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LCBO Top Values and New Releases

Welcome to expanded coverage of wines on the LCBO’s “General List”. Each month there will be a report on a regional or grape variety theme, a selection of new release recommendations, and an updating of Steve Thurlow’s Top 50 Value List. (We are very sorry about the inconvenience, but due to the postponement of a VINTAGES tasting and the very recent return of David and John from a trip to South Africa, VINTAGES Preview will be published Friday at about noon)

South America’s Fountain of Value
By Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

I have just returned from a two-week trip to Chile and Argentina leading a tour group that included many WineAlign readers. All were delighted by the quality and even more pleased by the value. At virtually every winery we visited there were at least two or three outstanding value wines. Quality is evident at all price points, but at less than $16 wines from these countries dominate the shelves at the LCBO for value.

For some time now, I have been visiting this region about twice a year. South America benefits from low labour and land costs and both places have weak currencies. In many cases wineries also have low capital costs due to infrastructure paid for a hundred years ago. They compete ferociously for market share and export revenue is very important. So costs and hence prices have always been low, while quality improves in leaps and bounds. Take advantage now since it may not last for ever.

I have updated my notes with the latest vintages, including nine highly recommended wines that have made it onto my Top 50 Values list (see more below). Use WineAlign to create and print your list of those available at your local store. Furthermore, thanks to WineAlign’s inventory tracking, I can assure you that there were decent stocks available as of March 24th of all the wines below. And if you find yourself enjoying them over the next months, perhaps you might be tempted to join me when I return to South America with another group in March 2015? See www.stevethurlow.com

Top 50 White Picks

Caliterra Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2013Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier 2013Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier 2013, Colchagua Valley, Chile ($9.95). This is a beautiful lightweight viognier with tropical fruit aromas with tangerine blossom, peach and baked apple fruit with spice and nutty tones. It is light to midweight with the fruit well-balanced by vibrant acidity. Great focus and very good length with a long fruity finish. Its terrific value. Enjoy on its own lightly chilled with party nibbles or at the table with poultry dishes or sautéed seafood.

Caliterra Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2013, Central Valley, Chile ($9.95). You get a lot of wine for your money with this juicy ripe sauvignon. It had a lively fruity palate with the passion fruit and pear fruit flavours finely balanced by soft lemony acidity. Very good length. Expect mild aromas of lime and melon fruit with mineral tones. Try with oysters or fresh goats cheese salad.

Santa Carolina Chardonnay Reserva 2012Amalaya Torrontes Riesling 2012Errazuriz Max Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2013Santa Carolina Chardonnay Reserva 2012, Casablanca Valley, Chile ($11.95). A delicious lightly oaked chardonnay with a creamy lively palate. Expect aromas of melon, oak spice and lemon with toffee notes. It is very smooth on the palate with soft acidity which keeps it feeling light. It finishes dry and a little bitter with very good length. Try with white meats, creamy cheeses and seafood. Don’t overchill.

Amalaya Torrontés Riesling 2012, Salta, Argentina ($10.95). This is a complex aromatic white from the Salta region, in northern Argentina, which is the home of the aromatic indigenous torrontés grape. It is a blend of 85% of that grape with 15% riesling; the addition of which gives some zip to the mid palate and finish. Expect floral aromas of honeysuckle with ripe melon and canned pear fruit with ginger spice. The palate is mid-weight, rich and creamy with very good length. Enjoy as an aperitif or with mildly spicy Asian cuisine or rich seafood dishes. Delisted there are around 1000 bottles remaining.

Errazuriz Max Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Aconcagua Coast, Chile ($15.95). This is an exceptionally good sauvignon from the cool Aconcagua coastal region. Expect pure clean mineral aromas of green apple skin, nettle, dill and cucumber with lemon freshness. It’s light to midweight and well-balanced with very good to excellent length. Good focus. Try with poached fish with a tangy lemon dill sauce.

Top 50 Red Picks

Trapiche Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2012Carmen Carmenere Reserva 2013Carmen Carmenere Reserva 2013, Colchagua Valley, Chile ($11.45). A fruity aromatic wine with fresh black cherry and plum fruit aromas and flavours. It is great value with an elegant pure fruity, vibrant palate. There is some complexity with cedar, smoke and tobacco in the mix. Well balanced and juicy with good to very good length. Best 2014 to 2018. Try with grilled meats.

Trapiche Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Mendoza, Argentina ($11.95). This is an opaque cabernet with none of cabernet’s greenness and a delicate nose. Expect aromas of blackberry fruit with some subtle oak spice, dark chocolate and a hint of black olive. It finishes dry with the fruit balanced by acidity and fruit. Very good length. Try with a steak. Best 2014 to 2016.

Santa Julia Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2012Cousiño Macul Antiguas Reservas Cabernet Sauvignon 2010Santa Julia Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Mendoza, Argentina ($13.00). This is a finely balanced cabernet with complex aromas and flavours. Expect violets, blackberry and prune fruit with mild oak spice and some earthy tones. It is medium to full-bodied with a balanced finish and mild tannin. Very good length. Try with a steak. Best 2014 to 2020.

Cousiño Macul Antiguas Reservas Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Maipo Valley, Chile $13.95 until March 30th was ($15.95). Cousino Macul has been making Antiguas Reservas for decades and it keeps getting better. Still very youthful, this is a cellar candidate that’s fine now but even better if you decant for an hour or so before serving. It is very classy with a degree of elegance rarely found in such an inexpensive wine. The nose is youthful with the cassis fruit aromas complicated by tobacco, dark chocolate, menthol and herb notes. It is medium to full-bodied and very smooth with the ripe fruit balanced by soft acidity with a little dry tannin giving some grip to the finish. Very good length. Will develop more complexity with a few years in the cellar. For now, decant for an hour and enjoy with a steak. Best 2014 to 2020.

New Releases on the LCBO General List (GL)

Here are recently encountered new releases worthy of note; sometimes for quality, sometimes for value, or because they add something new to the mix. Click on the links to see reviews by WineAlign critics.

New GL Whites

Wayne Gretzky 2012 Riesling, Niagara Peninsula ($13.95). This is a great buy with real Niagara nerve and authentic riesling persona. Low alcohol is key to its buoyancy.

Riverview 2012 Gewürztraminer Angelina’s Reserve, Niagara River ($18.95). This big, buxom and almost blowsy gewürz has been turning heads, and not just in this vintage. Alsatian gewürz fans should have a look.

Hugel 2012 Sylvaner, Alsace, France ($14.95). Always under-stated and often under-rated dry Alsatian sylvaner is offer an ideal backdrop to subtle fish and pork creations – and asparagus.

New GL Reds

Louis Latour 2011 Gamay, Burgundy, France ($18.95). Here’s a rare French gamay this is not from Beaujolais. Not a world beater but interesting for fans of this increasingly popular light red.

Michel Lynch 2011 Merlot, Bordeaux, France ($16.95). This is a decent, mid-weight fairly fleshy Bordeaux merlot (100%) from a well-regarded negociant. A but more charm than other basic Bordeaux.

Bellingham 2012 Big Oak Red, Western Cape, South Africa ($11.80). This is a fairly hefty, good value shiraz cabernet blend named for a tree on Bellingham’s property, not necessarily length of time in oak barrels.

Goats in Villages 2011 Shiraz Pinotage, Western Cape, South Africa ($12.95). This over delivers for the money – a fairly rich, smooth yet not soupy blend that captures syrah pepper and pinotage acidity and curranty fruit.

Bodega Volcanes 2012 Summit Cabernet Syrah, Rapel Valley, Chile ($10.95). Decent value for an approachable, youthful and smooth fruit centred red. Chill a bit.

