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Top Values at the LCBO (April – 2nd Edition)

Your Guide to the Best Values, Limited Time Offers & Bonus Air Miles selections at the LCBO
by Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

When I wrote to you a few weeks ago, I thought that spring would soon be here; I was so wrong. So to console you I have found some great value wines to drink while we all wait for the weather to improve.

For you bargain lovers I have some great news. Although there are only three new wines on my Top 50 Best Values this month there are another six, that were already on the list, that are either discounted or have Bonus Air Miles (BAMs) that apply, making these wines even more attractive and your spring drinking even more affordable.

There are also some new listings that are fine buys. As usual wines have been joining the Top 50 Best Values list and others have fallen off over the last 4 weeks. Those of you who follow me know I really enjoy discovering inexpensive gems. I have also included in this report four wines that almost made it onto the Top 50. I am writing about them because they all have lots of BAMs for the next 4 weeks.

Steve’s Top 50 is a standing WineAlign best buys list based on quality/price ratio of the 1600 or so wines in LCBO Wines and the VINTAGES Essentials Collection. You can read below in detail how the Top 50 works, but it does fluctuate as new wines arrive and as discounts show up through Limited Time Offers (LTOs).

The current discount period runs until May 22nd. So don’t hesitate. Thanks to WineAlign’s inventory tracking, I can assure you that there were stocks available, when we published, of every wine highlighted.

Editors Note: You can find our complete critic reviews by clicking on any of the wine names, bottle images or links highlighted. Paid subscribers to WineAlign see all critic reviews immediately. Non-paid users wait 60 days to see new reviews. Membership has its privileges; like first access to great value wines!

Reds

Citra 2014 Sangiovese Terre di Chieti, Abruzzo, Italy ($7.95 +5 BAMs) – This red is a little rustic with a savoury herbal nose, but quite tasty with mildly flavoured red meat dishes or a mild hard cheese like cheddar.

Santa Carolina 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Rapel Valley, Chile ($8.95 + 5BAMs) – This is a pure and very even red with a good depth of flavour. Not a lot of complexity but then it is under $9. Try with roast meats.

Santa Carolina 2015 Merlot, Chile ($8.95 + 5 BAMS) – Great value for an exuberant fruity merlot. The palate is brimming with lively bright fruit with enough tannin for balance and good to very good length. Enjoy on its own or with cheese and meat dishes. Very versatile.

Citra Sangiovese Terre Di Chieti 2014 Santa Carolina Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 Santa Carolina Merlot 2015 K W V Paarl Cape Ruby Bodegas Castaño Hécula Monastrell 2013 Château Canteloup 2012

K W V Paarl Cape Ruby South Africa ($9.85 + 6BAMs) – This is a fullbodied fortified red made in similar way as ruby port. It is medium sweet well balanced with decent length. Try with blue cheese, semi-sweet dark chocolate or dried fruit and nuts.

Bodegas Castaño 2013 Hécula Monastrell, Yecla, Spain ($10.45) New to Top 50 – The monastrell (mourvedre) grape in southeastern Spain makes many delicious juicy full bodied reds like this. The palate is very smooth with a good depth of flavour and it finishes dry with some fine tannin for grip. Very good length. Try with roast meats.

Château Canteloup 2012, Médoc, Bordeaux, France ($19.65 + 10 BAMs) – This is great value for a good quality Bordeaux with the aromatics of a great wine. Though the structure is not that of the best, it is still very impressive for the money. It’s medium weight with a silky mid-palate, then a firm tannic finish. Excellent length.

Whites

Periquita White 2013, Portugal ($8.95 + 5 BAMs) – A juicy blend of three white grapes with a very smooth palate and a good depth of flavour. Enjoy with mildly flavoured seafood.

Domaine Jean Bousquet 2015 White Blend, Argentina ($11.90 + 4 BAMs) – This is an aromatic white that’s midweight and deeply flavoured with the fruit well balanced by soft acidity. Try with roast veal or pork.

Periquita White 2013 Domaine Jean Bousquet White Blend 2015 Santa Rita Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2015

Santa Rita 2015 Sauvignon Blanc Reserva, Casablanca Valley, Chile ($11.95 + 7BAMs) – A juicy nicely structured sauvignon with just enough sweetness to balance the acidity and not too much greenness. Try with sautéed seafood.

Marqués de Riscal 2014, Rueda, Spain ($12.70 + 6 BAMs) – This is a pure fresh crisp white with an aromatic nose of grapefruit, passion fruit, white pepper with some honey notes. Since it is lively and juicy with very good length and is so refreshing, it is a great selection for seafood and mildly flavoured white meats.

Wolf Blass 2014 Yellow Label Chardonnay, Padthaway/Adelaide Hills, South Australia ($12.95 was $14.95) – This is a well balanced fruity lively chardonnay with a touch of oak; quite elegant for such an inexpensive wine. Try with rich seafood dishes, roast pork or sautéed veal.

Marqués De Riscal 2014 Wolf Blass Yellow Label Chardonnay 2014 Riverlore Sauvignon Blanc 2015 Peter Yealands Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Riverlore 2015 Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand ($13.90 was 15.90) New to Top 50 – This crisp very juicy kiwi sauvignon shows classic Marlborough aromas and flavours. It is midweight and well balanced with a creamy rich palate and crisp dry herbal lemon finish. Try with grilled calamari or creamy goat cheese.

Peter Yealands 2015 Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand ($13.95 was $15.95) New to Top 50 – There is a soft appealing mineral tone to the aromas and flavours of this juicy vibrant mouthwatering sauvignon. Nice concentration and very pure with very good length. Try with seafood dishes.

How does a wine get selected for the Top Value Report:

There are three ways that a wine gets into this monthly report of wines that are always in the stores either on the LCBO “General List” or the VINTAGES Essential Collection.

– On Sale (LTO’s or Limited Time Offers): Every four weeks the LCBO discounts around 200 wines I have looked through the current batch and have highlighted some of my favourites that offer better value at present…. so stock up now.

– Bonus Air Miles (BAM’s): If you collect Air Miles then you will be getting Bonus Air Miles on another 150 or so wines…a few of these have a special appeal for a while.

– Steve’s Top 50: Wines that have moved onto my Top 50 Best Values this month. This is on an-on going WineAlign selection that mathematically calculates value by comparing the price and rating of all the wines on the LCBO General List. You can access the report any time and read more about it now.

The Rest of Steve’s Top 50

Steve's Top Value WinesIn addition to the wines mentioned above, there are another 37 wines on the Top 50 list this month. So if you did not find all you need in this report, dip into the Top 50 LCBO and VINTAGES Essentials wines. There will surely be something inexpensive that suits your taste.

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. I review the list every month to include newly listed and recently tasted vintages of current listings as well as monitoring the value of those put on sale for a limited time.

Before value wine shopping remember to consult the Top 50 (Click on Wine => Top 50 Value Wines to be taken directly to the list), since it is always changing. If you find that there is a new wine on the shelf or a new vintage that we have not reviewed, let us know. Moreover if you disagree with our reviews, tell us please. And if you think our reviews are accurate, send us some feedback since it’s good to hear that you agree with us.

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 Value Wines
Wines on Limited Time Offer
Wines with Bonus Air Miles

Editors Note: You can find our complete critic reviews by clicking on any of the wine names, bottle images or links highlighted. Paid subscribers to WineAlign see all critic reviews immediately. Non-paid users wait 60 days to see new reviews. Membership has its privileges; like first access to great value wines!


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Top Values at the LCBO (April 2016)

Your Guide to the Best Values, Limited Time Offers & Bonus Air Miles selections
by Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

Spring has arrived in Ontario, believe it or not, despite the recent visit by a polar vortex. And there are many new vintages of wines appearing on the shelves at the LCBO. Some are better than last time and sadly some not quite as good. There are also some brand new listings that are fine buys. As a consequence wines have been joining the Top 50 Best Values list and others have fallen off over the last four weeks.

Those of you who follow me know I really enjoy discovering inexpensive gems. So for you bargain lovers – I have some great news. There are ten new wines on my list this month plus I also found other wines, that were already on the list, that are discounted or have Bonus Air Miles that apply, making these wines even more attractive and your spring drinking even more affordable. The discount period runs until April 23rd. So don’t hesitate. Thanks to WineAlign’s inventory tracking, I can assure you that there were stocks available, when we published, of every wine that I highlight.

Steve’s Top Values are best buys among the 1600 or so wines in LCBO Wines and the VINTAGES Essentials collection which I select from wines on Steve’s Top 50, a standing WineAlign list based on quality/price ratio. You can read below in detail how the Top 50 works, but it does fluctuate as new wines arrive and as discounts show up through Limited Time Offers (LTOs).

Editors Note: You can find our complete critic reviews by clicking on any of the wine names, bottle images or links highlighted. Paid subscribers to WineAlign see all critic reviews immediately. Non-paid users wait 60 days to see new reviews. Membership has its privileges; like first access to great value wines!

Reds

Astica 2015 Merlot Malbec, Argentina ($7.95) New to Top 50 – A juicy well structured red with appealing aromas. Not much complexity but for the money it’s a good everyday red for pizza and pasta.

Trapiche 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendoza, Argentina ($9.95) New to Top 50 – Pretty amazing cabernet from Argentina at this price. It is midweight very juicy with very good length and nice structural tannin for balance. Try with bbq meats.

