Steve’s Top 50 Value Wines from the LCBO – July 2011 – 12 New Summer Wines

Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

There are twelve new wines on the Top 50 this month as a result of recently tasted wines, new additions to the LCBO’s selection and new vintages of existing listings. The Top 50 list features the wines commonly referred to as General List and Vintages Essentials.  I constantly taste the wines at the LCBO to keep this report up to date. You can easily find my Top 50 Value Wines from the WineAlign main menu. Click on Wine => Top 50 Drop Down MenuTop 50 Value Wines to be taken directly to the list.

To be included in the Top 50 for value a wine must be inexpensive while also having a high score, indicating high quality. We 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.

Recent additions to the Top 50

I have recently tasted many new vintages of wines and some new listings which resulted in twelve wines joining my Top 50 list.


Villa Sandi Pinot Grigio 2010Masi Serego Alighieri Possessioni Rosso 2009Villa Sandi Pinot Grigio 2010 is an excellent pinot grigio for a great price, lots of flavour and well structured for food, with no oak. The nose shows melon pear fruit with mineral and herbal complexity. It`s midweight and quite fat with very good length. Don`t overchill or you might miss the good stuff. Try with seafood veal or poultry.

Masi Serego Alighieri Possessioni Rosso 2009 is an elegant sophisticated red wine at a great price. It is made from corvina and sangiovese grapes matured in large cherry wood barrels. Expect soft complex fragrant aromas of blackberry fruit with spice, leather and jammy notes. It is ripe and bolder due to the vintage than is usual, with the plum and berry fruit nicely supported by tannin leading to a long lingering finish. Excellent length. Try with roast duck or hard mature cheeses.

Castillo De Monseran Garnacha 2010Candidato Oro 2007Castillo De Monseran Garnacha 2010 is a delicious unoaked, simple yet exuberantly fruity red with aromas of plum and raspberry fruit plus a hint of white pepper and cranberry jelly. The palate is full and juicy with some sweetness and soft tannin, which is most noticeable on the dry finish. Chill lightly and enjoy with burgers, sausages and ribs. Very good length.

Candidato Oro 2007 is a soft lightweight fruity red that should appeal to lovers of pinot noir. The nose is harmonious with red berry fruit nicely integrated with gentle oak spice. The palate is clean well balanced and simple with modest tannin. It finishes dry with very good length. A versatile food wine for meats and cheese dishes.


Catedral Reserva 2007 arrives at the LCBO this month. It is an elegant fresh vibrant red recently debuted at LCBO. It has a lot of complexity and flavour for the money. The perfumed nose of blueberry/blackberry fruit plus vanilla and mild oak spice and chocolate is very appealing. It is midweight and velvety smooth with bright lively fruit and modest supportive tannin. Very good length. Try with roast red meats, game or hard mature cheese.
Catedral Reserva 2007


P K N T Carmenere 2010 is another newcomer to the LCBO. It is a vibrant well balanced red with good varietal character. Expect earthy black cherry fruit with some warm spicy and tobacco notes. The palate is super smooth and full bodied with supple juicy fruit not at all spicy as might be suggested by the label. It is clean and fresh with very good length. Try with mildly spicy bbq meats.

Cono Sur Tocornal Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz 2010 is a full bodied and fairly vibrant wine with modest aromas of cassis fruit with a hint of black pepper and dark chocolate. The palate is full with the ripe fruit toned by firm tannin and fresh lemony acidity. Good length. Try with lamb cutlets. It comes in a 1500ml bottle; so make sure you have friends on hand to enjoy.

Casillero Del Diablo Carmenere 2010 is the best value among the Casillero reds. It is quite complex for a wine at this price point. The nose is very harmonious with red cherry, plum and raspberry fruit plus well integrated oak spice with dark chocolate, cranberry jelly and mocha notes. The palate is well balanced midweight and quite elegant with good focus and very good length. Try with roast lamb or beef.
P K N T Carmenere 2010 Cono Sur Tocornal Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz 1500ml 2010  Casillero Del Diablo Carmenere 2010

Ontario VQA

Pelee Island Blanc de Blanc 2009Pelee Island Lighthouse Riesling 2009Ontario VQA means that the wine was made 100% from grapes grown in Ontario. Two wines from  Pelee Island winery join the Top 50. This winery is much improved and they have many good value wines in addition to these two whites.

Pelee Island Blanc de Blanc 2009 is much improved over earlier vintages and that’s probably because it is now vidal and riesling blend. It is a very versatile food wine for white meats, cheesy sauces and seafood. Expect zesty lemony apple-pear fruit aromas and flavours with a rich full palate with some fruit sweetness but it finishes dry with very good length.

Pelee Island Lighthouse Riesling 2009 is just off dry with a perfumed nose of rose with orange and white peach notes. The palate is very smooth and rich with fruit and it is balanced by soft lemony acidity. Very good length with the fruit persisting well. Enjoy lightly chilled as an aperitif or match with seafood, creamy pasta sauces, roast poultry or braised veal.

BBQ Reds

We are into BBQ season at last; now is the time to enjoy simple inexpensive reds outdoors with friends and family. Four regions of the world are supplying most of the Top Value wines at present. Here are four reds, all for around $8, that are great for enjoying with BBQ meats; one from each of those regions.

Tini Sangiovese Di Romagna 2009 is a very drinkable soft clean Italian red for pizza, pasta and risotto. The nose shows cherry and plum fruit with some herbaceous notes. It is soft and fruity with enough tannin and acidity for balance and very decent length considering the price. Chill a little to give some edge and enjoy with bbq meats.

Obikwa Shiraz 2010 is a great value shiraz from South Africa; its most promising variety. Expect smoky herbal blackberry fruit with pine and mocha notes. It vibrant and fruity and very easy to drink with a fruity dry dark chocolate finish. It’s a great buy for pizza, bbq meats or an inexpensive party wine.

Trivento Tribu Syrah 2010 from Argentina offers a lot of flavour for a wine at its price. It shows ripe fruit yet is balanced by soft tannin and juicy acidity and has very good length with the fruit persisting well. The nose is a bit slender with some blackberry fruit with tobacco notes. Try with meaty pasta sauces, pizza or bbq meats.

Santa Carolina Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2010 is quite an amazing wine considering it’s price. It is a very correct Bordeaux blend from Chile with good balance and decent length and even a little complexity. The nose shows black cherry fruit with some spice and leathery tones and a hint of beet. It is midweight dry with good acidity and fine ripe tannin. Try with bbq meats.
Tini Sangiovese Di Romagna 2009  Obikwa Shiraz 2010 Trivento Tribu Syrah 2010  Santa Carolina Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2010

Please click here for a complete list of the Top 50 Value Wines at your local LCBO. 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