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Steve’s Top 50 Value Wines from the LCBO – March 2011

Steve’s Top 50 Value Wines from the LCBO
February 2011

Steve ThurlowSeveral new wines join the Top 50 this month as a result of recently tasted wines, new editions to the LCBO’s selection and new vintages of existing listings. In this report we feature the wines commonly referred to as General List and Vintages Essentials.  I constantly taste the wines at the LCBO to keep this report up to date. I write this report from New Zealand where I am currently leading a wine tour. Though the wines here are excellent, none make it this month into my Top50.

New Drop Down MenuYou can easily find my Top 50 Value Wines from the WineAlign main menu. Click on Wines => Top 50 Value Wines to be taken directly to the list.

To be included in the Top 50 for value a wine must have a high score, indicating high quality, while being inexpensive. We use a mathematical model to make the Top 50 selections from the wines in our database.

Every wine is linked to WineAlign where you can read more, discover pricing discounts, check out inventory and compile lists for shopping at your favourite store. Never again should you be faced with a store full of wine with little idea of what to pick for best value

Limited Time Offers (LTO)
Every month 100 or so products at LCBO go on sale for four weeks. As a consequence of the current LTO, five wines joined the list and two, already on the list, are even better value for a limited period.
The Graffigna winery is in San Juan, Argentina a few hours drive north of Mendoza. TheGraffigna Centenario Pinot Grigio Reserve 2010 and Graffigna Centenario Shiraz Reserve 2008 are both produced from high altitude vineyards which are bathed with warm sunlight during the day and are chilled at night by cool mountain air, so that both wines are brimming with flavour and are vibrant with acidity. They are both discounted this month.
Graffigna Centenario Pinot Grigio Reserve 2010 Graffigna Centenario Shiraz Reserve 2008
Two malbecs from Argentina also join the Top 50 as a result of discounts. Trapiche Malbec Reserve 2008 is an elegant fruity structured wine that is designed for fine dining with robust roast meats. Fuzion Alta Malbec Reserva 2009 is not to be confused with its very popular Fuzion cousin. This wine is made 100% from malbec and delivers more structure, tannins and depth of flavour for a few dollars more.
Trapiche Malbec Reserve 2008 Fuzion Alta Malbec Reserva 2009
Two wines made from Chile’s signature red grape, carmenere, are also discounted such that they are in the Top 50 for a while. Xplorador Carmenere 2010 is a juicy fruity structured red  that should match well to mildly spicy bbq meats. Caliterra Bio Sur Reserva Especial Carmenere 2008 is a midweight fruity red with some lean tannin showing up more on the finish, but the fruit does persist well so try with a juicy cut of meat or hard mature cheese.
Xplorador Carmenere 2010 Caliterra Bio Sur Reserva Especial Carmenere 2008
Santa Carolina Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2010 is a beautiful wine with passion fruit, gooseberry and hay aromas and flavours and loads of mouthwatering acidity, and will appeal to lovers of New Zealand sauvignon. It would make the Top 50 at its regular price of $11.95 so it is super value at $10.95.
Santa Carolina Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2010

You have until March 27, 2011 to take advantage of these price offers.

Delisted (no, relisted!)
I reported in January that Passion Of Portugal Rose 2009 has been delisted which was a pity since it is a well made fully flavoured dry rose. However a few weeks ago I noticed that another large quantity has arrived and there are over 7000 bottles in the system (as I write this) at $6.00 each. I strongly suggest grabbing a few of these since it will be just fine for enjoying as summer approaches.
Passion Of Portugal Rose 2009
Abruzzo Reds
The Abbruzo region of Italy is known for producing inexpensive wines from the black grapes Montepulciano and Sangiovese. There are five on the list that I recommend.
Montepulciano
This grape excels in the warm dry climate of Abruzzo producing deeply coloured fragrant juicy red wines that are great for casual drinking with bbq meats, meaty pasta sauces or pizza.
Eclipse Montepulciano D’ Abruzzo 2008 is probably the best value Italian red at the LCBO. It is well balanced and fruity with a degree of complexity not often found in wines at this price. It is a good food wine for red meat dishes and hard mature cheese. Farnese Montepulciano D’abruzzo 2009 is a deep purple red colour that is almost opaque. Its full bodied, round and dense with lots of fruit with some elegance. Try with roast meats. Lastly Farnese Casale Vecchio Montepulciano D’abruzzo 2009 is a step up in quality from the previous wine and is a very classy Italian red. Ripasso lovers should be shopping here since it is stately with some fine tannin for structure and very good length. Try with meaty pasta sauces or a steak.
Eclipse Montepulciano D' Abruzzo 2008 Farnese Montepulciano D'abruzzo 2009 Farnese Casale Vecchio Montepulciano D'abruzzo 2009
Sangiovese
Sangiovese is best known as the basis for many great Tuscan wines. It is however grown in every region of Italy and in Abruzzo it produces ripe vibrant reds that marry well with tomato sauces and fatty meats like sausages or bbq chicken.
Farnese Daunia Sangiovese 2009 is a great buy for everyday drinking. It is full bodied with ripe fruit though the finish is quite dry. Casal Thaulero Sangiovese 2009 has an enticing lifted nose. It’s medium bodied quite juicy with vibrant fruit.
Farnese Daunia Sangiovese 2009 Casal Thaulero Sangiovese 2009
Please click here for a complete list of the Top 50 Value Wines at WineAlign. This list will show you all of the Top 50 Value Wines currently available at your local LCBO. The Top 50 changes all the time, so remember to check before shopping. I will be back next month with more news on value arrivals to Essentials and the LCBO.
Cheers!
Steve Thurlow

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