Steve’s Top 50 Value Wines at LCBO

Steve's Top Value WinesThere are about 1,500 wines listed at the LCBO that are always available, plus another 100 or so VINTAGES Essentials. At WineAlign I maintain a list of the Top 50 LCBO and VINTAGES Essentials wines selected by price and value – in other words, the best least expensive wines. To be included in the Top 50 for value a wine must be inexpensive while also having a high score, indicating high quality. I 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.

Once you have tried a wine, you can use the ‘thumbs up/thumbs down’ to agree or disagree with our reviews. Or better yet, you can add your own review and join our growing community of user reviewers. If you find that there is a new wine on the shelf, or a new vintage that we have not reviewed, let us know. It is very easy to do this. Click on Update This Wine or send an email to feedback@winealign.com. We look forward to hearing from you.

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

Top 50 LCBO and Vintages Essentials Wines

Editors Note: You can find our Critic’s complete reviews by clicking on any of the wine names, bottle images or links highlighted. Paid subscribers to WineAlign see all critics reviews immediately. Non-paid users wait 30 days to see new reviews. Membership has its privileges; like first access to great value wines!


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Quinta do Noval Tawny Port


County in the City

Filed under: News, Wine, , , , , , ,

Steve’s Top 50 at LCBO – Feb 2014

Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

There are many additions to my Top 50 list this month. Let me tell you about a few of them. I have been tasting the latest vintages of wines on LCBO shelves and have discovered that a few are better than previous vintages. Moreover, two of these wines have jumped onto my list due to their improved quality.

There’s one Ontario VQA wine on sale at present at the LCBO with a discount that propelled it onto the list and sadly one of my favourites has been discontinued and consequently is on clearance for a steal until it is all sold out. Check them out below and then use WineAlign to search your local store and print your list from the Top 50. With your shopping list in hand, you’ll be equipped with lots of good wine, while saving some dollars.

Thanks to WineAlign’s inventory tracking, I can assure you that there are decent stocks available of all the wines below. (By registering with your postal code, you can find the inventory at your closest LCBO store). Here’s a list of seven great value bottles with the price at your local LCBO.

The Reds

Pelee Island Lighthouse Cabernet Franc 2011
Ontario VQA, $10.95 until March 2nd was $11.95

Pelee Island Lighthouse Cabernet Franc 2011

Pelee Island continues to improve its grip on this variety that does so well in this part of Canada. A lively fruity midweight red with modest tannin and vibrant acidity. The nose shows mild red berry aromas with a hint of smoke, raspberry jam and tobacco. The palate is juicy and well-balanced with very good length. The finish is fruity with some chewy tannin. Enjoy with roast beef. Best 2013 to 2016.

Trapiche Malbec Reserve 2012
Mendoza, Argentina $11.95

Trapiche Malbec Reserve 2012WWAC Top 25 Value Wines

A fruity structured wine with intense flavours and good balance that is suited for fine dining with robust roast meats despite its modest price. Expect aromas of fine black cherry, with forest floor accents, mild oak spice, and some herbal notes for freshness. Medium bodied and juicy with soft mature tannin well-integrated acidity delivering a gentle velvety smooth palate. Good to very good length.

Trapiche Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Mendoza, Argentina $11.95

Trapiche Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

This is an opaque cabernet with a delicate nose showing none of cabernet’s greenness. Expect aromas of blackberry fruit with some subtle oak spice, dark chocolate and a hint of black olive. It finishes dry with the fruit balanced by acidity and fruit. Very good length. Try with a steak. Best 2013 to 2016.

The Whites

Trapiche Broquel Chardonnay 2011
Mendoza, Argentina delisted now $8.45 was $11.95

Trapiche Broquel Chardonnay 2011

This is a delicious chardonnay with very little oak showing on the nose since only a small proportion of it was matured in French oak barriques. Expect aromas of melon and baked apple fruit with some spice and toffee notes. It is a big wine and quite rich with a nice creamy texture and lots of flavour. Good focus and very good length. Try with roast poultry, roast pork or fish and chips. About 1000 bottles remain.

Santa Carolina Chardonnay Reserva 2012
Casablanca Valley, Chile $11.95

Santa Carolina Chardonnay Reserva 2012

A delicious lightly oaked chardonnay with a creamy lively palate. Expect aromas of melon, oak spice and lemon with mild caramel notes. It is very smooth on the palate with soft acidity which keeps it feeling light. It finishes dry and a little bitter with very good length. Try with white meats, creamy cheeses and seafood. Don’t overchill or you might miss the good stuff.

Carl Reh Riesling Kabinett 2012
Mosel, Germany $11.95

Carl Reh Riesling Kabinett 2012

An elegant well-balanced off dry riesling with pear melon aromas toned by some mineral notes with hints of custard. It is midweight and very fruity with firm racy acidity and very good length. It finishes firmly with apple lemon acidity with just enough sweetness for balance.

Goats Do Roam White 2012
Western Cape, South Africa $11.95

Goats Do Roam White 2012WWAC Top 25 Value Wines

The Goats white is a blend of three whites grapes, all of which originate in the Rhone Valley in France. It is an aromatic white with loads of flavour and a touch of class. Expect aromas of apple and pasty with orange and white peach fruit with some floral and spicy notes. It is medium-full bodied with nice balancing acidity and good length. Very good length. Enjoy as an aperitif with pastry nibbles or try with roast poultry.

There are another 43 wines on the Top 50 list so if you did not find all you need above for your current needs dip into the Top 50 LCBO and Vintages Essentials wines. There will surely be something inexpensive that suits your taste.

There are about 1,500 wines listed at the LCBO that are always available, plus another 100 or so VINTAGES Essentials. At WineAlign I maintain a list of the Top 50 LCBO and VINTAGES Essentials wines selected by price and value – in other words, the best least expensive wines. The selection process is explained in more detail below, but I review the list every month to include newly listed wines and monitor the value of those put on sale for a limited time.

How I Choose the Top 50

I constantly taste the wines at the LCBO to keep the Top 50 list up to date. You can easily find all of my all Top 50 Value Wines from the WineAlign main menu. Click on Wine =>Top 50 Value Wines to be taken directly to the list.

Steve's Top Value WinesTo be included in the Top 50 for value a wine must be inexpensive while also having a high score, indicating high quality. I 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.

Once you have tried a wine, you can use the ‘thumbs up/thumbs down’ to agree or disagree with our reviews. Or better yet, you can add your own review and join our growing community of user reviewers. If you find that there is a new wine on the shelf, or a new vintage that we have not reviewed, let us know. It is very easy to do this. Click on Update This Wine or send an email to feedback@winealign.com. We look forward to hearing from you.

When I compiled the Top 50 this month, twelve wines joined the list. 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

Top 50 LCBO and Vintages Essentials Wines

Editors Note: You can find Steve Thurlow’s complete reviews by clicking on any of the wine names, bottle images or links highlighted. Paid subscribers to WineAlign see all critics reviews immediately. Non-paid users wait 30 days to see new reviews. Membership has its privileges; like first access to great value wines!


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Tenuta Frescobaldi Di Castiglioni 2011

Filed under: News, Wine, , , , ,

Steve’s Top 50 at LCBO – Jan 2014

New wines on Steve’s Top 50

Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

There are six additions to my Top 50 list that I want to tell you about. I have been tasting the latest vintages of wines on LCBO shelves and have discovered that a few are better than previous vintages. Moreover, two of these wines have jumped onto my list due to their improved quality.

There are three wines currently on sale with big discounts that have propelled them onto the list as well. And, sadly, one of my favourites has been discontinued and consequently is on clearance for a steal. Use WineAlign to search your local store and print your list from the Top 50. With your shopping list in hand, you’ll be equipped with lots of good wine, while saving some dollars.

