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Top 20 under $20 at the LCBO (April)

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

Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

The Top 20 under $20 are best buys among the 1600 or so wines in LCBO Wines and the VINTAGES Essentials Collection. This month, most of the wines selected are wines that are also on Steve’s Top 50, a standing WineAlign list based on quality/price ratio. (You can read in detail how the Top 50 works below).

There are many wines on promotion in April, such that eight on today’s Top 20 list have Bonus Air Miles (BAMs) that apply or are on sale (Limited Time Offer), making these wines even more attractive for the next four weeks or so. You may notice that two wines come from the VINTAGES section of the store. I normally don’t include wines from here, except for VINTAGES Essentials, since they rarely offer as much value as those in the LCBO’s general list section and they tend to sell through very quickly. However, I made an exception here since there are large stocks and they both offer great value. I was in Chile and Argentina for the last three weeks leading a wine tour and had the chance to re-taste both of them.

April’s promotional period runs until the 26th, so don’t miss your chance to make these wines even more affordable. Thanks to WineAlign’s inventory tracking, I was able to ensure 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

Apelia Agiorgitiko 2012 (1000ml), Greece ($10.15 + 4 BAMs). New to Top 50: Agiorgitiko is one of Greece’s best red grapes. This is a clean fresh red wine that is fruity, midweight and well balanced making it a good everyday red.

Spadafora Terrano Rosso 2012, Calabria, Italy ($8.50 + 3 BAMs). Top 50 April: A recent listing that shows plummy fresh aromas with no oak and a midweight juicy palate. Try with burgers.

Portugal Ramos Loios Red 2013, Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal ($9.30). New to Top 50: This is a ripe, fleshy, clean, easy-drinking wine with soft tannins and fresh red berry fruit flavours with some complexity and good depth of flavour.

Apelia Agiorgitiko 2012 Spadafora Terrano Rosso 2012 J. Portugal Ramos Loios Red 2013 Hardys Stamp Of Australia Shiraz Cabernet 2013

Hardys Stamp Of Australia Shiraz Cabernet 2013, South Eastern Australia ($9.85 + 5 BAMs). A  fresh pure syrah/cabernet blend, very linear with great focus. Good depth of flavour with lots of fruit and very good length.

Fuzion Alta Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 Mendoza, Argentina ($9.95 + 5 BAMs). Top 50 April: A soft flavourful and well structured cabernet for a good price.

Pessoa Da Vinha Reserva 2010 Douro Valley, Portugal ($11.20 was $12.20). Top 50 April: An opaque full-bodied purple wine with a fragrant pure nose of blackberry fruit with well integrated oak spice plus vanilla and herbal tones. Decant for an hour and enjoy with a steak.

Carmen Reserva Carmenère 2013, Colchagua Valley, Chile ($11.45). New to Top 50: An aromatic carmenère with just the right amount of ripeness. Very good length.

Carmen Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2013, Colchagua Valley, Chile ($11.45). New to Top 50: A well priced fragrant caberent that’s full-bodied and deeply flavoured. Try with lamb cutlets.

Fuzion Alta Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 Pessoa Da Vinha Reserva Douro 2010 Carmen Reserva Carmenère 2013 Carmen Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2013 Trapiche Broquel Malbec 2012

Trapiche Broquel Malbec 2012, Mendoza, Argentina ($12.95 was $14.95). Top 50 April: A fruity malbec with herbal and floral tones and, though full-bodied, seems lighter due to vibrant lemony acidity. It finishes firm and dry with very good length.

Emiliana Adobe Reserva Merlot 2013, Rapel Valley, Chile ($13.05 + 8 BAMs). New to Top 50 EARTH DAY SPECIAL DURING APRIL: A lot of depth and complexity for such an inexpensive wine. Its clean lively with pure aromas and flavours and very good  length.

Santa Carolina Specialties Dry Farming Carignan 2010, Cauquenes Valley, Chile ($17.95). VINTAGES EXCEPTIONAL VALUE: A beautiful full-bodied vibrant red that’s elegant with a wild character. Try with lamb cutlets.

Emiliana Adobe Reserva Merlot 2013 Santa Carolina Specialties Dry Farming Carignan 2010 Firestone Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 Wynns Coonawarra Estate Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Firestone Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Santa Ynez Valley, California, USA ($19.90). New to Top 50: An elegant refined cabernet that’s ripe without being overripe with just enough oak, finely balanced with excellent length.

Wynns Coonawarra Estate Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Coonawarra, South Australia ($27.95). New to Top 50 from VINTAGES Essentials: First a disclaimer. This is more than $20. But it is so awesome and such great value that it got into my Top 50 list this month and I wanted to tell you all about it. So if you want to splurge a little and enjoy, this is a superb, very drinkable, very classy cabernet with layers of flavour and a refined very appealing pureness. Finely balanced with excellent length.