Casillero del Diablo 2014 Devil’s Collection Red, Rapel Valley, Chile ($11.90 was $14.90) New to Top 50 – This delicious red blend is full bodied and vibrant with soft mature tannin. It is quite new to the LCBO and at $3 off it’s a great buy at present.

Astica Merlot Malbec 2015Trapiche Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 Casillero del Diablo Devil's Collection Red 2014 Trapiche Malbec Reserve 2014 Les Jamelles Merlot 2014

Trapiche 2014 Malbec Reserve, Mendoza Argentina ($11.95) New to Top 50 – This inexpensive red would not be out of place in fine dining. Medium bodied and dry with soft mature tannin and well integrated acidity plus a gentle velvety smooth palate. Try with roast beef.

Les Jamelles 2014 Merlot, Languedoc-Roussillon, France ($11.95 was $13.95) New to Top 50 – A juicy pure merlot brimming with red berry fruit. Enjoy on its own lightly chilled or with mildly spicy gourmet sausages.

Vila Regia 2013 Reserva, Douro Valley, Portugal ($11.95 +6 BAMs) – Excellent value for a fragrant elegant red that is an opaque purple with a soft nose of berry fruit and a midweight palate. Very good length. Try with roast beef or creamy soft cheese.

Montecillo 2010 Crianza, Rioja, Spain ($12.95 was $14.95) New to Top 50 – With its gorgeous classy packaging this is consistently a great, easy-to-drink, food-balanced red that is traditionally styled. Very good length. Try with a lamb or pork casserole.

Vila Regia Reserva 2013 Montecillo Crianza 2010 Goats do Roam Red 2014 Château de Vaugelas Le Prieuré Corbières 2013 The Wolftrap Syrah Mourvedre Viognier 2014

Goats do Roam 2014 Red, Western Cape, South Africa ($12.95 + 5BAMs) – The 2014 vintage continues a long line of consistently great value reds that are close stylistically to a French Cotes du Rhone. Try with burgers.

Château de Vaugelas 2013 Le Prieuré Corbières, Languedoc-Roussillon, France ($13.95 + 5BAMS) – The 2013 is a big improvement for this syrah grenache blend. Well balanced nicely structured with very good length. Quite classy for such an inexpensive wine. Try with a steak.

The Wolftrap 2014 Syrah Mourvedre Viognier, Western Cape, South Africa ($13.95 + 5BAMs) – Deeply coloured, fairly elegant red, with a fine balance and very good length. Try with grilled red meat.

Whites

Cono Sur 2015 Organic Chardonnay, San Antonio Valley, Chile ($11.05 was $14.05) New to Top 50 – At $3 off this is a great buy for a rich, fresh chardonnay that will be great with roast chicken or pork.

Domaine Jean Bousquet 2015 White Blend, Argentina ($11.90) New to Top 50 – This new LCBO listing jumps straight onto my Top50. It’s an aromatic white that’s midweight and deeply flavoured with the fruit well balanced by soft acidity. Try with roast veal or pork.

Cono Sur Organic Chardonnay 2015 Domaine Jean Bousquet White Blend 2015 Santa Rita Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2015 Goats Do Roam White 2015 Villa Wolf Riesling 2013

Santa Rita 2015 Sauvignon Blanc Reserva, Casablanca Valley, Chile ($11.95 was $13.95) – A juicy nicely structured sauvignon with just enough sweetness to balance the acidity and not too much greenness. Try with sautéed seafood.

Goats do Roam 2015 White, Coastal Region, South Africa ($11.95 + 5 BAMS) New to Top 50 – 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 a good depth of flavour; quite classy considering its price. Enjoy as an aperitif with pastry nibbles.

Villa Wolf 2013 Riesling, Pfalz, Germany ($12.95) New to Top 50 – The price of this versatile food white has been reduced by $2. It’s racy and fragrant. Try with seafood pastry and white meats.

How does a wine get selected for the Top Value Report:

There are three ways that a wine gets into this monthly report of wines that are always in the stores either on the LCBO “General List” or the VINTAGES Essential Collection.

– On Sale (LTO’s or Limited Time Offers): Every four weeks the LCBO discounts around 200 wines I have looked through the current batch and have highlighted some of my favourites that offer better value at present…. so stock up now.

– Bonus Air Miles (BAM’s): If you collect Air Miles then you will be getting Bonus Air Miles on another 150 or so wines…a few of these have a special appeal for a while.

– Steve’s Top 50: Wines that have moved onto my Top 50 Best Values this month. This is on an-on going WineAlign selection that mathematically calculates value by comparing the price and rating of all the wines on the LCBO General List. You can access the report any time and read more about it now.

The Rest of Steve’s Top 50

Steve's Top Value WinesIn addition to the wines mentioned above, there are another 35 wines on the Top 50 list this month. So if you didn’t find all you need in this report, dip into the Top 50 LCBO and VINTAGES Essentials wines. There will surely be something inexpensive that suits your taste.

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. I review the list every month to include newly listed and recently tasted vintages of current listings as well as monitoring the value of those put on sale for a limited time.

Before value wine shopping remember to consult the Top 50 (Click on Wine => Top 50 Value Wines to be taken directly to the list), since it is always changing. If you find that there is a new wine on the shelf or a new vintage that we have not reviewed, let us know. Moreover if you disagree with our reviews, tell us please. And if you think our reviews are accurate, send us some feedback since it’s good to hear that you agree with us.

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 Value Wines
Wines on Limited Time Offer
Wines with Bonus Air Miles

Editors Note: You can find our complete critic reviews by clicking on any of the wine names, bottle images or links highlighted. Paid subscribers to WineAlign see all critic reviews immediately. Non-paid users wait 60 days to see new reviews. Membership has its privileges; like first access to great value wines!


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Peter Yealands Sauvignon Blanc 2015

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Top Values at the LCBO (March 2016)

Your Guide to the Best Values, Limited Time Offers & Bonus Air Miles selections at the LCBO
by Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

There are ten new wines on my Top 50 Best Values this month, which in itself is amazing news, however I also found that another three, already on my Top 50, are discounted making them an even better deal. Plus another four on the list have Bonus Air Miles that apply, making these wines even more attractive for the next four weeks or so.

It is an exciting time for me since so many new vintages arrive this time of the year. Some of the new vintages I tasted were better and some not so good, so wines join the list and others fall off. As those of you who follow me know I really enjoy discovering inexpensive gems, so I am delighted to have found so many new great values at the LCBO this month.

The wines featured in this report are best buys among the 1600 or so wines in LCBO Wines and the VINTAGES Essentials collection which I select from wines on Steve’s Top 50, a standing WineAlign list based on quality/price ratio. You can read below in detail how the Top 50 works, but it does fluctuate as new wines arrive and as discounts show up through Limited Time Offers (LTOs).

The current discount period runs until March 27th, so don’t hesitate. Thanks to WineAlign’s inventory tracking, I can assure you that there were stocks available, when we published, of every wine that I highlight.

Editors Note: You can find our complete critic reviews by clicking on any of the wine names, bottle images or links highlighted. Paid subscribers to WineAlign see all critic reviews immediately. Non-paid users wait 60 days to see new reviews. Membership has its privileges; like first access to great value wines!

Reds

Solaz Tempranillo Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Castilla León, Spain ($9.45 was $11.45) – A juicy vibrant red with red berry fruit and just enough tannin for balance. Try with grilled meats or mature hard cheese.

La Casona De Castano Old Vines Monastrell 2014, Yecla, Alicante, Spain ($9.65) New to Top 50 – This is a bright ruby red with appealing berry aromas. It is a medium-bodied, full-flavoured wine with juicy ripe fruit, well balanced, with the fruit persisting well onto the finish. Try with meaty pasta sauces or pizza.

Caliterra Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2014 Colchagua Valley, Chile ($9.95) New to Top 50 – A typical Chilean cabernet at a great price. Juicy full bodied and well balanced. More complexity than you would expect for such an inexpensive wine. Try with a steak.

Solaz Tempranillo Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 La Casona De Castano Old Vines Monastrell 2014 Caliterra Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2014 Santa Rita Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Santa Rita Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 Maipo Valley, Chile ($11.95 was $13.95) New to Top 50 – A juicy rich well balanced cabernet with good varietal character. Its full bodied and nicely structured with very good length. Try with grilled meats or a creamy cheese like Brie.

Santa Julia Reserva Malbec 2014, Mendoza, Argentina ($10.95 was $12.95) New to Top 50 – This is a rich malbec with a creamy texture and enticing aromatics. Flavourful with a long lingering very dry finish. Try with a rack of juicy ribs.

Thelema Mountain Red 2012, Western Cape, South Africa ($11.00 was $13.00) New to Top 50 – This delightful blend of shiraz and 5 other grapes has a lifted nose that shows ripe blackberry and blueberry fruit. It is very smooth and quite dense with a degree of elegance. Try with pizza or burgers.

Trapiche Broquel Malbec 2013 Mendoza, Argentina ($12.95 was $14.95) – A consistently solid buy and at $2 off a fantastic deal. A rich, full flavoured malbec with aromas of chocolate, spices and berry fruits. Buy an armful while the deal lasts.

Santa Julia Reserva Malbec 2014 Thelema Mountain Red 2012 Trapiche Broquel Malbec 2013 Château De Vaugelas Le Prieuré Corbières 2013 Firestone Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Château De Vaugelas Le Prieuré Corbières 2013 Languedoc-Roussillon, France ($13.95) – The 2013 is a big improvement for this syrah grenache blend. Well balanced nicely structured with very good length. Quite classy for such an inexpensive wine. Try with a steak.