Thanks to WineAlign’s inventory tracking, I can assure you that there are decent stocks available of all the wines below. (By registering with your postal code, you can find the inventory at your closest LCBO store). Here’s a list of six great value bottles with the price at your local LCBO.

The Reds

Peter Lehmann Clancy’s Shiraz Merlot Cabernet 2010
Barossa Valley, South Australia $17.95

Peter Lehmann Clancy's Shiraz Merlot Cabernet 2010

Clancy’s is a blend of 41% shiraz, 30% merlot and 29% cabernet sauvignon from the Barossa Valley in South Australia. It has a lifted nose of ripe plum and cassis fruit with tobacco, menthol and forest floor accents. The palate is medium to full-bodied, very soft and velvety smooth, with a sweet fruit finish with a touch of tannin to bring closure. Very good length, it has pureness and poise and some complexity. Try with roast lamb. Best 2014 to 2018.

La Vieille Ferme Côtes Du Ventoux Red 2012
Rhone Valley, France $11.90Top 25 Value Wines - WWAC 2013

La Vieille Ferme Côtes Du Ventoux Red 2012

This wine was also one of the Top 25 Value Wines at the WineAlign World Wine Awards of Canada. It is a supple, youthful grenache-syrah red that is generous and vibrant and a step up in quality from last year. Expect cherry raspberry fruit with floral and jammy notes. It is mid-weight and juicy with soft fresh acidity. It finishes dry with some mild white pepper spice. Good to very good length. A good versatile food red. Best 2013 to 2015

Bolla Valpolicella 2012
Italy $10.95 until Feb. 2 was $12.95

Bolla Valpolicella

This is a beautiful lightweight Valpolicella, that should appeal to pinot lovers with its pale ruby colour, firm dry finish and soft fruity palate. Expect aromas of dry cherry with smokey strawberry notes and a hint of warm spice. It is light to midweight weight with soft dry fruit, well-balanced with good to very good length. Try with pizza or tomato based sauces. Best 2013 to 2014.

Nederburg Cabernet Sauvignon 2011
Western Cape, South Africa $9.45 until Feb. 2 was $11.45

Nederburg Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

This is a juicy cabernet that is great value. The nose shows aromas of smokey blackberry and blueberry fruit with some floral and earthy tones plus subtle oak spice. It is midweight fruity with good length and is finely balanced, with a soft plummy lemon finish. Try with grilled red meats or hard mature cheese. Best 2014 to 2017.

The Whites

Inniskillin Niagara Estate Unoaked Chardonnay 2011
VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario $11.45 until Feb. 2 was $12.95

Inniskillin Niagara Estate Unoaked Chardonnay 2011

A slender finely flavoured wine with aromas of apple fruit with hints of pear, fresh-baked bread and zesty lemon. It is light to midweight with some fruit sweetness on the palate but it finishes quite dry. Very good length. I for one don’t miss the absence of oak, since the flavour depth is good, the balance perfect and it is so fresh. Enjoy on its own as an aperitif or with mildly flavoured seafood starters.

Pasqua Black Label Soave 2011
Veneto, Italy $8.95

Pasqua Black Label Soave 2011

Discontinued at LCBO - This is well made clean fresh and delicate Soave made from garganega grapes. The nose shows green apple, lemon with some nutty tones. It’s lively, light to medium bodied, creamy smooth and dry with good length. Don’t overchill, otherwise you might miss some good stuff. Try as an aperitif with pastry nibbles. There are currently over 2000 bottles in stock.

There are another 44 wines on the Top 50 list so if you didn’t find all you need above dip into the Top 50 LCBO and Vintages Essentials wines. There will surely be something inexpensive that suits your taste.

There are about 1,500 wines listed at the LCBO that are always available, plus another 100 or so VINTAGES Essentials. At WineAlign I maintain a list of the Top 50 LCBO and VINTAGES Essentials wines selected by price and value – in other words, the best least expensive wines. The selection process is explained in more detail below, but I review the list every month to include newly listed wines and monitor the value of those put on sale for a limited time.

How I Choose the Top 50

I constantly taste the wines at the LCBO to keep the Top 50 list up to date. You can easily find all of my all Top 50 Value Wines from the WineAlign main menu. Click on Wine =>Top 50 Value Wines to be taken directly to the list.

Steve's Top Value WinesTo be included in the Top 50 for value a wine must be inexpensive while also having a high score, indicating high quality. I 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.

Once you have tried a wine, you can use the ‘thumbs up/thumbs down’ to agree or disagree with our reviews. Or better yet, you can add your own review and join our growing community of user reviewers. If you find that there is a new wine on the shelf, or a new vintage that we have not reviewed, let us know. It is very easy to do this. Click on Update This Wine or send an email to feedback@winealign.com. We look forward to hearing from you.

When I compiled the Top 50 this month, twelve wines joined the list. 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

Top 50 LCBO and Vintages Essentials Wines

Editors Note: You can find Steve Thurlow’s complete reviews by clicking on any of the wine names, bottle images or links highlighted. Paid subscribers to WineAlign see all critics reviews immediately. Non-paid users wait 30 days to see new reviews. Membership has its privileges; like first access to great value wines!


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Shingleback Haycutters Sauvignon Blanc Semillon


Vancouver International Wine Festival - Feb 27, 28 and Mar 1

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Steve’s Top 50 at LCBO – Dec 2013

Value Wines for Holiday Entertaining

Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

This is the busiest time of the year in every wine store. When the stores are so crowded, I have found that it’s best to shop with a prepared list. So to ease your wine-buying stress I have selected eight wines, all less than $15, from my Top 50 list that could be all you need to take to parties, stuff into stockings or have on hand at home over the next three weeks. These are all great inexpensive wines that will surely please. There simply is no reason to drink poor wines when there are so many good wines you can easily buy. Use WineAlign to search your local store and print your list from the Top 50. With your shopping list in hand, you’ll be equipped with lots of good wine, while saving some dollars.

Thanks to WineAlign’s inventory tracking, I can assure you that there were decent stocks available as of all the wines below. (By registering with your postal code, you can find the inventory at your closest LCBO store). Here’s a list of eight great value bottles to put on your personal WineAlign shopping list.

The Reds

Inexpensive good pinot noir is a pretty rare find. Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir 2012, Central Valley, Chile ($10.95) combines good varietal character with a good depth of flavour. It is well structured and is a match for a wide variety of mildly flavoured dishes. Fresh, pure, fruity and very drinkable it must surely be the best value pinot at the LCBO.

Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir 2012Santa Julia Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2011Bodegas Castaño Hécula Monastrell 2009If you looking for something more full-bodied then Santa Julia Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, Mendoza, Argentina ($13.00) is good value for an elegant red with a complex nose of cassis and blackberry fruit with some earthy tones, subtle oak spice and sweet basil notes. The palate is finely poised with the fruit supported by some finely grained tannin which give nice grip to the finish. It will be best appreciated with some red meat. Try it with a fine cut of roast lamb or beef.

Probably the best value red at the LCBO comes from southern Spain Bodegas Castaño Hécula Monastrell 2009, Yecla, Spain ($11.80). The monastrell grape makes many delicious juicy dark, full-bodied reds like this one. It is wonderfully smooth with vibrant acidity that gives it a degree of elegance that would cost you over $20 normally. Expect aromas of blackberry with fragrant lavender, vanilla and cocoa plus some raspberry jam notes. The palate is rich yet not heavy and it finishes dry with some meaty notes and fine tannin for grip. Very good length. Try with strongly flavoured mature hard cheese, like cheddar or parmigiana.