Whites

Apelia Moschofilero 2013 (1000ml), Greece ($9.95 + 4 BAMs). New to Top 50: Moschofilero is one of Greece’s best indigenous grapes. This is a fresh dry white that pinot grigio adherents should try.

K W V Contemporary Collection Chenin Blanc 2014, Western Cape, South Africa ($9.45 + 4 BAMs). Top 50 April: Clean well made white at a great price. Good depth of flavour and palate length. Try with seafood or mildly flavoured chicken dishes.

Apelia Moschofilero 2013 K W V Contemporary Collection Chenin Blanc 2014 Frisky Beaver White 2013 The Wolftrap White 2013

Frisky Beaver White 2013, VQA Ontario ($13.95). New to Top 50: An aromatic off-dry white which is smooth and juicy. A nice aperitif or try with seafood. Don’t be misled by the wacky packaging; there is some quite serious wine inside.

The Wolftrap White 2013, Western Cape, South Africa ($13.95). New to Top 50: A very aromatic intensely flavoured pure white, that is rich and very creamy. Try with pork chops.

Monkey Bay Pinot Grigio 2014, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand ($13.95). New to Top 50: A good basic pinot grigio with a fragrant, floral, peachy nose with some minerality. It is clean, fresh with a crisp almost dry finish.

Monkey Bay Pinot Grigio 2014 Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava Santa Carolina Gran Reserva Chardonnay 2012

Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava, Spain ($14.45). New to Top 50: Best value bubbly under $15 at LCBO. Fresh nose with pure apple pear flavour, a soft creamy texture and very good length.

Santa Carolina Gran Reserva Chardonnay 2012, Casablanca Valley, Chile ($15.95). VINTAGES EXCEPTIONAL VALUE: Fantastic value for a serious very bold chardonnay for rich white meat dishes.

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 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 (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

I am pleased to tell you that we have now worked through the massive recent delist at the LCBO, such that none of the wines currently on the Top 50 list rely on a delist price to be there. In addition to the wines mentioned above, there are another 33 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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Montresor Soave Classico 2013

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Top 20 under $20 at the LCBO (March)

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

Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

You may recall that my February report noted a large number of discontinued wines. Well, house cleaning has continued at the LCBO with many more wines being discontinued and selling at big discounts to clear inventory. Among these again were sadly some of my favourites. For whatever reason they did not sell in sufficient quantities to keep their place on the shelf, so they will soon make an exit. Some of these discontinued wines have already sold out, but I have listed below a few that will be around for the next couple of weeks or so. There are ten new wines on the Top 50 for you to try.

In March there are many wines on promotion such that five wines, already on the list, have Bonus Air Miles (BAMs) that apply or are on sale (LTO), making these wines even more attractive for the next four weeks or so; all this will surely make your March 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. This month I selected 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 month’s discount period runs until March 28th. So don’t hesitate. Thanks to WineAlign’s inventory tracking, I was able to ensure 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

Volcanes Summit Reserva 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot, Chile ($6.45 was $10.95) Top 50 March – Discontinued at LCBO: There is an Italian feel to this Chilean red blend with notable acidity and minerality giving it freshness. Try with pepperoni pizza. Around 4500 bottles remain.

Montes Limited Selection 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon/Carmenère, Colchagua Valley, Chile ($6.95 was $13.95) New to Top 50 – Discontinued at LCBO: A full-bodied fragrant red that would be good with a juicy steak. About 1000 bottles remain.

Callia Alta 2013 Malbec, San Juan, Argentina ($6.95 was $11.85) New to Top 50 – Discontinued at LCBO: The San Juan wine region is about 2 hours drive north of Mendoza, which is source for most Argentine reds. A midweight vibrant slightly spicy malbec. About 1200 bottles remain.

Volcanes Summit Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2013 Montes Limited Selection Cabernet Sauvignon-Carmenère 2012 Callia Alta Malbec 2013 Obikwa Cabernet Sauvignon Citra Sangiovese Terre Di Chieti 2013

Obikwa 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, South Africa ($6.95 was $9.45) New to Top 50 – Discontinued at LCBO: A well-balanced fruity cabernet that’s midweight. Try with grilled meats or hard mature cheese. About 2500 bottles remain.

Citra 2013 Sangiovese Terre Di Chieti, Abruzzo, Italy ($7.75 + 4BAMs): A midweight dry vibrant red great with tomato sauces.

Casa Lapostolle 2012 Gran Seleccion Carmenere, Rapel Valley, Chile ($7.95 was $15.20) New to Top 50 – Discontinued at LCBO: An elegant structured Chilean red that’s great with a steak. About 900 bottles remain.

Spadafora 2012 Terrano Rosso, Calabria, Italy $8.40 New to Top 50: A new listing that shows plummy fresh aromas with no oak and a midweight juicy palate. Try with burgers.