Firestone Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Santa Ynez Valley, California, USA ($19.90) – Lots of depth, flavour and complexity for a wine at this price, the 2013 is just as good as the superb 2012. Elegant and well balanced. Try with roast beef.

Whites

Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier 2015 Colchagua Valley Chile ($8.95 was $9.95) – At $9.95 it was already the best value white, so at $1off its time to stock up on this aromatic flavourful white. Enjoy on its own or with mildly spicy white meat dishes or rich poultry or with Swiss Gruyere cheese.

Dunavár Pinot Grigio 2014 Hungary ($8.95) New to Top 50 – This is a simple, fresh and lively pinot grigio, that is quite flavourful and very easy to drink.  It is midweight with a slight spritz adding to its freshness. At this price it provides plenty of basic refreshment.

Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier 2015 Dunavár Pinot Grigio 2014 Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Grigio 2015 Caliterra Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2015

Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Grigio 2015 Central Valley Chile ($9.95) New to Top 50 – The 2015 vintage is just as good as the excellent 2014. Aromatic and flavourful it is probably the best value grigio at LCBO. Chill well and enjoy with grilled calamari, cheesy pasta sauces or sauteed seafood. Why pay more when you have all you need here?

Caliterra Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2015 Casablanca Valley, Chile ($9.95) New to Top 50 – Consistently one of the best white wine values at LCBO. Good varietal character with lots of flavour. Try with cheesy pasta sauces or roast chicken.

How does a wine get selected for the Top Value Report:

There are three ways that a wine gets into this monthly report of wines that are always in the stores either on the LCBO “General List” or the VINTAGES Essential Collection.

– On Sale (LTO’s or Limited Time Offers): Every four weeks the LCBO discounts around 200 wines I have looked through the current batch and have highlighted some of my favourites that offer better value at present…. so stock up now.

– Bonus Air Miles (BAM’s): If you collect Air Miles then you will be getting Bonus Air Miles on another 150 or so wines…a few of these have a special appeal for a while.

– Steve’s Top 50: Wines that have moved onto my Top 50 Best Values this month. This is on an-on going WineAlign selection that mathematically calculates value by comparing the price and rating of all the wines on the LCBO General List. You can access the report any time and read more about it now.

The Rest of Steve’s Top 50

Steve's Top Value WinesIn addition to the wines mentioned above, there are another 37 wines on the Top 50 list this month. So if you did not find all you need in this report, dip into the Top 50 LCBO and VINTAGES Essentials wines. There will surely be something inexpensive that suits your taste.

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. I review the list every month to include newly listed and recently tasted vintages of current listings as well as monitoring the value of those put on sale for a limited time.

Before value wine shopping remember to consult the Top 50 (Click on Wine => Top 50 Value Wines to be taken directly to the list), since it is always changing. If you find that there is a new wine on the shelf or a new vintage that we have not reviewed, let us know. Moreover if you disagree with our reviews, tell us please. And if you think our reviews are accurate, send us some feedback since it’s good to hear that you agree with us.

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 Value Wines
Wines on Limited Time Offer
Wines with Bonus Air Miles

Editors Note: You can find our complete critic reviews by clicking on any of the wine names, bottle images or links highlighted. Paid subscribers to WineAlign see all critic reviews immediately. Non-paid users wait 60 days to see new reviews. Membership has its privileges; like first access to great value wines!


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Gabbiano Chianti Classico 2013

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

Top Values at the LCBO (February 2016)

Your Guide to the Best Values, Limited Time Offers & Bonus Air Miles selections at the LCBO
by Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

I am writing to you from Marlborough in New Zealand, where I am attending the first ever International Sauvignon Blanc Celebration. As many of you know, Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is a distinct, very drinkable, usually unoaked white wine that has been recognised all over the world for its uniqueness. It has for at least a decade now been the benchmark by which most producers measure their savvys, as the grape is fondly referred to downunder. I will write more about my trip to New Zealand in March when I get home.

I am not surprised that there a nine new wines on the Top 50 list this month. So much wine is sold in the last six weeks of every year that many new vintages always arrive about now. Some of the new vintages I tasted were better and some not so good, so wines join the list and others fall off. Anyway I am delighted to have found so many new great values at the LCBO this month.

The wines featured are best buys among the 1600 or so wines in LCBO Wines and the Vintages Essentials Collection which I select from wines on Steve’s Top 50, a standing WineAlign list based on quality/price ratio. You can read below in detail how the Top 50 works, but it does fluctuate as new wines arrive and as discounts show up through Limited Time Offers (LTOs).

The discount period runs until February 28th, so don’t hesitate. Thanks to WineAlign’s inventory tracking, I can assure you that there were stocks available, when we published, of every wine that I highlight.

Editors Note: You can find our complete critic reviews by clicking on any of the wine names, bottle images or links highlighted. Paid subscribers to WineAlign see all critic reviews immediately. Non-paid users wait 60 days to see new reviews. Membership has its privileges; like first access to great value wines!

A Dozen Best Value Wines

Citra Sangiovese Terre di Chieti 2014 Abruzzo Italy ($7.95 + 4 BAM) – This red is a little rustic with a savoury herbal nose. Try with mildly flavoured red meat dishes or a mild hard cheese like cheddar.

Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir 2014, Central Valley, Chile ($10.95) New to the Top 50 – Probably the best value pinot in the LCBO. It has classic aromas and  is fresh on nose and palate. Lively red berry fruit and a long lingering finish make it very appealing.

Citra Sangiovese Terre di Chieti 2014Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir 2014 Cono Sur Sparkling Pinot Noir Rose Montecillo Crianza 2010

Cono Sur Sparkling Pinot Noir Rose, Bio Bio Valley, Chile ($11.95 was $13.95) New to the Top 50 – This is my pink bubbly Valentines pick. It is a fawn pink sparkling rose made from pinot noir brimming with aromas and has a delicate creamy dry palate. Very good length with long lasting fine bubbles. Chill well and enjoy on its own.

Montecillo Crianza 2010 Rioja Spain ($12.45 was $14.95) New to the Top 50 – With its gorgeous classy red label this is consistently a great, easy-to-drink, food balanced red that is traditionally styled. Very good length. Try with a lamb or pork casserole.

Porcupine Ridge Syrah 2014, Swartland, South Africa ($13.95 was $14.95) New to the Top 50, VINTAGES Essentials – Already huge value so even better at $1 off. This is a lively savoury red brimming with fruit yet balanced with some elegance. Try with smoked or grilled meats.

Cave Spring Cabernet Merlot 2013, VQA Niagara Escarpment, Ontario ($14.95 was $15.95) New to the Top 50 – This is an excellent vintage for this midweight well balanced red with some elegance. This comes from the fine acid balance not often found in such an inexpensive wine.

Porcupine Ridge Syrah 2014 Cave Spring Cabernet Merlot 2013 Graham's Late Bottled Vintage Port 2009 Firestone Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Graham’s Late Bottled Vintage Port 2009, Douro Valley, Portugal ($16.95) New to the Top 50 – A beautiful fragrant quite fresh LBV that’s full-bodied, velvety smooth and finely balanced with the alcohol well tamed and integrated. Enjoy on its own or with dark chocolate and nuts.

Firestone Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Santa Ynez Valley, California USA ($16.90 was $19.90) – Lots of depth, flavour and complexity for a wine at this price; a good deal normally it’s now stunning value at $3 off. Elegant and well balanced. Try with roast beef.

Are You Game? Chardonnay 2012 Victoria Australia ($8.75 was $14.95) Delisted – A soft, elegant, cool climate chardonnay with only a hint of oak. It’s midweight and finely balanced. Try with sautéed seafood. Stores are running out quickly.

Stoneleigh Chardonnay 2014 Marlborough, New Zealand ($9.95 was $15.45) New to the Top 50, Delisted – I am saddened to see this delisted since it is a very fine, well balanced, delicious chardonnay with just a touch of oak and lots of aroma and flavour. Under 1000 bottles left, so hurry before they are all gone.

Are You Game? Chardonnay 2012Stoneleigh Chardonnay 2014Chateau D' Eternes Saumur Brut Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava

Chateau d’Eternes Saumur Brut, Loire Valley France ($14.95) New to the Top 50 – This is a very classy sparkling wine at a great price that is made using the traditional method from chenin blanc and chardonnay. A great aperitif but also a wine for pairing with delicate seafood dishes.

Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava Spain ($13.95 was $14.95) New to the Top 50 – This batch of this non-vintage classy sparkling wine is especially good with its fresh nose, elegant delicate soft mousse and long lingering finish. Lots of flavour and super creamy texture. A great aperitif.

How does a wine get selected for the Top Value Report:

There are three ways that a wine gets into this monthly report of wines that are always in the stores either on the LCBO “General List” or the VINTAGES Essential Collection.

– On Sale (LTO’s or Limited Time Offers): Every four weeks the LCBO discounts around 200 wines I have looked through the current batch and have highlighted some of my favourites that offer better value at present…. so stock up now.

– Bonus Air Miles (BAM’s): If you collect Air Miles then you will be getting Bonus Air Miles on another 150 or so wines…a few of these have a special appeal for a while.

– Steve’s Top 50: Wines that have moved onto my Top50 Best Values this month. This is on an-on going WineAlign selection that mathematically calculates value by comparing the price and rating of all the wines on the LCBO General List. You can access the report any time and read more about it now.