Montalto Nero d'Avola Cabernet Sauvignon 2012Santa Carolina Merlot 2011I don’t usually have much time for single varietal merlot. This grape is often so much better when blended with others, but there are exceptions and for value and its bright beautiful fruit you can’t beat Santa Carolina Merlot 2011, Chile ($8.95). It abounds with pure aromas of raspberry and red cherry fruit with some jammy tones and herbal hints. The midweight palate is brimming with lively vibrant fruit with enough tannin for balance and good to very good length. Enjoy on its own lightly chilled or with a wide range of meat and cheese dishes.

Finally for a more full-bodied red at less than $10, I can recommend Montalto Nero d’Avola Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Sicily, Italy ($8.95). It is very fruity and well-structured with soft tannins and vibrant acidity. Very good length. Well balanced, it’s ideal with pizza and meaty pasta sauces or hard mature cheese.

The Whites

Poultry and most cheese and pastry nibbles go best with white wines, so try one or all of these three.

Chateau des Charmes Barrel Fermented 2011 Chardonnay, VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake ($13.95) is a juicy well-made chardonnay with just enough oak maturation to add complexity and structure without adding too much unnecessary flavour. It shows how good Niagara chardonnay is these days and at less than $14 it’s great value.

Château Des Charmes Chardonnay Barrel Fermented 2011Trapiche Broquel Chardonnay 2010Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc 2012My next pick has unfortunately been delisted and is now on sale. Trapiche Broquel 2010 Chardonnay, Mendoza, Argentina was $11.40 is now $8.45. It has soft creamy texture with lots of flavour plus aromas of melon and pear fruit with just a little oak. Over 2200 bottles are still in stock so you should be able to find it, if not at your store, at one close by.

My final white pick is a classic sauvignon blanc from New Zealand that is $2 off until Jan 5. Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc 2012, Marlborough, New Zealand was $16.45 is now $14.45. It is a very bright, juicy wine with a fine nose of passion fruit, nettle and lemon. It’s fresh and well-balanced with a hint of sweetness and a dry lemony finish.

There are another 42 wines on the Top50 list so if you did not find all you need above for your holiday needs dip into the Top 50 LCBO and Vintages Essentials wines. There will surely be something inexpensive that suits your taste.

There are about 1,500 wines listed at the LCBO that are always available, plus another 100 or so VINTAGES Essentials. At WineAlign I maintain a list of the Top 50 LCBO and VINTAGES Essentials wines selected by price and value – in other words, the best least expensive wines. The selection process is explained in more detail below, but I review the list every month to include newly listed wines and monitor the value of those put on sale for a limited time.

How I Choose the Top 50

I constantly taste the wines at the LCBO to keep the Top 50 list up to date. You can easily find all of my all Top 50 Value Wines from the WineAlign main menu. Click on Wine =>Top 50 Value Wines to be taken directly to the list.

Steve's Top Value WinesTo be included in the Top 50 for value a wine must be inexpensive while also having a high score, indicating high quality. I 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.

Once you have tried a wine, you can use the ‘thumbs up/thumbs down’ to agree or disagree with our reviews. Or better yet, you can add your own review and join our growing community of user reviewers. If you find that there is a new wine on the shelf, or a new vintage that we have not reviewed, let us know. It is very easy to do this. Click on Update This Wine or send an email to feedback@winealign.com. We look forward to hearing from you.

When I compiled the Top 50 this month, twelve wines joined the list. 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

Editors Note: You can find Steve Thurlow’s complete reviews by clicking on any of the wine names, bottle images or links highlighted. Paid subscribers to WineAlign see all critics reviews immediately. Non-paid users wait 30 days to see new reviews. Membership has its privileges; like first access to great value wines!

Top 50 LCBO and Vintages Essentials Wines


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Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Reserve Champagne

Filed under: News, Wine, , , , , ,

15 New wines on Steve’s Top 50 at LCBO

Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

An unprecedented 15 wines are new to the Top 50 this month. I have been tasting many new vintages of existing listings and since many are better than the previous vintage they have joined the list. However you must take care when picking off the shelf since both editions are often mixed in together.

Additionally three of my favourite wines have been discontinued and have gone on sale to clear inventory. There are still many bottles left of these but you may have to use WineAlign to find inventory at a store close-by. Enjoy while you can still get them.

Read beyond the featured wines to discover how the Top 50 is systematically selected.

Less than $17

Errazuriz Max Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2013
Aconcagua Coast, Chile $15.95

Errazuriz Max Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2013

This is an exceptionally good sauvignon from the cool Aconcagua coastal region. Expect pure clean mineral aromas of green apple skin, nettle, dill and cucumber with lemon freshness. It’s light to midweight and well-balanced with very good to excellent length. Good focus. Try with poached fish with a tangy lemon dill sauce.

Graham’s Late Bottled Vintage Port 2007
Douro Valley, Portugal $16.95

Graham's Late Bottled Vintage Port 2007

This port shows a beautiful fragrant nose of blackberry jam, vanilla, licorice, and dark chocolate. It’s full-bodied velvety smooth, with a soft, creamy texture yet light on the palate despite the considerable alcohol. Very good to excellent length. Excellent value. Best 2013 to 2020.

Less than $14

Big House Red 2012
California, USA $11.95

Big House Red 2012

This a great buy for a Californian red blend. Expect aromas of floral cherryade with subtle well-integrated oak spice, tobacco raspberry and rose petals. It is midweight, juicy and fruity with delicate flavours and is well-balanced by some soft tannin and gentle acidity. Very good length. Try with roast beef. Best 2013 to 2015.

Santa Rita Reserva Carmenere 2010
Rapel Valley, Chile $13.95

Santa Rita Reserva Carmenere 2010

This is a well made delicious carmenere with a complex nose of cassis and blackcurrant fruit with mint, thyme and pencil lead notes. It is full-bodied and velvety smooth with the fruit sweetness nicely balanced by some lemony acidity, herbal flavours and soft mature tannin. Very good to excellent length. Try with grilled lamb cutlets. Best 2013 to 2020. Will gain complexity with a few years of bottle age. Fine winemaking at a great price.

Less than $11

Farnese Casale Vecchio Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2012
Abruzzo, Italy $10.95

Farnese Casale Vecchio Montepulciano D'abruzzo 2012

Great value for a very classy Italian red. The complex nose shows black berry fruit, with floral and jammy notes and mild oak spice, hints of vanilla and a touch of mocha. It is very smooth on the palate with the clean bright fruit well-balanced by soft acidity and soft tannin. Very good length. Quite an elegant wine. Try with roast game or roast beef.

Two Oceans Chardonnay 2012
Western Cape, South Africa $10.25

Two Oceans Chardonnay 2012

The 2012 is a big improvement over previous vintages with great depth of flavour and a degree of complexity rarely found in such an inexpensive wine. Expect apple and melon fruit with nicely integrated oak and some mineral freshness. It is midweight and creamy smooth with very good length. Try with creamy pasta sauces.

Cooralook Chardonnay 2009
Victoria, Australia $10.45
(discontinued at LCBO was $13.75 over 2300 bottles remain)

Cooralook Chardonnay 2009

An elegant cool climate chardonnay with very gentle oak treatment. The nose shows pear melon fruit with hints of oak spice and floral tones. It is midweight and creamy smooth with a lot of flavour. It is well-balanced and there is very good length with a nice mineral close to the finish. Very nicely styled. Try with cheese pasta sauces, roast poultry, veal or rich sautéed seafood.

