Steve’s Top 50 Value Wines from the LCBO – September 2012

Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

Five Fresh Pure Whites from Chile; WineAlign’s Winemaker Series 

Summer is drawing to a close but there is still time to enjoy some delicious whites before the cold of a Canadian winter drives us more towards big reds. There are five whites from Chile that all offer excellent value from three different grapes.

The amazing improvement in the quality of whites from Chile in last few years is mostly due to the sourcing of grapes from cooler coastal vineyards. Little if no oak is now used in the maturation so that we are seeing many lively fresh whites mostly closed with screwtops. The five below are the current best values for Chilean white wines at the LCBO but you should check out the other 45 wines on my Top 50 Value Wines list, since all offer great value.

There are two wines that are new to the list since last month. Read past the next five wines to find more bargains and to discover how the Top 50 is systematically selected.

If you haven’t already done so, you should check out the upcoming events in our winemaker series.  We’ve got three events happening in the next two weeks, two are already sold out and  over 70% of the tickets are sold for the third one.  See below for details on our third event.

Chilean Whites


Cono Sur Bicycle Viognier 2011, Colchagua Valley Chile $9.95

Viognier is an aromatic grape originally from the South of France. You should expect lifted tropical fruit aromas which gives great appeal to this wine with orange blossom, baked apple and nutty complexity. It is full bodied and rich with the fruit well balanced by vibrant acidity. Try with sautéed seafood or strongly flavoured cheese.

Cono Sur Bicycle Viognier 2011

Sauvignon Blanc

Errazuriz Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2011, Aconcagua Valley Chile $11.95

This has nicely lifted sauvignon aromatics of hay, lemon, gooseberry and melon. It is elegant creamy and well balanced with very good length with some vibrant passion fruit flavour. Try with sautéed scallops with a lemongrass dressing.

Caliterra Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2011, Casablanca Valley Chile $8.95

A lot of sauvignon here for the money with its nose of guava, lemon and melon fruit with herbal and mineral tones. The palate is midweight well balanced with good definition and fresh lemony acidity and a degree of elegance. Very good length with the fruit persisting well. Try with grilled chicken or pork.

Errazuriz Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2011Caliterra Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2011


Cono Sur Chardonnay Reserva 2011, Casablanca Valley Chile $12.95

This is a very classy well extracted chardonnay for a wine at this price. Expect aromas of white peach with lime citrus and white flowers and hint of honey. The palate is lively and midweight though rich and creamy with green apple and melon fruit flavour. Very pure with racy citrus acidity and a hint of oak. Very good length. Try with sautéed seafood or cheesy pasta sauces.

Santa Carolina Chardonnay Reserva 2011, Casablanca Valley Chile $11.95

This has a lifted nose of complex aromas of peach, melon and grapefruit with honey and toffee notes and a hint of oak spice. It is rich and creamy on the palate with lovely soft lemony acidity which keeps it feeling light. It finishes dry with very good to excellent length. Try with white meats, creamy cheeses and seafood. Don’t overchill.

Cono Sur Chardonnay Reserva 2011 Santa Carolina Chardonnay Reserva 2011

September Top 50 Values List

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.

New to the Top 50

August was a quiet month at LCBO and only two new wines arrived on the Top 50; the pace of change will soon pick up with many new wines arriving in next few weeks and the fall aggressive discounting programs kick in.

Lenswood Hills Pinot Noir 2010, Adelaide Hills, Australia $13.95

Lenswood Hills Pinot Noir 2010This wine was $17.35 last month. Such a dramatic price reduction usually indicates that it is being discontinued but there are 1096 bottles in the stores and it does not show as a discontinued item on the LCBO website. Anyway it is a fruity juicy pinot with a degree of elegance not often seen at this price point. Expect aromas of red cherry with raspberry plus some subtle oak spice and a touch of pine. It is midweight and very fruity with the ripe fruit well balanced by acid and tannin. It finishes with a little spicy heat so would be best served slightly chilled. Very good length. Try with smoky duck breast. Best 2012 to 2015.

Villa Sandi Pinot Grigio 2010Villa Sandi Pinot Grigio 2010, Veneto Italy $11.05

The 2010 vintage has been in stores for a while so the 2011 must arrive soon, but this 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.

Top 50 Value Wines at LCBO

Before value wine shopping remember to consult the Top50, 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 why we got it wrong and if you think our reviews are accurate, send us some feedback since it’s good to hear that you agree with us.

It is very easy to do this.  Click on Suggestions & Feedback or send an email to [email protected].  We look forward to hearing from you.

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

WineAlign is pleased to present our Winemaker Series 

These intimate and exclusive events allow our members the opportunity to enjoy great wines with some of the most famous winemakers in the world.

Sept 18th – Paired Tasting Dinner with winemaker Marc Kent

Boekenhoutskloof Winemaker Marc KentFounded in 1776, Boekenhoutskloof Winery experienced a re-birth in 1993 when Marc Kent took over. Marc’s skill as winemaker soon shone bright and he started to catch the eyes of wine lovers and writers around the world, garnering the only FIVE star rating for a South African winery from the esteemed Robert Parker. In addition, Boekenhoutskloof was recently awarded “2012 Winery of the Year” by Platter’s South African Wine Guide.

Join Marc and WineAlign’s Zoltan Szabo on September 18th for an exquisitely paired tasting experience at Barque (one of Toronto’s best new restaurants – Toronto Life) with a lineup of eight of his wines that will quickly convert those new to South Africa. Event details


Red Knot Mclaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon

 The Wine Establishment - Code 38 Stealth