The Rest of Steve’s Top 50

Steve's Top Value WinesIn addition to the wines mentioned above, there are another 38 wines on the Top 50 list this month. So if you did not find all you need in this report, dip into the Top 50 LCBO and VINTAGES Essentials wines. There will surely be something inexpensive that suits your taste.

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. I review the list every month to include newly listed and recently tasted vintages of current listings as well as monitoring the value of those put on sale for a limited time.

Before value wine shopping remember to consult the Top 50 (Click on Wine =>Top 50 Value Wines to be taken directly to the list), since it is always changing. If you find that there is a new wine on the shelf or a new vintage that we have not reviewed, let us know. Moreover if you disagree with our reviews, tell us please. And if you think our reviews are accurate, send us some feedback since it’s good to hear that you agree with us.

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 Value Wines
Wines on Limited Time Offer
Wines with Bonus Air Miles

Editors Note: You can find our complete critic reviews by clicking on any of the wine names, bottle images or links highlighted. Paid subscribers to WineAlign see all critic reviews immediately. Non-paid users wait 60 days to see new reviews. Membership has its privileges; like first access to great value wines!


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Gabbiano Chianti Classico 2013

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Top 20 under $20 at the LCBO (January 2016)

Your Guide to the Best Values, Limited Time Offers & Bonus Air Miles selections at the LCBO
by Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

There are seventeen new wines on the Top 50 list this month. This is not surprising since so much wine is sold in the last six weeks of every year that many new vintages always arrive about now. Some of the new vintages I tasted were better and some not so good, so wines join the list and others fall off. Anyway I am delighted to have found so many new great values at the LCBO this month.

Additionally three wines already on my Top 50 Best Values list are discounted and a some have Bonus Air Miles that apply, making these wines even more attractive and affordable for the next four weeks or so.

The Top 20 under $20 are best buys among the 1600 or so wines in LCBO Wines and the VINTAGES Essentials Collection. This month I selected all from wines on Steve’s Top 50, a standing WineAlign list based on quality/price ratio. You can read below in detail how the Top 50 works, but it does fluctuate as new wines arrive and as discounts show up through Limited Time Offers (LTOs).

The discount period runs until January 31st. So don’t hesitate. Thanks to WineAlign’s inventory tracking, I can assure you that there were stocks available, when we published, of every wine that I highlight.

Editors Note: You can find our complete critic reviews by clicking on any of the wine names, bottle images or links highlighted. Paid subscribers to WineAlign see all critic reviews immediately. Non-paid users wait 60 days to see new reviews. Membership has its privileges; like first access to great value wines!

Reds

Tini Sangiovese di Romagna 2013, Emilia Romagna, Italy ($7.75) New to Top 50 – This is excellent value for a very drinkable Italian red for pizza and meaty pasta dishes. It is soft and fruity with enough tannin and acidity for balance and good length. Chill a little and try with tomato pasta sauces. Not recommended for quaffing since the finish is quite austere.

Beso de Vino Seleccion Red 2011 Carinena, Spain ($7.95 was $9.95) New to Top 50 – This ripe structured red has a nice lemony tone to the nose and palate to give it freshness. It is full-bodied with good length. Try with sweet juicy ribs.

Citra Sangiovese Terre Di Chieti 2014 Abruzzo Italy ($7.95) New to Top 50 – This red is a little rustic with a savoury herbal nose. Try with mildly flavoured red meat dishes or a mild hard cheese like cheddar.

Tini Sangiovese di Romagna 2013 Beso de Vino Seleccion Red 2011 Citra Sangiovese Terre di Chieti 2014 Spadafora Terrano Rosso 2014

Spadafora Terrano Rosso 2014 Calabria Italy ($8.55) New to Top 50 – 2014 is another good vintage for this juicy, well balanced red from Calabria. It is easy drinking, vibrant and pure with not much complexity or depth, but it is very drinkable. Good length. Enjoy with pizza and meaty pasta sauces.

Solaz Tempranillo Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Castilla León, Spain ($9.45 was $11.45) Top 50 January – 2014 is the best vintage yet of this juicy, vibrant, clean red with very good length. Chill lightly and enjoy with grilled meats.

La Casona De Castano Old Vines Monastrell 2013, Yecla, SE Spain ($9.65) New to Top 50 – Mourvèdre is the French name for this grape that is grown widely in SE Spain. It is deep purple and very aromatic with a midweight palate and very good length. Try with spaghetti and meatballs in a tomato sauce.

Santa Carolina Merlot Reserva 2014, Colchagua Valley, Chile ($10.95 was $12.95) New to Top 50 – This is a lively, clean, very fruity merlot with just enough soft tannin for balance. Enjoy on its own or with hard mature cheese.

Solaz Tempranillo Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 La Casona de Castano Old Vines Monastrell 2013 Santa Carolina Merlot Reserva 2014 Santa Carolina Carmenère Reserva 2014 Boschendal The Pavillion Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Santa Carolina Carmenère Reserva 2014, Cachapoal Valley, Chile ($11.95 was $12.95) Top 50 January – This is a dense, powerful wine with a complex perfumed nose. Full bodied but still very juicy with dense ripe fruit and fine tannin.

Boschendal The Pavillion Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 Stellenbosch South Africa ($11.95) New to Top 50 – Excellent value for a juicy, full bodied red with spicy berry aromas and ample fruit. It is balanced by soft tannin and soft acidity. Good focus and very good length. Try with lamb kabobs.

Ogier Cotes du Ventoux Red 2013 Rhone Valley, France ($11.95) New to Top 50 – 2013 is a good vintage for this soft, white pepper spiced, southern Rhone red. The fruit is well balanced with crisp, juicy acidity, blueberry and pepper notes and plenty of zip and zing.

Vila Regia Reserva 2013, Douro Valley, Portugal ($11.95) New to Top 50 – Excellent value for a fragrant, elegant red. Opaque purple, a soft nose of berry fruit and a mid weight palate, this has very good length. Try with roast beef or creamy soft cheese.

Ogier Cotes du Ventoux Red 2013 Vila Regia Reserva 2013 Goats do Roam Red 2014 Errazuriz Estate Pinot Noir 2014

Goats do Roam Red 2014 Western Cape, South Africa ($11.95 was $12.95) Top 50 January – The 2014 vintage continues a long line of consistently great value reds that are close stylistically to a French Côtes du Rhône. Try with burgers.

Errazuriz Estate Pinot Noir 2014, Aconcagua Valley, Chile ($13.95 + 8 BAMs) New to Top 50 – One of the best value pinots at the LCBO. It is quite Burgundian in style with ripe fruit aromas and flavours balanced by herbal and earthy tones. The palate has nice structural tannin and some vibrant acidity, keeping it lively.

Whites

Cono Sur Sparkling Brut, Bio Bio, Chile ($7.95 was $13.95) New to Top 50, Delisted – I am sorry to see that this elegant bubbly has been discontinued. Over 800 bottles remain so jump in quickly before it is all gone. It is quite flavourful and very smooth with a honeyed hazelnut apple nose and very persistent bubbles.

KWV Contemporary Collection Chenin Blanc 2015, Western Cape, South Africa ($7.95 was $9.45) New to Top 50 – South Africa can make good inexpensive chenin like this with a good depth of flavour, well structured, and for a great price. The palate is midweight with ripe fruit balanced by lemony acidity. Very good length and just a little bitter on the finish. Try with seafood or white meats.

Cono Sur Sparkling Brut K W V Contemporary Collection Chenin Blanc 2015 Are You Game Chardonnay 2012

Are You Game? Chardonnay 2012 Victoria Australia ($8.75 was $14.95) New to Top 50, Delisted – A soft, elegant, cool climate chardonnay with only a hint of oak. It’s midweight and finely balanced. Try with sautéed seafood. Over 1300 bottles remain.

Hardys Stamp Series Riesling Gewurztraminer 2014, Southeastern Australia ($8.95 was $9.95) New to Top 50 – This white has been a constant at the LCBO for years and always offers great value.  It is mouthwatering with peach, spice and candied lemon aromas and flavours, a smooth texture and very good length.

Brumont Gros Manseng Sauvignon 2014, Cote De Gascogne, SW France ($10.75 was $12.95) New to Top 50, Delisted – Gros manseng is a white grape native to southwest France. Here it is blended with sauvignon blanc to make a creamy white wine with herbal melon aromas and flavours. Very good length. Try with roast chicken.

Hardys Stamp Series Riesling Gewurztraminer 2014 Brumont Gros Manseng Sauvignon 2014 Santa Carolina Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2015Boschendal 1685 Chardonnay 2014

Santa Carolina Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2015, Leyda Valley, San Antonio, Chile ($11.95) New to Top 50 – Leyda Valley is now recognized as one of the best places for this variety in Chile. This is a complex, ripe sauvignon with beautiful aromas and a rich creamy palate.

Boschendal 1685 Chardonnay 2014, Coastal Region, South Africa ($14.80) New to Top 50 – A rich, full bodied, creamy chardonnay with the oak well integrated and adding complexity. It is full bodied and creamy smooth with lots of flavour balanced by ample acidity. Excellent length. Try with rich poultry dishes or creamy veal escallops.

How does a wine get selected for the Top 20 under $20.

Top 20 Under 20

There are three ways that a wine gets into this monthly report of wines that are always in the stores either on the LCBO “General List” or the VINTAGES Essential Collection.

