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

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

Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

I 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 ten new wines to join the my standing list of Top 50 Value wines.

Additionally many wines from that list are discounted and a 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.

I have selected six wines that did not quite make it to the Top 50 but they all have BAMs this month. Several of you have written to me saying that BAMs are only of marginal interest. I do somewhat agree however they do have some value. All the wines chosen below are good value already; the BAMs simply add temporarily to their appeal.

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

The current discount period runs until October 11th. 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

Mike Weir The Underdog Red 2012, VQA Niagara Peninsula ($6.45 Discontinued at LCBO) New to Top 50 – This lightweight simple red is now at a great price. Over 700 bottles remain.

Figuero Tinto 4 Tempranillo 2012, Spain ($9.90 Discontinued at LCBO) New to Top 50 – A lively juicy red with soft berry aromas and a lively fruity palate.

Fuzion Alta Reserva Malbec 2014, Mendoza, Argentina ($9.95) Top 50 September – A fruity juicy malbec. Chill a little and try with pizza or meaty pasta sauces.

Trapiche Malbec 2014, Mendoza, Argentina ($10.45 +4 BAMs) – Pretty good malbec for the price, not that complex but quite correct. Try with grilled meats.

Mike Weir The Underdog Red 2012 Figuero Tinto 4 Tempranillo 2012 Fuzion Alta Reserva Malbec 2014 Trapiche Malbec 2014

Quinta Do Valdoeiro Baga, Cabernet Sauvignon & Syrah 2011 Bairrada, Portugal ($10.80) Top 50 September – A fresh clean blend of the Portuguese grape baga with cabernet and syrah. It is midweight with an elegant juicy palate, lively acidity and fine tannin. Very good length. Try with roast meats.

Errazuriz Estate Series Carmenere 2013, Rapel Valley, Chile ($11.40) New to Top 50 – This is a vibrant young carmenere with lifted aromas and lots of flavour and shows just how good this grape can be. It’s smooth and quite firm but not the least austere, with chalky tannin and a lemony tone to the finish. Very good length. Try with grilled meats or baked brie.

Santa Carolina Carmenère Reserva 2013, Cachapoal Valley, Chile ($12.95 + 8 BAMs) – A well made juicy ripe carmenere with none of the greenness sometimes associated with this grape. Try with bbq and roast red meats, casseroles or mature hard cheese.

Quinta Do Valdoeiro Baga, Cabernet Sauvignon & Syrah 2011 Errazuriz Estate Series Carmenere 2013 Santa Carolina Carmenère Reserva 2013 Fielding Fireside Red Cabernet 2012 Cape Heights Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Fielding Fireside Red Cabernet 2012, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario ($14.95 +5 BAMs) – A well structured youthful red that needs a decanter for an hour then it will be great with a steak.

Cape Heights Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Western Cape, South Africa ($9.35) New to Top 50 – A clean juicy dry midweight modern cabernet with a mild oak treatment. It is a little sweet but finishes dry with decent length.

Whites

San Pedro Gato Negro Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (1500ml) Chile $13.95 +6BAMs – A clean pure sipping white for a good price with some sauvignon character. Chill well and enjoy with vegetable dips.

Periquita White 2013, Portugal ($8.95 + 3 BAMs) – Top 50 September – Aromatic with a very smooth palate and good depth of flavour and some fruit sweetness, yet it finishes dry with good to very good length. Enjoy with mildly flavoured seafood.

Montalto Pinot Grigio 2014, Sicily ($9.45 + 4 BAMs) New to Top 50 – This grigio from Sicily has a lot of aroma and flavour with more complexity than one would expect from such an inexpensive wine.

San Pedro Gato Negro Sauvignon Blanc 2014 Periquita White 2013 Montalto Pinot Grigio 2014 Caliterra Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2014

Caliterra Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2014, Central Valley, Chile ($9.95) New to Top 50 – A warmer climate sauvignon with lots of flavour. Try with grilled chicken.

Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier 2015 Chile ($9.95) New to Top 50 – A floral rich dry white with an appealing aromatic nose. Great as an apertif or with strongly flavoured cheese.

Cono Sur Bicicleta Chardonnay 2014 Casablanca Valley Chile ($10.50) New to Top 50 – Mild aromas with just a hint of oak led to the fresh pure palate with delicate fruit and very good length, Try with sauteed seafood.

Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier 2015 Cono Sur Bicicleta Chardonnay 2014 Cono Sur Chardonnay Reserva Especial 2014

Cono Sur Chardonnay Reserva Especial 2014, Casablanca Valley, Chile ($10.65) New to Top 50 – This vintage is quite sauvignon like; fresh lively with just a touch of oak and mouthwateringly delicious.

Osborne Santa Maria Cream Sherry, Jerez, Spain ($12.95 + 6 BAMs) – Excellent value for a classic cream sherry from Spain with abundant aromas, great depth of flavour and excellent length. Enjoy with a quarter of a fresh orange squeezed on ice as an aperitif.

Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava Catalonia Spain ($13.45 was $14.95) – New to Top 50 – This is my favourite LCBO bubbly under $15, great for receptions as an aperitif; essentially anywhere you would consider Champagne.

Osborne Santa Maria Cream Sherry Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava Santa Rita Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2015 Villa Wolf Riesling 2013

Santa Rita Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2015, Casablanca Valley, Chile ($13.95) New to Top 50 – A pure rich zesty sauvignon with good varietal character. Try with sautéed seafood.

Villa Wolf Riesling 2013, Qualitätswein, Pfalz Germany ($14.95 + 8 BAMs) – A racy juicy quite elegant riesling that’s finely balanced with very good length. Just what you need in a riesling at this price.

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

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

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

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

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

The Rest of Steve’s Top 50

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

To be included in the Top 50 for value a wine must be inexpensive while also having a high score, indicating high quality. I use a mathematical model to make the Top 50 selections from the wines in our database. I review the list every month to include newly listed and recently tasted vintages of current listings as well as monitoring the value of those put on sale for a limited time.

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

The Top 50 changes all the time, so remember to check before shopping. I will be back next month with more news on value arrivals to Essentials and the LCBO.

Cheers!

Steve Thurlow

Top 20 Under $20
Top 50 Value Wines

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


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