Juan Gil Gos Monastrell 2009
Jumilla, Spain $10.65
(discontinued at LCBO was $12.75 over 1800 bottles remain)

Juan Gil Gos Monastrell 2009

Southeastern Spain is rapidly developing as a producer of big fruity reds from the monastrell grape; it’s called mourvedre in France. Expect blackberry and blueberry fruit with floral and tobacco notes and a hint of spice. It is midweight soft and plush with some hints of jam but it finishes dry. Good focus and very good length. Try with bbq meats. Best 2012 to 2015.

Less than $9

Farnese Fantini Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2012
Abruzzo, Italy $7.95

Farnese Fantini Montepulciano d'Abruzzo

Great value for a fruity southern Italian red. It is a deep purple-red with a nose of spicy blackcurrant with licorice and tobacco notes. The palate is full-bodied, round and dense and very juicy with the fruit well-balanced by soft acidity and tannin. Very good length. Try with roast meats. Best 2013 to 2016.

Callia Alta Shiraz Rosé 2012
San Juan Argentina $8.15
(discontinued at LCBO was $10.90 over 1300 bottles remain)

Callia Alta Shiraz Rose 2012

A strongly flavoured midweight rosé that should appeal to red wine drinkers this summer. It is a deep salmon pink with aromas of strawberry and plum fruit with some mineral tones. The palate is intense with a little tannin and enough acidity for balance. Very good length. Enjoy well chilled with ham, lamb and pork dishes

Santa Carolina Sauvignon Blanc 2013
Rapel Valley, Chile $8.95

Santa Carolina Sauvignon Blanc 2013

This wine seems to get better with each vintage. The 2013 is fresh and pure with authentic varietal character. Expect aromas of lemon and passion fruit with notes of hay. It is lightweight and juicy with a touch of fruit sweetness to balance the soft acidity. Very good length. Enjoy with sautéed seafood, creamy soft cheeses or creamy pasta sauces.

Montalto Nero d’Avola Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Sicily, Italy $8.95

Montalto Nero D'avola Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

This is great value for a juicy full-bodied red. Expect aromas of red berry fruit with herbal and spicy notes. It is very fruity and well structured with soft tannins and vibrant acidity. Very good length. Well balanced except it is just a bit hot on the finish from alcohol. Ideal with pizza and meaty pasta sauces. Best 2013 to 2016.

Top 50 Value Wines at LCBO

There are about 1,500 wines listed at the LCBO that are always available, plus another 100 or so VINTAGES Essentials. At WineAlign I maintain a list of the Top 50 LCBO and VINTAGES Essentials wines selected by price and value – in other words, the best least expensive wines. The selection process is explained in more detail below, but I review the list every month to include newly listed wines and monitor the value of those put on sale for a limited time.

How I Choose the Top 50

I constantly taste the wines at the LCBO to keep the Top 50 list up to date. You can easily find all of my all Top 50 Value Wines from the WineAlign main menu. Click on Wine =>Top 50 Value Wines to be taken directly to the list.

Steve's Top Value WinesTo be included in the Top 50 for value a wine must be inexpensive while also having a high score, indicating high quality. I 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.

Once you have tried a wine, you can use the ‘thumbs up/thumbs down’ to agree or disagree with our reviews. Or better yet, you can add your own review and join our growing community of user reviewers. If you find that there is a new wine on the shelf, or a new vintage that we have not reviewed, let us know. It is very easy to do this. Click on Update This Wine or send an email to feedback@winealign.com. We look forward to hearing from you.

When I compiled the Top 50 this month, twelve wines joined the list. 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

Editors Note: You can find Steve Thurlow’s complete reviews by clicking on any of the wine names, bottle images or links highlighted. Paid subscribers to WineAlign see all critics reviews immediately. Non-paid users wait 30 days to see new reviews. Membership has its privileges; like first access to great value wines!

Top 50 LCBO and Vintages Essentials Wines


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Boschendal The Pavillion Chenin Blanc Viognier 2011


 Fortessa Canada Inc.

Filed under: News, Wine, , , , ,

Steve’s Top50 meets WWAC’s Top 25 Value Wines

Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

Have a look at these six wines that make both lists!

The results of the 2013 World Wine Awards of Canada (WWAC13) were announced last week on WineAlign. For one week in September I was joined by 18 fellow wines judges from all across Canada to evaluate around 1000 wines all of which are for sale somewhere in Canada for under $50. The top performing wines in this influential Canadian competition are all tasted blind more than once by at least eight of the judges. 25 wines were then selected as the best value wines under $15 and six of these are also on my Top 50 Values list of wines currently available on LCBO shelves in Ontario.

I thought these six award winners were worthy of special mention this month, so I have listed them below. You can view the complete results of the 2013 World Wine Awards of Canada here, or jump directly to a list of the WWAC13 Top 25 Value Wines that are currently available in stores near you.

Read beyond the featured wines to discover how the my Top 50 are systematically selected.

Less than $12

Trapiche Malbec Reserve 2012
Mendoza, Argentina $11.95

A fruity structured wine with intense flavours and good balance that is suited for fine dining with robust roast meats despite its modest price. Expect aromas of fine black cherry, with forest floor accents, mild oak spice, and some herbal notes for freshness. Medium bodied and juicy with soft mature tannin and well-integrated acidity delivering a gentle velvety smooth palate. Good to very good length. WWAC13 Top 25 Value Wine, Best Malbec under $15 and Judges’ Choice

Trapiche Malbec Reserve 2012WWAC13 Best of Variety Under $15

PKNT Carmenère Reserve 2012
Central Valley, Chile $10.95

This is a vibrant well balanced red with good varietal character. Expect earthy black cherry fruit with some warm spice and tobacco notes. The palate is super smooth and full bodied with supple juicy fruit – not at all spicy, as might be suggested by the label. It is clean and fresh with very good length. Best 2013 to 2016. Try with mildly spicy bbq meats. WWAC13 Top 25 Value Wine and Judges’ Choice

PKNT Carmenere Reserve 2012WWAC 2013 Judges' Choice

Boutari Moschofilero 2012
Mantinia, Greece $11.95

Moschofilero is an aromatic white grape from Greece and here it makes a great value wine with apricot, peach and pear fruit aromas plus baked lemon, ginger and orange blossom. The palate is midweight and very fruity and it is well balanced with vibrant lemony acidity and a nice touch of bitterness on the finish. Very good length. Try with mildly spicy Asian cuisine or intense hard cheese like Gruyere. WWAC13 Top 25 Value Wine and Judges’ Choice.

Boutari Moschofilero 2012WWAC 2013 Judges' Choice

Goats Do Roam White 2012
Western Cape, South Africa $11.95

The Goats white is a blend of three whites grapes, all of which originate in the Rhone Valley in France. It is an aromatic white with loads of flavour and a touch of class. Expect aromas of apple and pastry with orange and white peach fruit with some floral and spicy notes. It is medium-full bodied with nice balancing acidity and very good length.  Enjoy as an aperitif with pastry nibbles or try with roast poultry. WWAC13 Top 25 Value Wine, Best White Blend under $15 and Best South African Wine

Goats Do Roam White 2012WWAC 2013 Best of Country

Less than $10

Caliterra Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2012
Casablanca Valley, Chile $9.95

There are very few red wines of this quality at this price. It has a nose of ripe blackcurrant fruit with dark chocolate, subtle oak spice plus herbal notes. The palate is very juicy and midweight with lots of ripe fruit flavour and just enough acid and soft tannin for balance. Very good length. Try with a steak. Best 2013 to 2016. WWAC13 Top 25 Value Wine and Best Cabernet Sauvignon under $15

Caliterra Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2012WWAC Best of Variety Under $15

Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier 2012
Colchagua Valley, Chile $9.95

A beautiful lightweight viognier with tropical fruit aromas and orange blossom, baked apple, ginger and nutty tones. It is light to midweight with the fruit well-balanced by vibrant acidity. Very good length. It’s terrific value. Enjoy on its own lightly chilled, with party nibbles, or at the table with poultry dishes or sautéed seafood. WWAC13 Top 25 Value Wine

Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier 2012WWAC 2013 Judges' Choice

Top 50 Value Wines at LCBO

There are about 1,500 wines listed at the LCBO that are always available, plus another 100 or so VINTAGES Essentials. At WineAlign I maintain a list of the Top 50 LCBO and VINTAGES Essentials wines selected by price and value – in other words, the best least expensive wines. The selection process is explained in more detail below, but I review the list every month to include newly listed wines and monitor the value of those put on sale for a limited time.