Fuzion Alta 2013 Reserva Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina $8.95 was $9.95 New to Top 50- March LTO: A soft light to midweight red that should be great with pizza or meaty pasta sauces.

Casa Lapostolle Gran Seleccion Carmenere 2012 Spadafora Terrano Rosso 2012 Fuzion Alta Reserva Malbec 2013 Tic Tok Pocketwatch Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 Mas De Montagnes 2010 Farnese Casale Vecchio Montepulciano D'abruzzo 2013

Tic Tok Pocketwatch 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Central Ranges, New South Wales, Australia ($8.95 was $13.00) New to Top 50 – Discontinued at LCBO: A modern quite lean cabernet from 2 cooler areas of New South Wales. Try with lamb cutlets. About 6000 bottles remain.

Mas De Montagnes 2010 Cotes Du Roussillon Villages, France ($10.90 was $13.15) New to Top 50 – Discontinued at LCBO: This only lasted a year on the LCBO shelves. Pity since it is a soft midweight red with lots of flavour and a lot of rustic charm. About 1400 bottles remain.

Farnese Casale Vecchio 2013 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Abruzzo, Italy ($11.00 + 4BAMs) Top 50 March: A classy Italian fullbodied red whose price and style should appeal to Ripasso lovers.

Cusumano 2013 Syrah, Sicily, Italy ($11.95 + 4BAMs): Top 50 March: A midweight cool climate syrah that’s well-balanced flavourful and very fruity.

Cusumano 2013 Nero d’Avola, Sicily, Italy ($11.95 + 4BAMs) A delicious Sicilian red with soft zesty lemony tone to the ripe blackberry and raspberry fruit aromas and flavours.

Cusumano Syrah 2013 Cusumano Nero D'avola 2013 K W V Roodeberg 2012 Guardian Reserva Red 2012 Errazuriz Max Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

K W V 2012 Roodeberg, Western Cape, South Africa ($12.45 + 7 BAMs): Medium bodied Cape classic that’s been great value for years. Try with rack of lamb.

Guardian 2012 Reserva Red, Colchagua Valley, Chile ($13.65) Top 50 March: A complex red cabernet blend finely balanced and fruity long lingering finish with some fine tannin. Try with a steak.

Errazuriz Max Reserva 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Aconcagua Valley, Chile ($18.95 + 12 BAMs): One of the best vintages ever of  this classic very authentic Chilean cabernet. Try with a thick beef stew.

Whites

Two Oceans 2012 Chardonnay, Western Cape, South Africa ($6.95 was $10.25) Top 50 March – Discontinued at LCBO: Lots of flavour, structure and good length for such an inexpensive wine. About 2200 bottles remain.

Grant Burge 2012 Summers Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills/Eden Valley, South Australia ($10.95 was $18.20) New to Top 50 – Discontinued at LCBO: A delicious midweight lightly oaked chardonnay from cool high altitude vineyards. About 1000 bottles remain.

Two Oceans Chardonnay 2012 Grant Burge Summers Chardonnay 2012 Fleur Du Cap Chardonnay 2013 Mascota Vineyards O P I Chardonnay 2013

Fleur Du Cap 2013 Chardonnay, Western Cape, South Africa ($12.80 + 8 BAMs) A rich smooth intense old style chardonnay with well-integrated oak spice. Try with fish and chips.

Mascota Vineyards O P I 2013 Chardonnay, Argentina ($12.95 + 4BAMs) Top 50 March: A rich flavourful chardonnay with just a touch of oak and a firm dry finish.

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 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 (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

There are another 35 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.

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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Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

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

Top 20 under $20 at the LCBO (February)

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

Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

The LCBO started 2015 with a big house cleaning with dozens of wines being discontinued and selling at big discounts to clear inventory during January. Among these were sadly some of my favourites. I am especially saddened to see some great value Portuguese and Spanish reds go. For whatever reason they did not sell in sufficient quantities to keep their place on the shelf, so it’s hasta la vista baby. Many of these discontinued wines have already sold out, but I have listed below a few that will be around for the next couple of weeks or so. There are seven new wines on the Top 50 for you to try.

The LCBO has kicked off February with a slew of wines on promotion such that thirteen wines, already on the list, have Bonus Air Miles (BAMs) that apply or are on sale (LTO), making these wines even more attractive for the next four weeks or so; all this will surely make your February 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. This month all of the wines I selected are from 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!

Reds

Sella & Mosca Rosato 2013, Alghero, Sardinia, Italy $7.95 was $9.80 – This summer rose has gone on sale to clear inventory. It is a deep salmon pink almost light red, very fruity yet dry with very good length. Try with baked ham. Over 1200 bottles remain.

