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

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 has discontinued many wines this month and there are some big discounts. Quite a few of my favourites are nearly all gone, probably snapped up by some of you, but I have found eight with enough inventory still for you to jump on if you are quick.

Regular readers of this report know that wines from Chile feature frequently with Cono Sur, Errazuriz (our Outstanding Value Winery of the Year) and Santa Carolina among others being often mentioned. Since I last reported I tasted twelve new vintages from Santa Carolina and several of these have joined the Top 50. Some of these vintages (listed below) may not yet be in your store but they will be there soon and the previous vintage was usually just as good.

As a consequence I am delighted to have found seventeen new great values at the LCBO this month to join the Top 50.

Several wines already on my Top 50 Best Values list are discounted this month and some have Bonus Air Miles that apply, making these wines even more attractive for the next four weeks or so; so in addition I have selected another three wines; 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 runs until November 8th. 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

Undurraga U Pinot Noir 2013, Maipo Valley, Chile ($6.45 was $9.95) NEW TO TOP50 – DELISTED – Good value for a simple earthy pinot with red cherry fruit aromas. It is lightweight and well balanced with good length with a long dry yet fruity finish. Chill and try with grilled pork cutlets. Over 1100 bottles left.

Tiger Horse Shiraz Mourvedre 2013 Western Cape, South Africa ($6.95 was $11.80) NEW TO TOP50 – DELISTED – It is a soft easy drinking red that needs a little chill to give it some edge. It is full bodied, sweetish with ripe fruit flavours and decent palate length. Try with bbq meats. Over 1300 bottles left.

Argento Bonarda 2013, Mendoza, Argentina ($6.95 was $9.95) NEW TO TOP50 – DELISTED – This is an opaque purple with an earthy nose of black cherry fruit with basil and dark chocolate notes. It is juicy and midweight with vibrant acidity and decent length though the finish is a little bitter. Try with burgers.

Undurraga U Pinot Noir 2013 Tiger Horse Shiraz Mourvedre 2013 Argento Bonarda 2013 Citra Montepulciano D'abruzzo 2014 Faustino V Tempranillo Rosado 2014

Citra Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2014 Abruzzo, Italy ($8.25) – NEW TO TOP50 – A well balanced versatile food red. Try with meaty pasta sauces or mildly spicy sausages.

Faustino V Tempranillo Rosado 2014, Rioja Spain ($7.45 was $12.90) TOP50 OCTOBER – DELISTED – Over 1100 bottles of this summer rose listing remain. You know can drink rose all year, its just a lightweight red with lots of flavour and great length. Over 1100 bottles left.

Mezzomondo Negroamaro 2014, Salento, Puglia, Italy ($8.95) NEW TO TOP50 – This is a flavourful, fragrant red that is midweight with the fruit well supported by some ripe fine tannin. Very good length. Try with grilled red meats.

Santa Carolina Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Rapel Valley, Chile ($8.95) NEW TO TOP50 – A basic well made cabernet at a great price. The length is good and the palate is very even; it’s clean and fresh with good structure. Try with roast meats.

Mezzomondo Negroamaro 2014 Santa Carolina Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 Trapiche Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 George Wyndham Founder's Reserve Shiraz 2012 Goats Do Roam Red 2014

Trapiche Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Mendoza, Argentina ($11.95 + 6BAMs) TOP50 OCTOBER – This is an opaque elegant cabernet with ripe, but not overripe fruit, and a fine balance. Very good to excellent length. Try with a steak.

George Wyndham Founder’s Reserve Shiraz 2012, Langhorne Creek, South Australia ($11.95 was $19.95) NEW TO TOP50 – DELISTED – A fine elegant shiraz, with a smooth palate, powerful flavours and very good length. Try with a steak or a succulent duck breast. Over 700 bottles left.

Goats Do Roam Red 2014, Western Cape, South Africa ($12.95) NEW TO TOP50 – This red blend from the Cape is close stylistically to a French Cotes du Rhone. It is midweight and well balanced with vibrant acidity and juicy red berry fruit and soft tannin. Very good length with a dry earthy finish. Try with burgers.

Santa Carolina Carmenère Reserva 2014, Cachapoal Valley, Chile ($12.95) NEW TO TOP50 – 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.

Santa Carolina Carmenère Reserva 2014 Santa Carolina Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2014 Errazuriz Estate Pinot Noir 2012 Santa Carolina Reserva De Familia Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Santa Carolina Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2014, Colchagua Valley, Chile ($12.95) NEW TO TOP50 – This is a pure fresh elegant wine with complexity and structure that usually costs a lot more. It is finely balanced with excellent length. Enjoy with fine cuisine.

Errazuriz Estate Pinot Noir 2013, Aconcagua Valley, Chile ($13.95 + 10BAMs) TOP50 OCTOBER – This is a delicious Chilean pinot with a good depth of colour, fragrant nose and a well balanced complex midweight palate. Very good to excellent length. Enjoy with roast turkey, seared tuna or mature cheddar cheese.

Santa Carolina Reserva De Familia Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Maipo Valley, Chile ($18.95) NEW TO TOP50 – An elegant well balanced classic Maipo cabernet. Delicious now but very cellar worthy. So buy some and tuck a few away for later.

White

Tiger Horse Chenin Blanc Pinot Grigio 2013, Western Cape, South Africa ($6.45 was $11.55) NEW TO TOP50 – DELISTED – This is a solid, midweight and flavourful white with a fine balance. The palate is rich with good length. Chill and enjoy with creamy pasta sauces or flavourful seafood. Over 1300 bottles left.

Big House White 2012, Central Coast, California, USA ($7.45 was $12.95) NEW TO TOP50 – DELISTED – This is an aromatic white that is well balanced with a long lingering finish.  Try with mildly spicy bbq seafood or Thai cuisine. Over 2900 bottles left.

Tiger Horse Chenin Blanc Pinot Grigio 2013 Big House White 2012 Casal Thaulero Pinot Grigio 2014

Casal Thaulero Pinot Grigio 2014,Terre Di Chieti, Abruzzo, Italy ($8.95) NEW TO TOP50 – Great value for a fruity lively rich pinot grigio. Don’t overchill and enjoy on its own or with seafood, white meats and mild cheese.

Santa Carolina Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Rapel Valley, Chile ($8.95 +4BAMs) NEW TO TOP50 – This is a lovely ripe sauvignon with a minty and salty tang to the lemon pear fruit aromas and flavours. A very drinkable sauvignon at a great price.

Santa Carolina Sauvignon Blanc 2015 Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier 2015 Shingleback Haycutters Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2014

Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier 2015 Chile ($8.95 was $9.95) TOP50 OCTOBER – A floral rich dry white with an appealing aromatic nose. Great as an apertif or with strongly flavoured cheese.

Shingleback Haycutters Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2014, Adelaide Hills McLaren Vale South Australia ($9.45 was $13.80) NEW TO TOP50 – DELISTED – This is a classic Bordeaux white blend with subtle oak that is very smooth with the lively fruit well supported by racy acidity. Very good length. Try with roasted poultry or sautéed veal. Over 2900 bottles left.

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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