How I Choose the Top 50

I constantly taste the wines at the LCBO to keep the Top 50 list up to date. You can easily find all of my all Top 50 Value Wines from the WineAlign main menu. Click on Wine =>Top 50 Value Wines to be taken directly to the list.

Steve's Top Value WinesTo be included in the Top 50 for value a wine must be inexpensive while also having a high score, indicating high quality. I 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.

Once you have tried a wine, you can use the ‘thumbs up/thumbs down’ to agree or disagree with our reviews. Or better yet, you can add your own review and join our growing community of user reviewers. If you find that there is a new wine on the shelf, or a new vintage that we have not reviewed, let us know. It is very easy to do this. Click on Update This Wine or send an email to feedback@winealign.com. We look forward to hearing from you.

When I compiled the Top 50 this month, twelve wines joined the list. 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

Editors Note: You can find Steve Thurlow’s complete reviews by clicking on any of the wine names, bottle images or links highlighted. Paid subscribers to WineAlign see all critics reviews immediately. Non-paid users wait 30 days to see new reviews. Membership has its privileges; like first access to great value wines!

Top 50 LCBO and Vintages Essentials Wines


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Frescobaldi Castiglioni Chianti 2011


Fortessa Canada Inc.

Filed under: News, Wine, , , , , ,

Chilean wines dominate Steve’s Top 50 at LCBO

Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

I’m filing this month’s report from Rias Biaxas in northwestern Spain, where I have travelled with a few other writers from Canada to sample the wines, mostly whites made from Albariño and to explore the seafood cuisine of Galicia. I’ll share a few observations on this in a future posting.

When compiling the Top50 today I noticed that Chile supplies one-quarter of the wines on the Top50 list this month. The improvement in quality of wines from Chile, while maintaining value prices over the last ten years has been truly remarkable. I highlight a few below but read about all 13 on my Top 50 Value Wines list.

An even greater selection of fine super value wines can be sampled at Chile’s annual celebration of wine, food, music and culture – the Chilean Wine Festival  – which comes to Toronto on Oct 8. Approximately 120 wines will be available for tasting from more than 20 wineries. You can find the complete event details on WineAlign, including a special Promo code to save on admission. Click here for details.

Beyond Chile, there are 37 more super value wines from Argentina, Australia, Italy, France and a few other countries on my Top 50 Value Wines list, since all offer great value. Read beyond the featured wines to find more values, and to discover how the Top 50 is systematically selected.

Less than $10

Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir 2012
Central Valley, Chile $9.95 until Oct 13 was $10.95

The Cono Sur Bicicleta pinot noir is consistently one of the best values in inexpensive pinot each vintage. The 2012 is an excellent straight forward pinot noir that delivers well for such an inexpensive wine. It is ruby red in colour with aromas of red cherry and raspberry fruit with some spice, smoke and herbal notes. The palate is mid-weight with the fruit supported by acidity and mild tannin. It is fresh, pure, fruity and very drinkable. Match with roast turkey, cold roast beef or baked salmon. Very good length. Best 2013 to 2016.

Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir 2012

Caliterra Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2012
Casablanca Valley, Chile $9.95

There are very few red wines of this quality at this price. It has a nose of ripe blackcurrant fruit with dark chocolate, subtle oak spice plus herbal notes. The palate is very juicy and midweight with lots of ripe fruit flavour and just enough acid and soft tannin for balance. Very good length. Try with a steak. Best 2013 to 2016.

Caliterra Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2012

Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier 2012
Colchagua Valley, Chile $9.95

A beautiful lightweight viognier with tropical fruit aromas with orange blossom, baked apple, ginger and nutty tones. It is light to midweight with the fruit well-balanced by vibrant acidity. Very good length. Its terrific value. Enjoy on its own lightly chilled with party nibbles or at the table with poultry dishes or sautéed seafood.

Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier 2012

Less than $12

Carmen Carménère Reserva 2011
Colchagua Valley, Chile $11.45

A fruity aromatic red with pure blackberry and black currant fruit aromas and flavours. It is great value with a degree of elegance not common for such an inexpensive wine. There is some complexity to the fruit with cedar, tobacco and white pepper spice in the mix. Well balanced and juicy with good to very good length. Best 2013 to 2015.

Carmen Carmenere Reserva 2011

Santa Carolina Chardonnay Reserva 2012
Casablanca Valley, Chile $11.95

An oaked chardonnay with a creamy lively palate, made in a Burgundian style. Expect aromas of melon, oak spice and lemon with toffee notes. It is very smooth on the palate with soft acidity which keeps it feeling light. It finishes dry and a little bitter with very good length. Try with white meats, creamy cheeses and seafood. Don’t overchill.

Santa Carolina Chardonnay Reserva 2012

Top 50 Value Wines at LCBO

There are about 1,500 wines listed at the LCBO that are always available, plus another 100 or so VINTAGES Essentials. At WineAlign I maintain a list of the Top 50 LCBO and VINTAGES Essentials wines selected by price and value – in other words, the best least expensive wines. The selection process is explained in more detail below, but I review the list every month to include newly listed wines and monitor the value of those put on sale for a limited time.

How I Choose the Top 50

I constantly taste the wines at the LCBO to keep the Top 50 list up to date. You can easily find all of my all Top 50 Value Wines from the WineAlign main menu. Click on Wine =>Top 50 Value Wines to be taken directly to the list.

Steve's Top Value WinesTo be included in the Top 50 for value a wine must be inexpensive while also having a high score, indicating high quality. I 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.

Once you have tried a wine, you can use the ‘thumbs up/thumbs down’ to agree or disagree with our reviews. Or better yet, you can add your own review and join our growing community of user reviewers. If you find that there is a new wine on the shelf, or a new vintage that we have not reviewed, let us know. It is very easy to do this. Click on Suggestions & Feedback or send an email to feedback@winealign.com. We look forward to hearing from you.

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

We invite our Premium Subscription members to use this link for immediate access to Steve Thurlow’s reviews of the Top 50 Value Wines. Paid membership to WineAlign has its privileges – this is one of them. Enjoy!

Top 50 LCBO and Vintages Essentials Wines


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Red Knot Shiraz


Chilean Wine Festival - Oct 8

Filed under: News, Wine, , , ,

Five wines join Steve’s Top 50 at LCBO – Aug 28

Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

There really should be more wines from Spain and Portugal on LCBO’s shelves, since most of the few that are there offer such great value. I have just tasted the latest vintages of three of them which have now joined my Top 50 Values list.

Also this month, two refreshing white wines from Chile join the list. One is the new vintage of an old favorite and the other is $2 off for the next few weeks.

Finally I reprise a feature from my last report which came out before you could buy the wine. This superb new cabernet from Chile is now widely available.

Most of the rest of the wines on the Top 50 Value List come from the usual regions that offer good value which readers of this report are familiar with, namely South Africa, South of France, Argentina and southern Italy.

So please also check out all the rest of the wines on my Top 50 Value Wines list, since all offer great value. Read beyond the featured wines to find more values, and to discover how the Top 50 is systematically selected.