Sileni Cellar Selection Merlot 2013 Hawkes Bay New Zealand $8.45 was $15.95 – New to Top50 – Discontinued at LCBO – Around 900 bottles of this ripe classy merlot remain. Great with meaty past sauces.

Montalto Nero d’Avola Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Sicily, Italy $8.95 + 5BAMs – A finely balanced red for red meat dishes or pizza from sunny Sicily.

Fuzion Alta Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Mendoza, Argentina $8.95 was $9.95 – A soft flavourful cabernet from high altitude vineyards. It’s juicy and fruity with some savoury tones..

Sella & Mosca Rosato 2013 Sileni Cellar Selection Merlot 2013 Montalto Nero D'avola Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 Fuzion Alta Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 Volcanes Summit Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2013

Volcanes Summit Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2013 Chile $9.10 was $10.95 – New to Top50 – Discontinued at LCBO -There is an Italian feel to this Chilean red blend with notable acidity and minerality giving it freshness. Try with pepperoni pizza. Around 1000 bottles remain.

Trapiche Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Mendoza $9.95 + 4BAMs – A pure fragrant ripe cabernet that’s finely balanced with very good length. Try with mature cheddar or a juicy hamburger.

Quinta Do Encontro Q do E 2011, Bairrada, Portugal $9.95 was $14.25 – New to Top50 – Discontinued at LCBO – An elegant structured red. Very classy try with roast beef. Around 600 bottles remain.

Trapiche Reserve Syrah 2013, Mendoza, Argentina $10.95 was $11.95 – Beautiful lifted aromas of blueberry and blackberry fruit with herbal and well integrated oak spice notes that lead to a velvety smooth palate. Complex and elegant. Try with grilled meats or mature cheddar.

Trapiche Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 Quinta Do Encontro Q Do E 2011 Trapiche Reserve Syrah 2013 Trapiche Malbec Reserve 2013

Trapiche Malbec Reserve 2013, Mendoza, Argentina $10.95 was $11.95 – A full bodied malbec with a fragrant nose that’s rounded, fairly dense and juicy with fine tannin. Try with a steak.

Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir 2013, Central Valley, Chile $11.00 + 5BAMs – An excellent value for pinot noir. There is little to compete for around $11 for this quality and varietal authenticity. So pick a few up and collect some BAMs.

Emiliana Adobe Reserva Merlot 2013, Rapel Valley, Chile $11.05 was $13.05 – New to Top50 – This is a polished, organically grown merlot with a soft velvety palate and very good length.

Trapiche Broquel Malbec 2012, Mendoza, Argentina $12.95 was $14.95 – Was great value at $14.95 now outstanding at $2 off. Time to stock up again on this delicious elegant malbec.

Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir 2013 Emiliana Adobe Reserva Merlot Trapiche Broquel Malbec 2012 The Wolftrap Syrah Mourvedre Viognier 2013 Mountain Fish Agiorgitiko 2012

The Wolftrap Syrah Mourvedre Viognier 2013, Western Cape $12.95 was $13.95 – A delicious fruity red with savoury tones and modest oak that avoids the confected jammy style so often seen in reds from the Cape. Try with grilled meats.

Mountain Fish Red 2012 Peloponnese , Greece $13.10 – New to Top50 – A juicy, zesty midweight red with savoury tones made from agioritiko, one of Greece’s best indigenous red grapes grown widely in the Peloponnese region. Try with juicy lamb cutlets.

Whites

Dunavar Muscat Ottonel 2012, Hungary $6.45 was $9.05 – Discontinued at LCBO – Over a 1000 bottles remain of this aromatic juicy very inexpensive white. Try with mildly spicy Asian cuisine such at Pad Thai.

Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier 2014, Colchagua Valley, Chile $8.95 was $9.95 – Was already the best value white in Ontario; now a $1 off. It’s time to stock up on this fragrant juicy white.

Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Grigio 2014, Central Valley, Chile $9.90 + 5BAMs – This delicious grigio has deservedly been so popular since it launched in the summer that the LCBO kept running out of it last year. There are large stocks at present so pick up a few and enjoy with seafood and cheese dishes.

Dunavar Muscat Ottonel 2012Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier 2014 Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Grigio 2014Caliterra Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2013 Goats Do Roam White 2013 Errazuriz Max Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Caliterra Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2013, Central Valley, Chile $9.95 + 3BAMs – A juicy very ripe sauvignon blanc with lots of balancing acidity.

Goats Do Roam White 2013, Western Cape, South Africa $10.95 was $11.95 – New to Top50 – An aromatic rich dry white, great as an aperitif or with Asian cuisine.

Errazuriz Max Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Aconcagua Valley, Chile $15.95 plus 10BAMs – Great complexity and balance, this is unmistakably sauvignon with an herbal tone to the tropical citrus fruit. Try with rich creamy cheese dishes to balance the wine’s acidity.

How does a wine get selected for the 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 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.