– On Sale (LTO’s or Limited Time Offers): Every four weeks the LCBO discounts around 200 wines I have looked through the current batch and have highlighted some of my favourites that offer better value at present…. so stock up now.

– Bonus Air Miles (BAM’s): If you collect Air Miles then you will be getting Bonus Air Miles on another 150 or so wines…a few of these have a special appeal for a while.

– Steve’s Top 50: Wines that have moved onto my Top50 Best Values this month. This is on an-on going WineAlign selection that mathematically calculates value by comparing the price and rating of all the wines on the LCBO General List. You can access the report any time and read more about it now.

The Rest of Steve’s Top 50

In addition to the wines mentioned above, there are another 3o wines on the Top 50 list this month. So if you did not find all you need in this report, dip into the Top 50 LCBO and VINTAGES Essentials wines. There will surely be something inexpensive that suits your taste.

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. I review the list every month to include newly listed and recently tasted vintages of current listings as well as monitoring the value of those put on sale for a limited time.

Before value wine shopping remember to consult the Top 50 (Click on Wine =>Top 50 Value Wines to be taken directly to the list), since it is always changing. If you find that there is a new wine on the shelf or a new vintage that we have not reviewed, let us know. Moreover if you disagree with our reviews, tell us please. And if you think our reviews are accurate, send us some feedback since it’s good to hear that you agree with us.

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 20 Under $20
Top 50 Value Wines

Editors Note: You can find our complete critic reviews by clicking on any of the wine names, bottle images or links highlighted. Paid subscribers to WineAlign see all critic reviews immediately. Non-paid users wait 60 days to see new reviews. Membership has its privileges; like first access to great value wines!


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Catena Malbec

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

16 Value Wines for The 12 Days of Christmas

by Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

The Twelve Days of Christmas, with a gift for each day like a partridge in a pear tree (among other bizarre gifts), is supposed to start on Christmas Day; my Twelve Days starts on Christmas Eve.

Moreover, since I am not good at choosing gifts for the twelve days, I thought instead I would select wines for you for these days of feasting with family and friends. After checking my current Top 50 Best Value wines at LCBO I have chosen 16 wines to get you through the holidays. So here we go.

On Christmas Eve I imagine many will be giving or attending parties with nibbles, hors d’oeuvres, cheese plates, sausage rolls and the like. This calls for easy drinking, lively fresh wines like Santa Carolina 2015 Chardonnay Reserva ($11.95) which is a creamy, fresh and very juicy white with just a touch of oak for added complexity. For a red selection, let me recommend Goats do Roam 2014 Red ($12.95) from South Africa. It is a consistently great value midweight red with vibrant acidity and juicy red berry fruit and soft tannin.

Roast turkey will be on the menu for Christmas Day Dinner in many homes. It is often a rich meal with the turkey and stuffing served with a rich, thick gravy. It is tough to find a white wine for this, however dry aged fortified whites from Jerez in Spain are usually up to the task. Try Lustau Solera Reserva Dry Amontillado Los Arcos ($15.35). It is a very complex powerful wine with a rich intensely flavoured palate that lingers forever. It comes with 18.5% alcohol yet it’s finely balanced and is fantastic value. You will find it in the fortified wine section near the ports. Errazuriz Estate 2013 Pinot Noir ($13.95) from Chile would be another good choice for this occasion. It’s midweight and very fruity with mild tannin and some nice spicy complexity.

Santa Carolina Chardonnay Reserva 2015 Goats Do Roam Red 2014 Lustau Solera Reserva Dry Amontillado Los Arcos Errazuriz Estate Pinot Noir 2013

On Boxing Day we traditionally organize a beef dish for the main meal. So it’s time for some full-bodied reds. Wynns Coonawarra Estate 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon (now $24.95 for a limited time, was $27.95) is an elegant, pure, very smooth, complex cabernet. It is not a big red, so look elsewhere for power but treasure the creamy texture and pure fruit. There are about 30 very positive reviews for this superb Aussie cabernet on WineAlign so please give it a try – plus it’s $3 off at present. Another choice could be Santa Carolina Reserva da Familia Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 ($18.95). You will be enthralled by this opaque purple wine with its perfumed aromas of berry fruit, mint, herbal and dark chocolate complexity.

Sunday is often the day for leftovers from the turkey dinner. I often conjure up a risotto with turkey meat and some of the vegetables, stuffing and sauces that are in the fridge. The Frisky Beaver 2013 White from Niagara ($13.95) is an aromatic blend of five white grapes, quite rich with fruit sweetness that’s well balanced by acidity. Firestone Vineyard 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon from California ($19.90) is an elegant well priced cabernet from the cooler Santa Ynez Valley just north of Santa Barbara. It has a fragrant nose, vibrant palate and excellent palate length.

Wynns Coonawarra Estate Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 Santa Carolina Reserva De Familia Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 Frisky Beaver White 2013 Firestone Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Monday comes and it’s back to work for three days, and a break from feasting for many, but the festivities will recommence on Thursday, New Year’s Eve.

New Year’s Eve is the day when many will be toasting the start of a new year with sparkling wine. It does not need to be an expensive affair. For example, why not choose Veuve Ambal Cremant De Bourgogne Grande Cuvee Brut ($17.95) a fresh creamy bubbly from Burgundy in France. It is a nice sipping wine that goes well with pastry nibbles. If you are looking for a nice sipping red for party food then Emiliana Adobe Reserva Merlot 2013 ($12.95) from Chile would be a good choice. It’s a polished organic merlot with clean, lively, bright aromas and flavours.

New Year’s Day is often another occasion for a long lingering lunch with roast or grilled meats. This year we will be having a hearty beef casserole with a thick meaty dark brown sauce and root vegetables. A good choice for wine would be the superb Pascual Toso Limited Edition 2012 Malbec ($16.05) from Argentina. It is full bodied with powerful aromas and flavours, a very even palate and excellent length. As an alternative, a midweight selection could be Lavau 2011 Cotes du Rhone Villages ($13.50) from France. The red berry fruit with sweet oak spices is well balanced by some fine tannin that will stand up well to the rich stew.

Veuve Ambal Grande Cuvée Brut Crémant De Bourgogne Emiliana Adobe Reserva Merlot 2013 Pascual Toso Malbec Limited Edition 2012 Lavau Cote Du Rhone Villages 2011

Once Saturday rolls around it will be time for a change of pace and a rest from kitchen chores. Chinese delivered to the door gets my vote. Lots of variety here and many dishes to choose from but I have two wines in mind for two of my frequent selections. The Wolftrap 2014 Syrah Mouvedre Viognier ($13.95) is great with Chinese beef and broccoli. This deeply coloured Rhone-style blend is midweight and quite savoury with soft ripe fruit supported by fine tannin. For Chinese shrimp with cashew nuts I love the Wolf Blass 2014 Yellow Label Chardonnay ($14.95). It is a modern, fresh, minerally chardonnay with just a touch of oak and a long, fruity finish.

Sunday brunch, with some seafood on offer, could be accompanied by Monkey Bay 2014 Pinot Grigio ($13.95). It comes from the warmer Hawke’s Bay region in New Zealand. It’s fresh, pure and fragrant with pear and melon fruit toned by minerality with hints of lemongrass. A good choice for a lively fresh red for brunch would be Chateau des Charmes 2013 Gamay Noir ($13.95 ) from Niagara. It’s light to mid-weight, juicy and fresh with good acidity and very good length. Great value.

The Wolftrap Syrah Mourvedre Viognier 2014 Wolf Blass Yellow Label Chardonnay 2014 Monkey Bay Pinot Grigio 2014 Château Des Charmes Gamay Noir 2013

After all that the holidays will be over. In case I did not select a wine for your occasion, remember that there are another 34 other wines on my Top 50; many less than $10. So check out more wine values by dipping into the Top 50 LCBO and VINTAGES Essentials wines. There will surely be something inexpensive that suits your taste. In the New Year, I will be back with a look at the updated list in our Top 20 Under $20 January report.

Best wishes to all for Happy Holidays with family and friends and I hope the New Year will bring you every desire.

 

Steve Thurlow

Top 20 Under $20 for December
Top 50 Value Wines

Editors Note: You can find our complete critic reviews by clicking on any of the wine names, bottle images or links highlighted. Paid subscribers to WineAlign see all critic reviews immediately. Non-paid users wait 60 days to see new reviews. Membership has its privileges; like first access to great value wines!


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Wynns Connawara Black Label Cabernet

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

Top 20 under $20 at the LCBO (December 2015)

Your Guide to the Best Values, Limited Time Offers & Bonus Air Miles selections at the LCBO
by Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

We are now well into the busiest season of the year for wine sales, so there are lots of wines with big discounts and even more with Bonus Air Miles on my Top 50 to tell you about. While already great values, these incentives make my picks even more attractive this month.

Plus I am delighted to have found many new great values at the LCBO. This month, I have found eight wines to join the Top 50. All this should make your holiday season drinking more affordable.

The Top 20 under $20 are best buys among the 1600 or so wines in LCBO Wines and the Vintages Essentials Collection. I select most from wines on Steve’s Top 50, a standing WineAlign list based on quality/price ratio. You can read below in detail how the Top 50 works, but it does fluctuate as new wines arrive and as discounts show up through Limited Time Offers (LTOs).

The current discount period runs until January 2nd 2016. So don’t hesitate. Thanks to WineAlign’s inventory tracking, I can assure you that there were stocks available, when we published, of every wine that I highlight.

