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

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

Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

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

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

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

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

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

Reds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Whites

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top 20 Under 20

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

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

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

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

The Rest of Steve’s Top 50

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

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

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

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

Cheers!

Steve Thurlow

Top 20 Under $20
Top 50 Value Wines

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


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