Steve Top50The Rest of Steve’s Top 50

There are another 37 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.

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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Tilia Malbec 2013

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

Top 20 under $20 at the LCBO (January)

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

Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

I hope you had a good holiday. Please accept my best wishes for 2015. January is the month when value wine shopping is most important, since many of you will be cutting back on the grand crus and looking for great wines at modest prices for the next little while. So I am happy to report that there are six new wines on the Top 50 for you to try.

Additionally six wines, already on the list, have Bonus Air Miles (BAMs) that apply or are on sale (LTO), making these wines even more attractive for the next four weeks or so; all this will surely make your January 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 discount period runs until February 1st. 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

Esporao Alandra Red 2013, Alentejo, Portugal $7.70
TOP50JANUARY – A ripe fruity vibrant red with a fragrant nose of blackberry and blackcurrant fruit with some floral and spicy notes. Try with salty fatty meats like salami or soft creamy cheese like brie.

Trapiche Astica Merlot Malbec 2014, Cuyo, Argentina $7.95
NEW TO TOP50 – A well-balanced fruity red with more complexity than one might expect for such an inexpensive wine.

Casal Thaulero Sangiovese 2012, Terre Di Chieti, Abruzzo, Italy $7.75 plus 3BAMs
TOP50JANUARY – Super value red that’s midweight pure and vibrant. Try with meaty pizza.

Esporao Alandra Red 2013 Trapiche Astica Merlot Malbec 2014Casal Thaulero Sangiovese 2012Santa Carolina Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2011Fonseca Periquita 2012

Santa Carolina Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2011 Chile $8.45 plus 4BAMs
TOP50JANUARY – An appealing easy drinking Bordeaux style blend that’s balanced for food. Try with roast beef.

Fonseca Periquita 2012, Peninsula De Setubal, Portugal $8.95 plus 4BAMs
TOP50JANUARY – A great value staple Portuguese red that’s a little spicy with the fruit persisting well on the finish. Try with grilled lamb cutlets.

BV Coastal Estates Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, California, USA $8.95 was $10.95
NEW TO TOP50 – Great value with a soft floral peppery nose. Lightly chill this well-balanced fruity cabernet and enjoy with a rack of lamb.

Trapiche Malbec 2014, Mendoza, Argentina $9.95 plus 4BAMs
A finely balanced pure fruity red. Try with meaty pasta sauces, grilled sausages or pizza

Ogier Cotes Du Ventoux Red 2013 $11.95 plus 6BAMs
A peppery red with bright cherry fruit that’s midweight with soft tannin and zesty fresh dry finish. Try with cheesy pizza.

BV Coastal Estates Cabernet Sauvignon 2011Trapiche Malbec 2014Ogier Cotes Du Ventoux Red 2013Trapiche Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2013clone_wine_49584_web

Trapiche Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Mendoza, Argentina $11.95
NEW TO TOP50 – An opaque elegant and ripe (but not overripe) cabernet with a good acid and tannin structure. Try with a steak.

Trapiche Reserve Syrah 2013, Mendoza, Argentina $11.95
NEW TO TOP50 – Beautiful lifted aromas of blueberry and blackberry fruit with herbal and well-integrated oak spice lead to a velvety smooth palate. Complex and elegant. Try with grilled meats or mature cheddar.

Cusumano Nero d’Avola 2013, Sicily, Italy $11.95 plus 4BAMs
A delicious Sicilian red with soft zesty lemony tone to the ripe blackberry and raspberry fruit aromas and flavours.

Montes Twins Malbec Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Colchagua Valley, Chile $12.90 plus 5BAMs
A soft juicy ripe red blend of 50% malbec with 50% cabernet sauvignon that’s fullbodied but feels lighter due to vibrant acidity. Try with grilled meats.

Cusumano Nero D'avola 2013Montes Twins Malbec Cabernet Sauvignon 2012Errazuriz Estate Pinot Noir 2013Taylor Fladgate First Estate Reserve Port

Errazuriz Estate Pinot Noir 2013, Aconcagua Valley, Chile $13.95 plus 8BAMs
NEW TO TOP50 – This is a delicious Chilean pinot with a good depth of colour, fragrant nose and a well-balanced complex palate.  Try with seared tuna.

Taylor Fladgate First Estate Reserve Port, Douro Valley, Portugal $16.50 plus 5BAMs
A very good reserve port made from fruit from several recent vintages. It is not too sweet and is thick with fruit. Try with dark chocolate desserts, nuts or blue cheese.

Whites

K W V Contemporary Collection Chenin Blanc 2014, Western Cape, South Africa $7.95 was $9.45
TOP50JANUARY – Pinot grigio lovers should try this wine with a good depth of flavour and a fresh fruity nose at an amazingly low price.

