Nouveau Wines & Steve’s Top 50 Values from the LCBO – Nov 2012

Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

On the third Thursday of November every year the Beaujolais Nouveau wines arrive in stores all over the world. This year only three wines from Beaujolais in France were part of the LCBO’s special 2012 Nouveau release. Seven wines from Italy, France and Ontario also arrived at the same time and one of these joins the Top 50 Value List. There is a review of the Nouveau wines below, which will be in stores for the next few weeks until stocks run out.

There are five wines that are new to the list since last month. Read past the Nouveau wines to find more bargains and to discover how the Top 50 is systematically selected. Check out all the wines on my Top 50 Value Wines list, since all offer great value.

Nouveau (French) and Novello (Italian) Wines

These are the first wines of the 2012 harvest to reach us. They are made in a special way that speeds up the winemaking and maturation process to get them to customers quickly. They are very fruity, lively reds that are not designed to last more than a few months while we wait for the rest of the vintage’s more age worthy reds to appear. Often dismissed by serious wine drinkers, the batch this year was one of the best I can remember and one wine actually made it onto the  Top 50 Value Wines list. Here are my best four in order of value.

Giocale Novello Rosso 2012, Terre Di Chieti Abruzzo Italy $8.95

New to the Top 50, this Novello from the south of Italy with 75% montepulciano  is quite different from the rest of the release with its nose of prune and blackberry fruit with olde English toffee notes and a hint of coffee. It is very fruity and almost full bodied but is well balanced by fresh acidity. Youthfully exuberant. Very good length. It finishes dry. Enjoy on its own, lightly chilled or with burgers or pizza.

Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais Villages Nouveau 2012Primeur Catalan Syrah Merlot 2012Primeur Catalan Syrah Merlot 2012, Pays d’Oc, France $9.95

I like this wine a lot. It captured the spirit of new wine and it’s well priced, though not in the Top 50 for Value. Expect aromas of black cherry with cassis to grab your attention. They are fresh pure aromas that encourage you to taste the wine which is fairly rich for a nouveau with nice mouthfeel. The fruit is well balanced by vibrant acidity and there is good to very good length. Try with grilled sausages.

Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais Villages Nouveau 2012, Burgundy, France $14.95

This is a very good Beaujolais Nouveau. It’s aromatic with herbal tones to the cherry blossom, raspberry fruit aromas. It is well balanced with some complexity and good concentration. It is medium-bodied with a degree of elegance but it is quite expensive compared to others in this Nouveau release. Try with roast turkey with cranberry sauce

Negrar Novello Del Veneto 2012, Valpolicella, Italy $9.95

This is a lightweight simple fruity red which does not have a great depth of flavour. Expect a nose of dry cherry and cranberry fruit, with bubble gum notes, to lead to a gentle dry palate with enough acidity and tannin for balance. Good length. Try with mildly flavoured cheese pizza.

Use this link to see all ten Nouveau 2012 wines 

November 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

Masi Tupungato Passo Doble Malbec Corvina 2010Oggi Primitivo 2011Five wines arrived on the Top 50 this month, including the Giocale Novello Rosso that I wrote about above.

Oggi Primitivo 2011, Puglia, Italy $8.95

The 2011 vintage of this wine is a step up from the 2010 such that it joins the Top 50 this month. A new label and a name change accompanies a quality upgrade. It’s a medium to full bodied red with a lot of aroma and depth of flavour for such an inexpensive wine. Great value. The nose shows red cherry fruit with cranberry jelly, tobacco, smoke and chocolate notes. The palate is juicy with the fruit well balanced by acidity. Good to very good length. Try with pizza or meaty pasta sauces.

Masi Tupungato Passo Doble Malbec Corvina 2010, Mendoza, Argentina $11.95 until Dec 2 was $13.95.

This wine is on sale for a month and so jumps into the Top50 for a while. A malbec from Argentina with Italian styling from the Verona house of Masi. Its vibrant acidity and structure are not typical of Argentine malbec at this price; so don’t expect gobs of soft jammy fruit. It is midweight with velvety fruit and mild tannin. Expect aromas of blackberry and prune fruit with cedar, smoke, grapefruit and mushroom notes. It is juicy with a solid structure from firm yet smooth tannin. Good to very good length. Best 2012 to 2015. Needs food so try with roast beef or strongly flavoured mature cheese.

The Insider White By KnappsteinBarwick White Label Pinot Noir 2010Both the wines below join the Top 50 because they have been discontinued at the LCBO. Clearance prices should move them out quickly but there are today many bottles of each remaining but don’t delay.

The Insider White By Knappstein 2010, Clare Valley, South Australia $8.95, was $11.95

A fresh dry white with lemon mineral aromas plus some spicy apple and a floral hint. It is light to mid weight with the minerally fruit well balanced by some firm acidity. It is a bit austere on the finish but there is very good length. This wine is built to last; it’s fine now but could be cellared for a year or two. Try with salty shellfish.

Barwick White Label Pinot Noir 2010, Pemberton, Western Australia $11.95, was $15.95

This is a fruity vibrant pale red pinot from Western Australia with aromas of cherry, raspberry and plum fruit plus some earthy tones and a hint of tobacco. It is midweight, well balanced with a solid yet gentle acid and tannin structure. It finishes well with the focus well maintained. Very good length. Best 2012 to 2015. Try with roast beef or seared tuna.

Steve's Top Value WinesTop 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


Thorn Clarke Terra Barossa Merlot 2010

Rosehill Wine Cellars