Editors Note: You can find our complete critic reviews by clicking on any of the wine names, bottle images or links highlighted. Paid subscribers to WineAlign see all critic reviews immediately. Non-paid users wait 60 days to see new reviews. Membership has its privileges; like first access to great value wines!

Reds

Trapiche Astica Merlot Malbec 2014, Cuyo, Argentina ($7.95 + 5 BAMs or $12.25 for 1.5L) Top 50 December – An inexpensive wine that offers a lot. Could be good for holiday entertaining of big crowds at say a cheese and wine reception.

Citra Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2014, Abruzzo, Italy ($8.25 + 4 BAMs) Top 50 December – An honest good value red with a fragrant herbal raspberry nose. It is mid-weight and well balanced with just enough acidity and soft tannin to give it the structure for food. Great with pizza or grilled sausage.

Tatty Rd Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, South Australia ($8.50 was $14.80) Delisted. New to Top 50 December – Not your typical Aussie cabernet with a structure and acidity that might make one think it was European. Great sale price. Over 1100 bottles remain.

João Portugal Ramos Loios Red 2013, Alentejo, Portugal ($9.30) New to Top 50 December – This is a ripe, fleshy, clean, easy-drinking wine with soft tannins and fresh red berry fruit flavours. For a wine at this price there is more complexity than you might expect with herbal and spicy notes to the aromas and flavours. Try with roast lamb.

Trapiche Astica Merlot Malbec 2014Citra Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2014Tatty Rd Cabernet Sauvignon 2012João Portugal Ramos Loios Red 2013Fuzion Alta Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Fuzion Alta Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Mendoza, Argentina ($9.95 + 5 BAMs) Top 50 December – This is a soft flavourful yet well structured cabernet for a good price. It is mid-weight and juicy with the fruit well balanced by fine tannin and soft acidity. Very good length. Try with grilled meats.

Trapiche Malbec 2014, Mendoza, Argentina ($10.45 + 6 BAMs) – There is a degree of pureness and elegance here not often found in such inexpensive wines. Good depth of flavour and palate length make it a great buy for pasta, pizza or burgers.

Solaz Tempranillo Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Castilla León, Spain ($11.45) New to Top 50 December – 2014 is the best vintage yet of this juicy vibrant clean red with fresh raspberry and red cherry aromas plus spicy and jammy tones. Chill lightly and enjoy with grilled meats.

Carmen Reserva Carmenère 2013, Colchagua Valley, Chile ($11.45) New to Top 50 December – This aromatic red with fresh black cherry and plum fruit aromas is well balanced and juicy with good to very good length. Full bodied but feels lighter. Try with grilled meats.

Trapiche Malbec 2014Solaz Tempranillo Cabernet Sauvignon 2014Carmen Reserva Carmenère 2013Cusumano Syrah 2013Argento Reserva Malbec 2013

Cusumano Syrah 2013, Sicily, Italy ($11.95 + 5 BAMs) Top 50 December – This is stunning value for a cool climate syrah. It is fresh with aromas of red grapefruit, blueberry and prune with a smooth palate. It’s well balanced and lively with soft tannin and very good length. Try with rack of lamb.

Argento Reserva Malbec 2013, Mendoza, Argentina ($12.95 +6 BAMs) – A rich pure smooth malbec with all the essentials of a good malbec especially the black berry fruit aromas and mild oak treatment. Very good length. Try with grilled meats.

Montes Twins Malbec Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Colchagua Valley, Chile ($12.95 + 6 BAMs) – A classy very approachable red with ripe berry fruit aromas and flavours. Even though full bodied it feels lighter. Try with grilled meats.

Goats Do Roam Red 2014, Western Cape, South Africa ($12.95 + 5 BAMs) Top 50 December – The 2014 vintage continues a long line of consistently great value reds that are close stylistically to a French Côtes du Rhône. Try with burgers.

Montes Twins Malbec Cabernet Sauvignon 2013Goats Do Roam Red 2014Château Des Charmes Gamay Noir 2013Wolf Blass Yellow Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2013Wynns Coonawarra Estate Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Château Des Charmes Gamay Noir 2013, VQA Niagara On The Lake, Ontario ($13.95 + 5 BAMs) Top 50 December – There is a distinctly European feel to this wine with its somewhat rustic nose of berry fruit, beetroot and mushroom. Well focussed with very good length.

Wolf Blass Yellow Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Langhorne Creek, McLaren Vale, South Australia ($13.95 was $16.95) ) New to Top 50 December – The 2013 vintage of this very popular Aussie cab has more depth and is better structured than recent vintages. It is a balanced cabernet with the same ease of drinking as always, ripe fruit and tannin and a touch of oak on the finish.

Wynns Coonawarra Estate Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Coonawarra, South Australia ($24.95 was $27.95) Top 50 December – It was already stunning value; now at $3 off its time to pick up a case. Checkout the reviews at Wine Align there are over 20 of us that love this excellent very drinkable very classy cabernet. It’s Christmas; spend more than $20 and see what you can get.

Whites

Emu Oloroso Cream Sherry, Australia ($7.50) ) New to Top 50 December – Ample aromas of orange marmalade and floral apricot mingle with fine herbs on the nose. The palate is rich and sweet yet light due to soft lemony acidity. It finishes sweet but not cloying with very good length. Try with fruitcake or mincemeat pie, or simply enjoy on its own lightly chilled with a quarter of an orange.

14 Hands Hot To Trot White Blend 2011, Washington State, USA ($8.75 was $14.95) Delisted. New to Top 50 December – It is a nice vibrant fresh white blend with fine aromas and bright lively fruit. It is well balanced and mid-weight with a nice juicy finish. Try on its own as an aperitif or with sautéed seafood or creamy brie. Great sale price; around 2000 bottles remain.

Montalto Pinot Grigio 2014, Sicily, Italy ($9.45 + 4 BAMs) Top 50 December – This offers surprising – amazing – character for the price with lots of aroma and flavour and more complexity than one would expect from such an inexpensive wine. Give it a try; it is a big improvement over recent vintages.

Emu Oloroso Cream Sherry14 Hands Hot To Trot White Blend 2011Montalto Pinot Grigio 2014Errazuriz Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2014Mascota Vineyards OPI Chardonnay 2014

Errazuriz Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Aconcagua Valley, Chile ($10.95 was $12.05) New to Top 50 December – A lively fresh sauvignon with aromas and flavours of tropical gooseberry and passion fruit with lemon and freshly cut grass notes. Very smooth. Try with a creamy goat’s cheese salad.

Mascota Vineyards OPI Chardonnay 2014, Argentina ($12.95 + 6 BAMs) – A juicy fruity lightly oaked chardonnay with lovely creamy acidity, lots of flavour and very good length. Try with creamy pasta sauces.

How does a wine get selected for the Top 20 under $20.

Top 20 Under 20There are three ways that a wine gets into this monthly report of wines that are always in the stores either in the LCBO Wines section or the VINTAGES Essential Collection.

– On Sale (LTO’s or Limited Time Offers): Every four weeks the LCBO discounts around 200 wines. I have looked through the current batch and have highlighted some of my favourites that offer better value at present…. so stock up now.

– Bonus Air Miles (BAM’s): If you collect Air Miles then you will be getting Bonus Air Miles on another 150 or so wines…a few of these have a special appeal for a while.

– Steve’s Top 50: Wines that have moved onto my Top 50 Best Values this month. This is on an-on going WineAlign selection (Top 50,) that mathematically calculates value by comparing the price and rating of all the wines on the LCBO General List. You can access the report any time and read more about it now.

The Rest of Steve’s Top 50

In addition to the wines mentioned above, there are another 34 wines on the Top 50 list this month. So if you did not find all you need in this report, dip into the Top 50 LCBO and VINTAGES Essentials wines. There will surely be something inexpensive that suits your taste.

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. I review the list every month to include newly listed and recently tasted vintages of current listings as well as monitoring the value of those put on sale for a limited time.

Before value wine shopping remember to consult the Top 50 (Click on Wine =>Top 50 Value Wines to be taken directly to the list), since it is always changing. If you find that there is a new wine on the shelf or a new vintage that we have not reviewed, let us know. Moreover if you disagree with our reviews, tell us please. And if you think our reviews are accurate, send us some feedback since it’s good to hear that you agree with us.

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 20 Under $20
Top 50 Value Wines

Editors Note: You can find our complete critic reviews by clicking on any of the wine names, bottle images or links highlighted. Paid subscribers to WineAlign see all critic reviews immediately. Non-paid users wait 60 days to see new reviews. Membership has its privileges; like first access to great value wines!


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Canto Apalta WineAlign ad Dec 2015

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What’s New at LCBO in November 2015

Between our VINTAGES Buyers’ Guide and Steve Thurlow’s top picks from the LCBO Wines, we have the whole store covered each and every month.

Nouveau, Gifts and New Releases
by Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

I found a nice selection of wines to tell you about from my recent tastings of new wines at the LCBO, including one from the Nouveau 2015 release and one from the new gift items on the shelf for the upcoming holiday season. Many are quite exciting; give them a try and let’s hope that some of them stay around for awhile.

Last week, the Beaujolais Nouveau arrived on the shelves. I do not normally like Nouveau wines as the method used to make them so quickly after the harvest does not usually deliver great wine. Fortunately the category is gradually falling out of fashion. So, as expected, I was not impressed by this year’s batch, with one exception from Drouhin that I selected below.