Trapiche Astica Sauvignon Semillon 2014, Cuyo, Argentina $7.95
NEW TO TOP50 – The 2014 vintage arrived recently and it’s very good as usual with a pure fresh nose and soft creamy palate. Try with cheesy pasta sauces or seafood pizza.

Periquita White 2013 Portugal $8.95 plus 4BAMs
TOP50JANUARY – This blend of three white grapes is a delicious delicate wine for seafood and mildly flavoured chicken dishes.

K W V Contemporary Collection Chenin Blanc 2014Trapiche Astica Sauvignon Semillon 2014Periquita White 2013Santa Carolina Chardonnay Reserva 2013Montgras Amaral Sauvignon Blanc 2014Lustau Solera Reserva Dry Amontillado Los Arcos

Santa Carolina Chardonnay Reserva 2013, Casablanca Valley, Chile $9.95 was $11.95
TOP50JANUARY – Lemony zesty fresh acidity balances the bold flavours with the oak supported by the intensity of the fruit. Quite delicious.

Montgras Amaral Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Leyda Valley, Chile $13.85 plus 8BAMs
The Leyda Valley is fast proving to be the hot spot for great sauvignon blanc. Lovely lifted aromas of passion fruit and guava with ginger, lavender, and lemon notes lead to a juicy creamy palate. Try with sauteed seafood.

Lustau Amontillado Solera Reserva Los Arcos, Jerez, Spain $14.85
A complex dry white with beautiful nutty, citrus, toasty aromas. Perfectly balanced, would be excellent with roast turkey and a rich brown gravy.

How does a wine get selected for the 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 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.

Steve Top50The Rest of Steve’s Top 50

There are another 37 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.

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 for January
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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 La Posta Armando Bonarda 2013

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Top 20 under $20 at the LCBO (December)

Your Guide to the Best Values, Limited Time Offers and Bonus Air Miles selections at the LCBO this month

by Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

I was in Italy last week and found a wine from Sardinia to join the Top 50. In total there are 11 new wines on the Top 50 for you to try. Sadly four of those have joined the list because they have been discontinued, so their price has dropped by around 25% to clear inventory. There are still good stocks of all four, so take advantage while you can.

Additionally seven wines, already on the list, have Bonus Air Miles (BAMs) that apply, making these wines even more attractive for the next five weeks or so; all this must make your December 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 discount period runs until January 3rd. 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

Apelia Agiorgitiko 2012 (1000ml), Greece $9.95 plus 4 BAMs
Agiorgitiko is one of Greece’s best red grapes. This is a is fruity, midweight, well balanced good everyday wine.

Esporao Alandra Red 2013, Alentejo, Portugal $7.60
NEW TO TOP 50 – A ripe fruity vibrant red with a fragrant nose of blackberry and blackcurrant fruit with some floral and spicy notes. Try with salty fatty meats like salami or soft creamy cheese like brie.

Casa Planeta Syrah 2012, Sicily, Italy now $7.95 was $9.95
DISCONTINUED AT LCBO – A lightweight, very drinkable versatile food wine for pizza and meaty pasta sauces. 500 bottles remain.

Apelia Agiorgitiko 2012Esporao Alandra Red 2013Casa Planeta Syrah Igt 2012K W V Contemporary Collection Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2013Sella & Mosca Rosato 2013J. Portugal Ramos Loios Red 2013
KWV Contemporary Collection Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2013, Western Cape, South Africa now $7.95 was $9.45
DISCONTINUED AT LCBO – Great value for a balanced fruity red blend with mild aromas of plum, lemon and blackcurrant jam. Simple clean and refreshing. Try with sausages. 1600 bottles remain.

Sella & Mosca Rosato 2013, Alghero, Sardinia, Italy now $8.95 was $9.80
NEW TO TOP 50 – This summer rosé has gone on sale to clear inventory. It is a deep salmon pink almost light red, very fruity yet dry with very good length. Try with baked ham. Over 5000 bottles remain.

J. Portugal Ramos Loios Red 2013, Alentejo, Portugal $9.05
NEW TO TOP 50 – A ripe, fleshy, clean, easy-drinking wine with soft tannins and fresh red berry fruit flavours with more complexity than you would expect for such an inexpensive wine.

D’Arenberg The Stump Jump Grenache/Shiraz/Mourvèdre 2011, South Australia now $9.95 was $14.95
DISCONTINUED AT LCBO – This delicious fragrant plummy red will soon be no longer available. Around 1500 bottles remain so pick up a handful, while you can, at this great price. 1500 bottles remain.

Errazuriz Estate Series Merlot 2012, Curico Valley, Chile now $9.95 was $13.95
DISCONTINUED AT LCBO – This is a ripe, fairly soft and plummy merlot with mild oak spice. It’s midweight smooth with a long finish. Try with a rack of lamb. 1000 bottles remain.