Less than $10

Three yummy reds

Beso De Vino Old Vine Garnacha 2010
Carinena, Spain $9.95

Excellent value for a fresh vibrant red from Spain. Expect aromas of red cherry and strawberry fruit with some earthy tones and a hint of spice. It is full-bodied with ripe fruit and nice balancing acidity. Very good length. Try with BBQ meats. Best 2013 to 2015.

Beso De Vino Old Vine Garnacha 2010

Quartetto 2009
Alentejano, Portugal $9.20

This is a blend of four Portuguese grapes, hence the name. It is a lively fruity wine at a great price. The nose shows blackberry jam with tobacco, smoke and spice notes. It is midweight, round, juicy and well-balanced with very good length. Chill slightly and enjoy with pizza, burgers and meaty pasta sauces. Best 2013 to 2015.

Quartetto 2009

Berco Do Infante Red Reserva 2012
Lisboa Region, Portugal $9.20

A dry fruity vibrant Portuguese red with lots of flavour and structure for a wine at this price. The nose shows mild aromas of black cherry fruit with some spice and earthy tones. It is midweight, ripe and well-balanced with the soft tannin nicely supporting the fruit on the finish. Very good length. Try with pizza, burgers or meaty pasta sauces. Best 2013 to 2015.

Berco do Infante Red Reserva

Less than $10

Two fresh whites

Santa Carolina Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2011
Leyda Valley, Chile $9.95 until Sep 15 was $11.95

A creamy smooth sauvignon with aromas of white peach, lemongrass and passion fruit and a hint of white pepper. It is lively on the palate with good depth of flavour. Very good length. Try with sautéed chicken.

Santa Carolina Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2011

Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier 2012
Colchagua Valley, Chile $9.95

A beautiful lightweight viognier with tropical fruit aromas with orange blossom, baked apple, ginger and nutty tones. It is light to midweight with the fruit well-balanced by vibrant acidity. Very good length. Its terrific value. Enjoy on its own lightly chilled with party nibbles or at the table with poultry dishes or sautéed seafood.

Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier 2012

Less than $17

Carmen Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
Los Quillayes Vineyard, Maipo Alto, Chile $16.95

This is a superb single vineyard cabernet sauvignon, elegant, fruity and well structured with an ability to age well. It is an opaque purple-red with aromas of cassis and black cherry fruit with herbal tones and nicely integrated oak spice. The palate is dry with the fruit finely balanced by soft acidity and solid yet ripe tannin. Excellent length. Try with a steak. Best 2013 to 2020.

Carmen Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Top 50 Value Wines at LCBO

There are about 1,500 wines listed at the LCBO that are always available, plus another 100 or so VINTAGES Essentials. At WineAlign I maintain a list of the Top 50 LCBO and VINTAGES Essentials wines selected by price and value – in other words, the best least expensive wines. The selection process is explained in more detail below, but I review the list every month to include newly listed wines and monitor the value of those put on sale for a limited time.

How I Choose the Top 50

I constantly taste the wines at the LCBO to keep the Top 50 list up to date. You can easily find all of my all Top 50 Value Wines from the WineAlign main menu. Click on Wine =>Top 50 Value Wines to be taken directly to the list.

Steve's Top Value WinesTo be included in the Top 50 for value a wine must be inexpensive while also having a high score, indicating high quality. I 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.

Once you have tried a wine, you can use the ‘thumbs up/thumbs down’ to agree or disagree with our reviews. Or better yet, you can add your own review and join our growing community of user reviewers. If you find that there is a new wine on the shelf, or a new vintage that we have not reviewed, let us know. It is very easy to do this. Click on Suggestions & Feedback or send an email to feedback@winealign.com. We look forward to hearing from you.

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

We invite our Premium Subscription members to use this link for immediate access to Steve Thurlow’s reviews of the Top 50 Value Wines. Paid membership to WineAlign has its privileges – this is one of them. Enjoy!

Top 50 LCBO and Vintages Essentials Wines


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Louis Jadot Macon Villages 2011

Filed under: News, Wine, , ,

Eight wines join Steve’s Top 50 at LCBO – Aug 6

Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

Again this month the Top 50 has changed with eight wines arriving as a result of new wines being added to the LCBO selection plus some new improved vintages of existing selections. None of these rely on short-term discounts for their place on the list, so you can buy and enjoy all of them over the next few months.

Most come from the usual regions that offer good value which readers of this report are familiar with – namely South Africa, Chile, Argentina and Italy. However there is also an exceptionally good Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand that is priced very inexpensively.

Please also check out all the rest of the wines on my Top 50 Value Wines list, since all offer great value. So read beyond the featured wines to find more values, and to discover how the Top 50 is systematically selected.

Less than $17

Carmen Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Chile, $16.95

This is a superb single vineyard cabernet sauvignon, elegant, fruity and well structured with an ability to age well. It is an opaque purple-red with aromas of cassis and black cherry fruit with herbal tones and nicely integrated oak spice. The palate is dry with the fruit finely balanced by soft acidity and solid yet ripe tannin. Excellent length. Try with a steak. Best 2013 to 2020.

Carmen Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Less than $15

Babich Sauvignon Blanc 2012, New Zealand, $14.95

An intensively flavoured sauvignon with lifted aromas of guava, lemon, and dried grass that you don’t often find for less than $15. It is got a rich creamy palate with the fruit well supported by lemony acidity. Very good length. The finish maintains focus well. Enjoy with roast herbed chicken.

Babich Sauvignon Blanc

The Wolftrap Syrah Mourvèdre Viognier 2012, South Africa, $13.95

This is a very well made wine with a degree of elegance not often found in such an inexpensive wine. This deeply coloured blend of syrah, mourvedre and viognier has a nose of blackberry fruit with licorice, pepper and mild oak spice. It is medium to full-bodied with firm tannin which gives a nice edge to the finish. Very good to excellent length. Best 2013 to 2017. Try with grilled read meats.

The Wolftrap Syrah Mourvèdre Viognier 2012

Less than $12

Nederburg Sauvignon Blanc 2012, South Africa, $11.45

A nice inexpensive fruity sauvignon with aromas of lemon, ripe apple and gooseberry with dill and mild ginger spice. It is midweight creamy with a good depth of flavour. Very good length and finely balanced. Try with a lemony pasta sauce with grilled chicken or shrimp.

Nederburg Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Carmen Carmenere Reserva 2011, Chile, $11.45

A fruity aromatic wine with pure blackberry and black currant fruit aromas and flavours. It is great value with a degree of elegance not common for such an inexpensive wine. There is some complexity to the fruit with cedar, tobacco and white pepper spice in the mix. Well balanced and juicy with good to very good length. Best 2013 to 2015. Try with grilled meats.

Carmen Carmenere Reserva 2011

Castello Del Poggio Moscato, Italy, $11.10

A delicate well priced Moscato with lively acidity to balance the fruit and the sweetness. Expect lifted floral lemon, melon and honey aromas. The palate is fresh and pure with very good length. Enjoy on its own or with delicate pastries.

Castello Del Poggio Moscato

Less than $11

Amalaya Torrontes Riesling 2012, Argentina, $10.95

This is a complex aromatic white from the Salta region, in northern Argentina, which is the home of the aromatic indigenous torrontes grape. It is a blend of 85% of that grape with 15% riesling; the addition of which gives some zip to the mid palate and finish. Expect floral aromas of honeysuckle with ripe melon and canned pear fruit with ginger spice. The palate is midweight, rich and creamy with very good length. Enjoy as an aperitif or with mildly spicy Asian cuisine or rich seafood dishes.