Most of the items in the gift section at LCBO stores are beautifully packaged, but again, not all great wines. The exception here is the Penfolds offering – a superb cabernet. So if your giftee is impressed by packages there are many options, but I for one would be delighted to get this gift from Santa which I’ve featured below.

The wines on the shelves at the LCBO are constantly changing and I am tasting the new ones all the time. Many favourites are always there but the range and variety is gradually being updated. I suggest you read on, pick a few that appeal, then check on inventory at your local LCBO which should be set up as your Favourite Store in Find Wine at WineAlign.

You can find our complete critic reviews by clicking on any of the wine names, bottle images or links highlighted. Paid subscribers to WineAlign see all critic reviews immediately. Non-paid users wait 60 days to see new reviews. Membership has its privileges; like first access to reviews of great value wines!

REDS

The Entertainer Red Blend 2013, South Australia ($13.95 was $15.95) – This wine was created in honour of Wolf Blass, the famous Australian winemaker, whose passion in life has always been to entertain. It is certainly entertaining and at $2 off is also a great buy.

The Entertainer Red Blend 2013

Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais Villages Nouveau 2015, Burgundy, France ($15.95) – Nouveau Wine Release: It is youthfully fruity and exuberant but there is more to it than that. It is very pure with some structure and good length. Try with veal scallopini.

Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais Villages Nouveau 2015

Ara Pathway Single Estate Pinot Noir 2013, Marlborough, New Zealand ($16.95) – Great value for a juicy fruity pinot with a very harmonious nose. It’s dry, tightly knit and well balanced for food. Try with roast beef.

Ara Pathway Single Estate Pinot Noir 2013

Woodwork Pinot Noir 2013, Central Coast, California, USA ($16.95) – A clean ripe sweetish very typical Central Coast pinot. It’s soft and very drinkable. Chill a little and enjoy with a ham and cheese sandwich.

Woodwork Pinot Noir 2013

Mark West Pinot Noir 2013, California, USA ($16.95) – A well made juicy fruity sweetish pinot that’s very appealing with a good depth of flavour and good length. Chill a little and enjoy on its own or with delicate cheeses.

Mark West Pinot Noir 2013

Château Canteloup 2012, Médoc, Bordeaux, France ($19.65) – This has the presence and aromas of a top quality Bordeaux red. It has very traditional styling and though the structure is not that of the top wines, it is still very impressive for the money.

Château Canteloup 2012

Penfolds Bin 9 Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, South Australia ($23.95) – Holiday Gift Section: A superb elegant cabernet with a gorgeous nose and finely balanced palate. Makes a great gift for any lover of fine red wine who enjoys a steak.

Penfolds Bin 9 Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

WHITES

Chateau d’ Eternes Brut, Saumur, Loire Valley, France ($14.95) – This is a very classy sparkling wine at a great price with an enticing nose. It is dry and finely balanced with very good to excellent length. A great aperitif but also a wine for delicate seafood dishes

Chateau D' Eternes Saumur Brut

Ara Pathway Single Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Marlborough, New Zealand ($14.95) – A fresh mellow sauvignon that’s a little sweet but there is very good length and it makes for a good sipping wine.

Ara Pathway Single Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2014

Fiol Prosecco Extra Dry Veneto, Italy ($15.60) – A fresh lively non-vintage Italian bubby with clean aromas of pear and melon fruit with lemon and icing sugar tones.

Fiol Prosecco Extra Dry

Woodwork Chardonnay 2013, Central Coast, California, USA ($16.95) – This is a modern California chardonnay with modest well integrated oak adding to the lemon, melon and pear fruit aromas. Chill well and enjoy with chicken, veal or pork dishes.

Woodwork Chardonnay 2013

Villa Maria Lightly Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Marlborough, New Zealand ($17.95) – A new trend from the Kiwis. Take good quality sauvignon crammed with aromas and flavours, leave some sugar and lightly carbonate just before bottling to get a delightful refreshing bubbly.

Villa Maria Lightly Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc 2015

 

Cheers!

Steve Thurlow

Top 20 Under $20 for November
Top 50 Value Wines
World Wine Awards of Canada

Editors Note: You can find our complete critic reviews by clicking on any of the wine names, bottle images or links highlighted. Paid subscribers to WineAlign see all critic reviews immediately. Non-paid users wait 60 days to see new reviews. Membership has its privileges; like first access to great value wines!


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Bottega Prosecco

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Top 20 under $20 at the LCBO (November 2015)

Your Guide to the Best Values, Limited Time Offers & Bonus Air Miles selections at the LCBO
by Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

I write this from Hermanus; best known for pinot noir and for the whales that can be seen in the bay from my hotel window. I am in South Africa leading a group of wine lovers who are exploring Cape wines with me. I will be bringing another group here in 2017, so if that sounds interesting, you can get more info at SteveThurlow.com

South African wines are relatively inexpensive for the quality they offer. I am delighted to have found three among the many new great values at the LCBO this month.

The Top 20 under $20 are best buys among the 1600 or so wines in LCBO Wines and the VINTAGES Essentials Collection. I select most from wines on Steve’s Top 50, a standing WineAlign list based on quality/price ratio. From among wines that I have tasted since I last reported to you, I have found six new wines to join the Top 50. You can read below in detail how the Top 50 works, but it does fluctuate as new wines arrive and as discounts show up through Limited Time Offers (LTOs).

The discount period runs until November 29th, so don’t hesitate. Thanks to WineAlign’s inventory tracking, I can assure you that when we published there were stocks available of every wine that I highlight.

Editors Note: You can find our complete critic reviews by clicking on any of the wine names, bottle images or links highlighted. Paid subscribers to WineAlign see all critic reviews immediately. Non-paid users wait 60 days to see new reviews. Membership has its privileges; like first access to great value wines!

Reds

Tini Sangiovese di Romagna 2012, Emilia-Romagna, Italy ($7.55) New to Top 50 – This is excellent value for a very drinkable Italian red for pizza and meaty pasta dishes. It is soft and fruity with enough tannin and acidity for balance and good length. Chill a little and try with tomato pasta sauces.

Citra Sangiovese Terre di Chieti 2014 Abruzzo Italy ($8.25 + 4 BAMs) – This red is a little rustic with a savoury herbal nose. Try with mildly flavoured red meat dishes or a mild hard cheese like cheddar.

Tini Sangiovese di Romagna 2012 Citra Sangiovese Terre di Chieti 2014 Santa Carolina Merlot 2015 Domaine La Gardie Merlot 2013

Santa Carolina Merlot 2015 Chile ($8.95 + 4BAMs) Top 50 November – This is an exuberant fruity merlot. Enjoy on its own lightly chilled or with a wide range of meat and cheese dishes.

Domaine La Gardie Merlot 2013, Vin De Pays d’Oc, France ($8.95 was $10.95) New to Top 50 – This is opaque purple-red wine is a great buy for a pure clean structured red. Not a lot of complexity but well balanced for cheese or meat dishes.

Carmen Reserva Carmenère 2013 Colchagua Valley, Chile ($9.45 was $11.45) New to Top 50 – Great value at $2 off. This aromatic red with fresh black cherry and plum fruit aromas is well balanced and juicy with good to very good length. Full bodied but feels lighter. Try with grilled meats.

Montecillo Crianza 2010 Rioja Spain ($11.95 was $14.95) New to Top 50 – Stunning value at $3 off. This is an easy-to-drink Rioja crianza that’s midweight and lively with ripe berry fruit yet structured with firm tannin appearing on the finish. Very classy. Try with roast lamb.

Carmen Reserva Carmenère 2013 Montecillo Crianza 2010 Trapiche Broquel Malbec 2013 Emiliana Adobe Reserva Merlot 2013

Trapiche Broquel Malbec 2013 Mendoza Argentina ($12.95 was $14.95) Top 50 November – This is a very fruity fresh malbec is $2 off for next 4 weeks making it even better value. There is a lot of complexity on the palate also which is almost full bodied with excellent length. Try with sautéed duck breast.

Emiliana Adobe Reserva Merlot 2013 Rapel Valley Chile ($12.95 + 4BAMs) Top 50 November – This is a polished, organically grown merlot that’s clean and lively with pure fresh bright aromas and flavours. It is medium to full bodied with good focus and very good length.

Goats Do Roam Red 2014 Western Cape, South Africa ($12.95) Top 50 November – The 2014 vintage continues a long line of consistently great value reds that are close stylistically to a French Cotes du Rhone. Try with burgers.

Guardian Reserva Red 2013, Colchagua Valley, Chile ($13.90 + 7 BAMs) – This juicy fruity red blend is 50% cabernet sauvignon with carmenere and syrah. It is an easy drinking red but there is a good underlying structure to give balance.

Goats do Roam Red 2014 Guardian Reserva Red 2013 KWV Cathedral Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 The Wolftrap Syrah Mourvedre Viognier 2014

KWV Cathedral Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 Western Cape, South Africa ($13.95 was $15.95) New to Top 50 – This very consistent cabernet is well balanced with soft minerality to lighten the palate. The nose has a delightful impression of freshness. Midweight and well structured. Try with roast beef.

The Wolftrap Syrah Mourvedre Viognier 2014, Western Cape, South Africa ($13.95 + 5BAMs) Top 50 November – This deeply coloured blend of syrah, mourvedre and viognier is medium to full bodied with firm tannin which gives a nice edge to the finish. Very good to excellent length. Try with grilled red meats.