D'arenberg The Stump Jump Grenache:Shiraz:Mourvèdre 2011Errazuriz Estate Series Merlot 2012Pessoa Da Vinha Reserva Douro 2010La Posta Cocina Tinto Blend 2013Guardian Reserva Red 2012Graham's Late Bottled Vintage Port 2008

Pessoa Da Vinha Reserva Douro 2010, Douro Valley Portugal $12.30 plus 5 BAMs
TOP 50 DECEMBER – A very fruity well balanced rich red wine with a solid structure and very good length.

La Posta Cocina Tinto Blend 2013, Mendoza, Argentina $12.95 plus 8 BAMs
TOP 50 DECEMBER – An easy drinking well-balanced red with juicy berry fruit, lively acidity, just enough tannin, and a mild spicy tone.

Guardian Reserva Red 2012, Colchagua Valley, Chile $13.65
NEW TO TOP 50 – A complex red cabernet blend, finely balanced and fruity, with a long, lingering finish, and some fine tannin. Try with a steak.

Graham’s Late Bottled Vintage Port 2008, Douro Valley, Portugal now $15.45 was $16.95
TOP 50 DECEMBER – A full-bodied, very fruity, smooth, rich and powerful port with a fragrant nose.

Whites

Apelia Moschofilero 2013 (1000ml) Greece $9.95 plus 4 BAMs
Moschofilero is one of Greece’s best indigenous grapes. This is a fresh dry white with lifted aromas of floral apple, with a green olive herbal tone, plus some mineral notes.

Mascota Vineyards O P I Chardonnay 2013, Mendoza Argentina $12.95o
NEW TO TOP 50 – A classy rich flavourful chardonnay with just a touch of oak for added complexity and structure.

Apelia Moschofilero 2013Mascota Vineyards O P I Chardonnay 2013Monkey Bay Pinot Grigio 2014The Wolftrap 2013

Monkey Bay Pinot Grigio 2014, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand $13.95 plus 5 BAMs
TOP 50 DECEMBER – This is a is fresh, pure and fragrant grigio, with pear and melon fruit, toned by minerality with hints of lemongrass with a rich lively fruity palate.

The Wolftrap White 2013, Boekenhoutskloof, Western Cape, South Africa $13.95 plus 5 BAMs
TOP 50 DECEMBER – An appealing aromatic nose of peaches, melons, spices and floral notes lead to rich creamy palate with crisp acidity and lots of fruit.

Frisky Beaver White 2013, VQA Ontario $13.95o
NEW TO TOP 50 – A gewurztraminer led white blend that’s aromatic, almost off-dry and very flavourful.

Lustau Amontillado Solera Reserva Los Arcos, Jerez, Spain $14.85
NEW TO TOP 50 – A complex dry white with beautiful nutty, citrus, toasty aromas. Perfectly balanced, would be excellent with roast turkey and a rich brown gravy.

Frisky Beaver White 2013Lustau Solera Reserva Dry Amontillado Los ArcosLustau Solera Reserva Dry Oloroso Don NunoErrazuriz Max Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Lustau Solera Reserva Dry Oloroso Don Nuno, Jerez, Spain $14.85
NEW TO TOP 50 – This tawny brown dry white has been aging for decades, yet still gives an impression of freshness with nutty raisin fruit. Intensely flavoured and finely balanced. Try with rich pork or veal dishes.

Errazuriz Max Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Aconcagua Valley, Chile $15.95 plus 10 BAMs
TOP 50 DECEMBER – Great complexity and balance, this is unmistakably sauvignon, with an herbal tone to the tropical citrus fruit. Try with rich creamy cheese dishes to balance the wine’s acidity.

How does a wine get selected for the 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 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.

Steve Top50The Rest of Steve’s Top 50

There are another 36 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.

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 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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RedKnotShirazLTO_NWSLTR

Rosehill_Nwsltr (1)

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

Top 20 under $20 at the LCBO (November)

Your Guide to the Best Values, Limited Time Offers and Bonus Air Miles selections at the LCBO this month

by Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

I am delighted to have found many new great values at the LCBO this month. From among all the wines I have tasted since I last reported to you, I have found nine new wines to join the Top 50.

Additionally many wines on my Top 50 Best Values list are discounted and some have Bonus Air Miles that apply, making these wines even more attractive for the next four weeks or so; all making your fall 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 discount period this time runs until November 29th. 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

Fuzion Alta Reserva Malbec 2013, Mendoza, Argentina $8.95 was $9.95
NEW TO TOP50 – A fruity juicy malbec for pizza and meaty pasta sauces.

Xplorador Carmenere 2012, Central Valley, Chile $9.15 was $10.95
DISCONTINUED AT LCBO – Sadly this juicy, fruit-forward red will soon no longer be on the shelf.  There are over 800 bottles in stock so one can still enjoy at the sale price for a while I think.