Amalaya Torrontes Riesling 2012

Mezzomondo Negroamaro 2011, Italy, $9.00

This wine is consistently good value for a bright, tasty wine. The nose is black cherry fruit with some earthy spicy tones and a hint of pine. It is medium bodied, juicy and well-balanced with good to very good length and enough tannin for balance Chill slightly and enjoy with strongly flavoured cheese, pizza or bbq meats. Best 2013 to 2015.

Mezzomondo Negroamaro 2011

Top 50 Value Wines at LCBO

There are about 1,500 wines listed at the LCBO that are always available, plus another 100 or so VINTAGES Essentials. At WineAlign I maintain a list of the Top 50 LCBO and VINTAGES Essentials wines selected by price and value – in other words, the best least expensive wines. The selection process is explained in more detail below, but I review the list every month to include newly listed wines and monitor the value of those put on sale for a limited time.

How I Choose the Top 50

I constantly taste the wines at the LCBO to keep the Top 50 list up to date. You can easily find all of my all Top 50 Value Wines from the WineAlign main menu. Click on Wine =>Top 50 Value Wines to be taken directly to the list.

Steve's Top Value WinesTo be included in the Top 50 for value a wine must be inexpensive while also having a high score, indicating high quality. I 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.

Once you have tried a wine, you can use the ‘thumbs up/thumbs down’ to agree or disagree with our reviews. Or better yet, you can add your own review and join our growing community of user reviewers. If you find that there is a new wine on the shelf, or a new vintage that we have not reviewed, let us know. It is very easy to do this. Click on Suggestions & Feedback or send an email to feedback@winealign.com. We look forward to hearing from you.

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

We invite our Premium Subscription members to use this link for immediate access to Steve Thurlow’s reviews of the Top 50 Value Wines. Paid membership to WineAlign has its privileges – this is one of them. Enjoy!

Top 50 LCBO and Vintages Essentials Wines


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Mazzei Badiola 2010

Filed under: News, Wine, , ,

Top Values and Big Discounts; Steve’s Top 50 at LCBO

Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

The Top 50 changes each month with additions due to items going on sale at the LCBO or new wines being added to their selection. This month there are four wines that are on LTO (Limited Time Offer) with big discounts, some as much as $2.50. Discounts of this magnitude thrust good value wines onto Steve’s Top 50 Best Value Wines list for the short time of the offer. Discounts funded by suppliers prove consistently to be the best way to sell more wine at the LCBO. However they are for a limited time only so don’t hesitate.

But first let me tell you first about two new wines that do not depend upon a short-term discount to join the list this month. Both are flavourful whites made from uncommon grapes, and will be a great food match to mildly spicy dishes. Don’t over chill either of them, lest their big bold flavours remain hidden when they are served too cold.

Please also check out all the rest of the wines on my Top 50 Value Wines list, since all offer great value. So read beyond the featured wines to find more values, and to discover how the Top 50 is systematically selected.

Two Flavourful Whites

The Wolftrap White 2012, Western Cape, South Africa $13.95

This wine is an elegant partner to the popular red of the same name. It is an intriguing blend of viognier with chenin blanc and grenache blanc. The nose is very stately with apple pie plus a hint of caramel, with baked peach, honeysuckle and nutmeg tones. The palate is rich with loads of flavour with the fruit sweetness nicely balanced by lemony acidity. Excellent length. Try with a mild curry or tandoori chicken.

The Wolftrap White 2012

Dunavar Muscat Ottonel 2012, Hungary, $8.10

The 2012 vintage arrived recently with a new label for this consistently great value wine made from muscat ottonel, a less aromatic version of the muscat grape common to central Europe. Expect nicely lifted floral and melon and orange fruit aromas similar to viognier with herbal, mild spice and lime notes. It is quite rich well-balanced with lovely mouth-watering acidity and good to very good length. This will work well with mildly spicy Asian cuisine or rich poultry dishes.

Dunavar Muscat Ottonel 2012

Big Discounts

Antonin Rodet Côtes du Rhône 2010, France $10.95 until July 21 was $12.95

A young fresh fruity Southern Rhone with a lot going on for the money. The nose shows raspberry and plum fruit with some spice and earth tones. It is midweight with the ample fruit well-balanced by firm tannin that shows up on the finish. Very good length. Try with grilled meats of hard mature cheese. Best 2012 to 2015.

Antonin Rodet 2010

Durbanville Hills Shiraz 2010, Western Cape, South Africa $9.95 until July 21 was $11.95

A juicy, earthy and very drinkable shiraz at an excellent price. The nose shows cassis fruit with cedar, forest floor, tar, and blackberry aromas with similar palate flavours. The tannins are firm but smooth with soft acidity to lift the fruit. Decant for an hour and enjoy with a steak. Best 2013 to 2016.

Durbanville Hills Shiraz 2010

Errazuriz Max Reserva Syrah 2010, Aconcagua Valley, Chile $16.45 until July 21 was $18.95

A $2.50 discount makes this even better value for a complex structured wine, now labelled syrah for 2010 vintage (previously shiraz). Expect aromas of blackberry and blueberry fruit with dark chocolate and a hint of black pepper well-integrated with warm oak spice. It is full-bodied and smooth with mature finely divided tannin tickling the tongue. Decant before serving now with a steak or hard mature cheese or cellar for a couple of years to let more complexity develop. Best 2013 to 2018.

Errazuriz Max Reserva Syrah 2010

Cousiño Macul Antiguas Reservas Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Maipo Valley, Chile $13.95 until July 21 was $15.95

Already a superb value, you should buy a handful this month and enjoy over the next few years. Cousino Macul has been making Antiguas Reservas for decades and it keeps getting better. Still very youthful, this is a cellar candidate that’s fine now but even better if you decant for an hour or so before serving. It is very classy with a degree of elegance rarely found in such an inexpensive wine. The nose is youthful with the cassis fruit aromas complicated by tobacco, dark chocolate, menthol and herb notes. It is medium to full-bodied and very smooth with the ripe fruit balanced by soft acidity with a little dry tannin giving some grip to the finish. Very good length. Will develop more complexity with a few years in the cellar. For now, decant for an hour and enjoy with a steak. Best 2014 to 2020.

Cousiño Macul Antiguas Reservas Cabernet Sauvignon

Top 50 Value Wines at LCBO

There are about 1,500 wines listed at the LCBO that are always available, plus another 100 or so VINTAGES Essentials. At WineAlign I maintain a list of the Top 50 LCBO and VINTAGES Essentials wines selected by price and value – in other words, the best least expensive wines. The selection process is explained in more detail below, but I review the list every month to include newly listed wines and monitor the value of those put on sale for a limited time.

How I Choose the Top 50

I constantly taste the wines at the LCBO to keep the Top 50 list up to date. You can easily find all of my all Top 50 Value Wines from the WineAlign main menu. Click on Wine =>Top 50 Value Wines to be taken directly to the list.

Steve's Top Value WinesTo be included in the Top 50 for value a wine must be inexpensive while also having a high score, indicating high quality. I 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.

Once you have tried a wine, you can use the ‘thumbs up/thumbs down’ to agree or disagree with our reviews. Or better yet, you can add your own review and join our growing community of user reviewers. If you find that there is a new wine on the shelf, or a new vintage that we have not reviewed, let us know. It is very easy to do this. Click on Suggestions & Feedback or send an email to feedback@winealign.com. We look forward to hearing from you.

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

We invite our Premium Subscription members to use this link to find all of Steve Thurlow’s reviews of the Top 50 Value Wines. Paid membership to WineAlign has its privileges – this is one of them. Enjoy!

Top 50 LCBO and Vintages Essentials Wines


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Maclean's Wine in Canada

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