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 [email protected]. 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.


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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