Berco Do Infante Red Reserva 2012, Lisboa Region, Portugal $9.80 + 4BAMs
From the Lisbon area in Portugal comes this tasty fruity red, great for pizza and burgers.

Fuzion Alta Reserva Malbec 2013 Xplorador Carmenere 2012 Berco Do Infante Red Reserva 2012 Tini Sangiovese Di Romagna 2012 Beso De Vino Old Vine Garnacha 2011

Tini Sangiovese Di Romagna 2012, Emilia-Romagna, Italy $9.96 + 6BAMs
A Sangiovese (the Chianti grape) that’s great with tomato sauces.

Beso De Vino Old Vine Garnacha 2011, Carinena, Spain $9.95 + 5BAMs
A fresh vibrant soft juicy red ideal for grilled meats made from grenache (aka garnacha).

Argento Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Mendoza, Argentina $9.95 + 4BAMs
An inexpensive cabernet with lots of varietal character and a decent structure without too much confection.

Cusumano Nero d’Avola 2013, Sicily, Italy $9.95 was $11.95
TOP50NOVEMBER – Super value for $9.95; worthy of a multiple bottle purchase of this delicious Sicilian red.

Quartetto 2009, Alentejano, Portugal $10.00 plus 4BAMs
Made from four native Portuguese grapes. Chill slightly and enjoy with pizza, burgers and meaty pasta sauces.

Argento Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 Cusumano Nero d'Avola 2013 Quartetto 2009 Farnese Casale Vecchio Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2013 Pelee Island Lighthouse Cabernet Franc 2011 Luccarelli Primitivo 2013

Farnese Casale Vecchio Montepulciano D’abruzzo 2013, Abruzzo, Italy $10.95
NEW TO TOP50 – The 2013 is a very good vintage for this very classy Italian red. Ripasso lovers should be shopping here at less than $11!

Pelee Island Lighthouse Cabernet Franc 2011, Ontario VQA $10.95 was $11.95
NEW TO TOP50 – A juicy fruity ripe cabernet franc for roast meats or lamb cutlets.

Luccarelli Primitivo 2013, Puglia, Italy $11.05
NEW TO TOP50 – Known as zinfandel in California, this is a full-bodied succulent red great with a rack of lamb.

Carmen Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2013, Colchagua Valley, Chile $11.45 plus 4BAMs
NEW TO TOP50 – Great value for a fragrant ripe well balanced Chilean cabernet.

Miguel Torres Sangre De Toro 2012, Catalonia, Spain $12.95 + 8 BAMs
This wine has been around for ever and still keeps going strong. Time to try again. Always a safe bet.

Carmen Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2013 Miguel Torres Sangre De Toro 2012 Trapiche Broquel Malbec 2012 Carpineto Dogajolo Rosso 2012 Errazuriz Max Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Trapiche Broquel Malbec 2012, Mendoza, Argentina $12.95 was $14.95
TOP50NOVEMBER – Was great value at $14.95 now outstanding at $2 off. Time to stock up on this delicious elegant malbec.

Carpineto Dogajolo Rosso 2012, Tuscany, Italy $14.45
NEW TO TOP50 – A fragrant soft red with lots of flavour and character for a wine at this price.

Errazuriz Max Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Aconcagua Valley, Chile $15.95 was $18.95
NEW TO TOP50 – 2012 is one of the best vintages ever for this classic Chilean cabernet. Enjoy while $3 off.

Whites

Poquito Moscato Sparkling (375ml) Spain $2.85 was $5.00
DISCONTINUED AT LCBO (Over 8,000 in inventory currently) – This floral sweet summer bubbly listing is coming to an end so this half bottle has gone on sale. Pick up an armfull, chill well and enjoy as an aperitif.

Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier 2014, Colchagua Valley, Chile $8.95 was $9.95
TOP50NOVEMBER – Was already the best value white in Ontario; now a $1 off. It’s time to stock up on this fragrant juicy white.

Poquito Moscato Sparkling Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier 2014 Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Grigio 2014 Cono Sur Chardonnay Reserva Especial 2014

Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Grigio 2014, Central Valley, Chile $9.90
NEW TO TOP50 – This delicious grigio has deservedly been so popular since it launched in the summer that the LCBO keeps running out of it. Use WineAlign’s inventory tracking to make sure there is some in your store and pick up a few.

Cono Sur Chardonnay Reserva Especial 2014, Casablanca Valley, Chile $12.95
NEW TO TOP50 – The new vintage is quite sauvignon like; fresh lively with just a touch of oak and mouthwateringly delicious.

How does a wine get selected for the 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 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.

Steve Top50The Rest of Steve’s Top 50

There are another 36 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.

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, 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.

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.

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.

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 for November
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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Boschendal 1685 Chardonnay 2013

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

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, , , , , ,

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WineAlign Reviews

Coldstream Hills Pinot Noir 2008