump out of the glass. Toasty and rich up front, finishing crisp and elegant. This well-balanced, medium-bodied wine is easy to enjoy and will bring a taste of California right to your home. Delicious with grilled seafood; goat cheese and mushroom pizza; herb-roasted chicken; or stone fruit, ricotta, and arugula salad.

Buy Dreaming Tree Chardonnay at LCBO for $16.95 and try with this delicious pairing –Grilled Halloumi, Strawberries, Figs, Honey, and Basil.




Dave Matthews’ (Band) – The Dreaming Tree Crush Red Blend – $15.95 (reg $17.95) at LCBO


Matt’s review: My third vintage tasting of this wine and once again I’m impressed with this value priced Cali red blend. A blend of several of California’s best known varietals, including Merlot, Zinfandel, Petit Syrah, and Syrah, this is a remarkable value priced red blend for immediate enjoyment. Raspberry jam, field berries, vanilla, a touch of wood smoke and cedar fill the nose and palate in this value priced California red blend. Pair with BBQ burgers, ribs, pulled-pork or simply enjoy in its own. Tasted November 2016. 89 points. Matt Steeves http://www.quercusvino.ca

Try Dave Matthews’ Dreaming Tree Crush with one of their recommended recipes such as the Garlic Marinaded Flank Steak with fresh herb and olive tapenade


Ferrari Brut – Trento Italy

Now Ferrari isn’t owned by a celebrity per se. but it is consumed by many celebrities, and has been the sparkling wine of choice at the past two Emmy Awards.  For these compelling reasons I’ve included it in my “Celebrity Wine” list.   Best yet, Ferrari Brut is now (finally!) available at LCBO and at a terrific price, under $25!


Ferrari has been producing world-class Methodo Classico sparkling wine since 1902. A pioneer in premium Italian traditional method sparkling wine production, Ferrari, has been loved by many around the world for over a century. Not to be confused with another iconic Italian brand, this Ferrari has relied only on its delicious wines to build its international following. The founder’s focus on creating a luxurious sparkling wine continues today with this third generation family business as Ferrari sparkling wine is enjoyed by many of the world’s celebrities as their celebration wine of choice. Fortunately, this is the most affordable Ferrari, and Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine you can find, making it very accessible to all, not just those A-list celebs. CrmVROgWAAAGNST.jpg

The Ferrari Brut is a non-vintage Blanc de Blancs (Chardonnay only) sparkling wine that was disgorged after over two years on its lees. The colour is a rich straw yellow, with a nose of sweet baked apples and pears, vanilla bean, biscuit, and wet stone. The delicate mousse has a wonderful palate cleansing rich tree fruit and lemon curd finish. A very attractive and complex wine that sells for under $30, making it an absolute buy-by-the-case wine! Some of the finest bubbles I’ve enjoyed, especially at that price! Tasted December 2014, October 2015, and September 2016. 92+ points each tasting. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca

PS: In 2016 Ferrari’s Brut won the prestigious “Best Italian Sparkling Wine” & “World Champion Classic Blanc de Blancs” at the Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championship! Incredible awards for a $25 Blanc de Blancs!



Drake, aka Champange Papi, is a Canadian rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, actor, global ambassador for NBA franchise, the Toronto Raptors, and now an American Whiskey producer!  Drake’s foray into whiskey is the latest super successful thing this iconic celebrity has done.

Drake’s Virginia Black Whiskey –  a blend of 2, 3, and 4 year old Bourbons finished with a decadent profile.  For $39.95 you’ll be hard pressed to find a smoother whiskey!



Buy Drake’s Virginia Black ‘American Whiskey’ at LCBO for $39.95 – a great price for such a smooth Whiskey.

 The Champagne Papi’s go-to cocktail is “A Taste of Honey”


Try this tasty cocktail following this easy recipe




Dan Aykroyd is a Canadian actor, comedian, producer, screenwriter, musician, and businessman that founded the iconic ultra premium Crystal Head Vodka that’s produced in Newfoundland, Canada.  Crystal Head Vodka is quadruple-distilled and heptuple-filtered, with the final 3 filtrations through Herkimer diamond crystals. The Crystal Skull bottle was designed by artist John Alexander and is manufactured by Milan-based glass-manufacturer Bruni Glass.

Crystal Head has won numerous awards, including a Gold Medal for Excellent Taste at the 2013 Moscow ProdExpo International Tasting Contest, and a Double Gold Medal from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.  Crystal Head Vodka wasthe official vodka of the Rolling Stones 50th Anniversary Tour in 2013.

Crystal Head contains no additives. No glycerol, citrus oils or sugars. Nothing is added to enhance or mask the taste – it’s purely delicious which has earned it a spot on the top shelves of most premium establishments around the world.  Additionally, the distillery and vodka are certified kosher, and it’s gluten-free – so all can enjoy!

Crystal Head Vodka by Dan Aykroyd available at LCBO

Highest quality peaches and cream corn is distilled four times into a neutral grain spirit and blended with pristine water from Newfoundland,  Canada. The liquid is then filtered seven times, of which three are through layers of semi precious crystals known as Herkimer diamonds.



Try a refreshing Canadian Mule with Crystal Head Vodka –  the easy to follow recipe is here


Why not enjoy some Pure-Tini’s this holiday season – here’s the easy to follow recipe


The classic Crystal-Cran  – here’s the easy to follow recipew-crystal-head-vodka-crystal-cran

 The Crystal-Clear – Crystal, ice, lime wheel. Here’s the easy to follow recipe


Dan Aykroyd’s Aurora Crystal Head Vodka available at LCBO

Aurora Crystal Head Vodka was a recent gold medal winner for its excellent taste from the prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Unlike the original Crystal Head, which offers a touch of sweetness from the peaches and cream corn, AURORA offers a drier, bolder and spicier taste as a result of the wheat, staying true to the Crystal Head house-style.




Created to celebrate the natural phenomenon the Aurora Crystal head uses English wheat and pure waters from Newfoundland to produce this smooth vodka that offers aromas of sweet grain, citrus, and vanilla. The palate is creamy and delicate with gentle flavours of grass and lavender followed by a medium length finish.

Aurora uses high quality English wheat and pristine water from Newfoundland, Canada to craft an additive-free vodka. The vodka is five times distilled and filtered seven times. Three of the filtrations pass through layers of Herkimer diamonds as our final distinctive touch.

Instead of exploring different flavours, Aurora was crafted using a different grain. It offers a drier, bolder, and spicier vodka while staying true to the Crystal Head house-style. The bottle, with its delicate and iridescent metallized finish, is our tribute to this natural wonder of the world.

Try a Smoked-Mule with Aurora – Here’s the easy to follow recipe



I hope you get a chance to enjoy some of these tasty drinks this fall and over the holiday season.


Matt Steeves

Matt Steeves – Sommelier, Wine Writer, & Director with the National Capital Sommelier Guild – follow Matt on Twitter @Quercusvinoor www.quercusvino.ca