Whites

Citra Trebbiano d’Abruzzo 2014 Abruzzo Italy ($8.25 + 4 BAMs) – Most inexpensive trebbiano is rather boring but this is much fruitier and riper than normal. Chill well and try with grilled calamari.

Shingleback Haycutters Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2014, Adelaide Hills and Mclaren Vale, South Australia. ($9.45 was $13.80) Discontinued at LCBO. Top 50 November – This is a classic Bordeaux white blend with subtle oak that is very smooth with the lively fruit well supported by racy acidity. Very good length. Try with roasted poultry or sautéed veal. Around 850 bottles left.

Citra Trebbiano d'Abruzzo 2014 Shingleback Haycutters Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2014 Santa Carolina Chardonnay Reserva 2015 Montgras Amaral Sauvignon Blanc 2014

Santa Carolina Chardonnay Reserva 2015, Leyda Valley, Chile ($11.95) New to Top 50 – The chardonnay reserva used to come from the Santa Isabella Estate in the Casablanca Valley, but this vintage comes from an estate in Leyda in the San Antonio Valley. It is a fine lively fresh gently oaked white.

Montgras Amaral Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Leyda Valley, Chile ($13.85 + 7 BAMs) – The Leyda Valley in Chile is fast proving to be the hot spot for great sauvignon blanc and this is an excellent example of just how good it can be. Lots of  flavour and very good length. Try with sautéed seafood, roast poultry or vegetarian quiche.

Monkey Bay Pinot Grigio 2014 Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand ($13.95 + 5BAMs) Top 50 November – A concentrated fresh pure grigio with a rich and lively palate that is well balanced by zesty acidity. Very good length. Don’t overchill and enjoy with a wide variety of seafood and white meat dishes.

Lustau Solera Reserva Dry Amontillado Los Arcos Jerez Spain ($15.45) Top 50 November – The best value white on the Top 50, this lovely wine that has lots of complexity. It is a classic amontillado with its nutty almond, lemon, bread, and salty ham aromas. It is very smooth with the dry, rich intensely flavoured palate lingering for ever. Excellent length. Try with rich white meat dishes. Find it in the fortified wine section.

Monkey Bay Pinot Grigio 2014 Lustau Solera Reserva Dry Amontillado Los Arcos Riverlore Sauvignon Blanc 2014 Stoneleigh Chardonnay 2014

Riverlore Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Marlborough, New Zealand ($15.90 + 8 BAMs) – A crisp very juicy kiwi sauvignon that is midweight and well balanced with a creamy rich palate and crisp dry herbal lemon finish. Try with sautéed seafood or goats cheese.

Stoneleigh Chardonnay 2014, Marlborough, New Zealand ($16.95 + 10 BAMs) – This is a bold complex rich chardonnay with the ample oak well integrated with the fruit. The palate is super smooth with the rich fruit buoyed up by lemony acidity and the oak well integrated such that it is only just noticeable on the finish. Well balanced with very good length.

How does a wine get selected for the Top 20 under $20.

Top 20 Under 20There are three ways that a wine gets into this monthly report of wines that are always in the stores either in the LCBO Wines section or the VINTAGES Essentials Collection.

– On Sale (LTO’s or Limited Time Offers): Every four weeks the LCBO discounts around 200 wines. I have looked through the current batch and have highlighted some of my favourites that offer better value at present…. so stock up now.

– Bonus Air Miles (BAM’s): If you collect Air Miles then you will be getting Bonus Air Miles on another 150 or so wines…a few of these have a special appeal for a while.

– Steve’s Top 50: Wines that have moved onto my Top 50 Best Values this month. This is on an-on going WineAlign selection (Top 50,) that mathematically calculates value by comparing the price and rating of all the wines on the LCBO General List. You can access the report any time and read more about it now.

The Rest of Steve’s Top 50

In addition to the wines mentioned above, there are another 36 wines on the Top 50 list this month. So if you did not find all you need in this report, dip into the Top 50 LCBO and VINTAGES Essentials wines. There will surely be something inexpensive that suits your taste.

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. I review the list every month to include newly listed and recently tasted vintages of current listings as well as monitoring the value of those put on sale for a limited time.

Before value wine shopping remember to consult the Top 50 (Click on Wine =>Top 50 Value Wines to be taken directly to the list), since it is always changing. If you find that there is a new wine on the shelf or a new vintage that we have not reviewed, let us know. Moreover if you disagree with our reviews, tell us please us. And if you think our reviews are accurate, send us some feedback since it’s good to hear that you agree with us.

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 20 Under $20
Top 50 Value Wines

Editors Note: You can find our complete critic reviews by clicking on any of the wine names, bottle images or links highlighted. Paid subscribers to WineAlign see all critic reviews immediately. Non-paid users wait 60 days to see new reviews. Membership has its privileges; like first access to great value wines!


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Yealands Sauvignon Blanc 2015

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What’s New at LCBO in October

Between our VINTAGES Buyers’ Guide and Steve Thurlow’s top picks from the LCBO Wines, we have the whole store covered each and every month.

Gold Medal Winning New Values
by Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

WineAlign has recently announced the results of the 10th Edition of the World Wine Awards of Canada. The name has changed over the years but the intent has always been the same – to assemble Canada’s leading palates and taste through hundreds of wines that sell somewhere in Canada for less than $50. In fact, the vast majority of this year’s entries were under $25. (You can read all about The World’s in David Lawrason’s recent article: It’s all about Value at the World Wine Awards of Canada)

I judged along with my colleagues from WineAlign when we spent a week together in late August tasting around a 1000 wines, so when I was compiling my list of What’s New at the LCBO this month, I was happy to see a few new wines here which won a Gold Value medal at the Awards.

The wines on the shelves at the LCBO are constantly changing and I am tasting the new ones all the time. Many wineries send us new wines in advance for us to review before they hit the shelves and we also taste the latest vintages of current listings. Many favourites are always there but the range and variety is gradually being updated.

I suggest you read on, pick a few that appeal, then sign in to WineAlign to check on inventory at your local LCBO which should be set up as your Favourite Store in Find Wine at WineAlign.

You can find our complete critic reviews by clicking on any of the wine names, bottle images or links highlighted. Paid subscribers to WineAlign see all critic reviews immediately. Non-paid users wait 60 days to see new reviews. Membership has its privileges; like first access to reviews of great value wines!

REDS

Porta 6 2012, V R Lisboa, Portugal ($12.35) – This is a bright lively fresh red blend of several indigenous Portuguese red grapes.  Pleasant and easy drinking with decent length. Try with burgers or pizza.

Porta 6 2012

Santa Julia Reserva Malbec 2014, Mendoza ($12.95) – This is a rich malbec with a creamy texture that is well balanced and quite juicy with good length and  a long lingering very dry finish. Try with a rack of juicy ribs.

Santa Julia Reserva Malbec 2014WWAC15_Gold_White

Kellermeister The Funk Wagon G S M 2011 South Australia ($16.20) – A lovely GSM blend with a complex nose and a lemony fruity finish that could easily have come from the Rhone Valley.

Kellermeister The Funk Wagon G S M 2011WWAC15_Gold_White

Ara Pathway Single Estate Pinot Noir 2013, Marlborough, New Zealand ($16.95 + 10BAMs) – Great value for a juicy fruity pinot with a very harmonious nose. Its dry, tightly knit and well balanced for food. Try with roast beef.

Ara Pathway Single Estate Pinot Noir 2013

Luis Felipe Edwards Family Selection Gran Reserva Carmenere 2014 Colchagua Valley, Chile ($16.95) – There is a lot of complexity in this juicy structured cabernet with an elegant palate that shows a good depth of flavour with very good to excellent length.

Luis Felipe Edwards Family Selection Gran Reserva Carmenere 2014WWAC15_Gold_White

Château Canteloup 2012, Médoc, Bordeaux, France ($19.65) – This has the presence and aromas of a top quality Bordeaux red. It has very traditional styling and though the structure is not that of the best, it is still very impressive for the money.

Château Canteloup 2012

WHITES

Two Oceans Moscato 2015 Western Cape, South Africa ($9.95) – A fairly simple sweet white low in alcohol with a very aromatic nose. Chill well and enjoy on its own or with baked apple desserts.

Two Oceans Moscato 2015

Ara Pathway Single Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Marlborough, New Zealand ($14.95) – A fresh mellow sauvignon that’s a little sweet but there is very good length and it makes for a good sipping wine.

Ara Pathway Single Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2014

Veuve Ambal Grande Cuvée Brut Crémant De Bourgogne, Burgundy, France ($17.95) – An elegant fresh clean bubbly for a great price. Smooth and lively with very good length. Try with pastry nibbles or creamy sauces.

Veuve Ambal Grande Cuvée Brut Crémant De BourgogneWWAC15_Gold_White

Basa Blanco 2014 Rueda, Spain ($17.95) –  An elegant Spanish white from verdejo with delicate aromas and a juicy fruity palate that is well balanced with the fruit persisting well on the long finish. Very good length. Try with sautéed seafood.

Basa Blanco 2014WWAC15_Bronze_White

Cheers!

Steve Thurlow

Top 20 Under $20
Top 50 Value Wines
World Wine Awards of Canada

Editors Note: You can find our complete critic reviews by clicking on any of the wine names, bottle images or links highlighted. Paid subscribers to WineAlign see all critic reviews immediately. Non-paid users wait 60 days to see new reviews. Membership has its privileges; like first access to great value wines!


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Concha Y Toro Terrunyo Andes Pirque Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

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Coldstream Hills Pinot Noir 2008