Top Values and Big Discounts; Steve’s Top 50 at LCBO

Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

The Top 50 changes each month with additions due to items going on sale at the LCBO or new wines being added to their selection. This month there are four wines that are on LTO (Limited Time Offer) with big discounts, some as much as $2.50. Discounts of this magnitude thrust good value wines onto Steve’s Top 50 Best Value Wines list for the short time of the offer. Discounts funded by suppliers prove consistently to be the best way to sell more wine at the LCBO. However they are for a limited time only so don’t hesitate.

But first let me tell you first about two new wines that do not depend upon a short-term discount to join the list this month. Both are flavourful whites made from uncommon grapes, and will be a great food match to mildly spicy dishes. Don’t over chill either of them, lest their big bold flavours remain hidden when they are served too cold.

Please also check out all the rest of the wines on my Top 50 Value Wines list, since all offer great value. So read beyond the featured wines to find more values, and to discover how the Top 50 is systematically selected.

Two Flavourful Whites

The Wolftrap White 2012, Western Cape, South Africa $13.95

This wine is an elegant partner to the popular red of the same name. It is an intriguing blend of viognier with chenin blanc and grenache blanc. The nose is very stately with apple pie plus a hint of caramel, with baked peach, honeysuckle and nutmeg tones. The palate is rich with loads of flavour with the fruit sweetness nicely balanced by lemony acidity. Excellent length. Try with a mild curry or tandoori chicken.

The Wolftrap White 2012

Dunavar Muscat Ottonel 2012, Hungary, $8.10

The 2012 vintage arrived recently with a new label for this consistently great value wine made from muscat ottonel, a less aromatic version of the muscat grape common to central Europe. Expect nicely lifted floral and melon and orange fruit aromas similar to viognier with herbal, mild spice and lime notes. It is quite rich well-balanced with lovely mouth-watering acidity and good to very good length. This will work well with mildly spicy Asian cuisine or rich poultry dishes.

Dunavar Muscat Ottonel 2012

Big Discounts

Antonin Rodet Côtes du Rhône 2010, France $10.95 until July 21 was $12.95

A young fresh fruity Southern Rhone with a lot going on for the money. The nose shows raspberry and plum fruit with some spice and earth tones. It is midweight with the ample fruit well-balanced by firm tannin that shows up on the finish. Very good length. Try with grilled meats of hard mature cheese. Best 2012 to 2015.

Antonin Rodet 2010

Durbanville Hills Shiraz 2010, Western Cape, South Africa $9.95 until July 21 was $11.95

A juicy, earthy and very drinkable shiraz at an excellent price. The nose shows cassis fruit with cedar, forest floor, tar, and blackberry aromas with similar palate flavours. The tannins are firm but smooth with soft acidity to lift the fruit. Decant for an hour and enjoy with a steak. Best 2013 to 2016.

Durbanville Hills Shiraz 2010

Errazuriz Max Reserva Syrah 2010, Aconcagua Valley, Chile $16.45 until July 21 was $18.95

A $2.50 discount makes this even better value for a complex structured wine, now labelled syrah for 2010 vintage (previously shiraz). Expect aromas of blackberry and blueberry fruit with dark chocolate and a hint of black pepper well-integrated with warm oak spice. It is full-bodied and smooth with mature finely divided tannin tickling the tongue. Decant before serving now with a steak or hard mature cheese or cellar for a couple of years to let more complexity develop. Best 2013 to 2018.

Errazuriz Max Reserva Syrah 2010

Cousiño Macul Antiguas Reservas Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Maipo Valley, Chile $13.95 until July 21 was $15.95

Already a superb value, you should buy a handful this month and enjoy over the next few years. Cousino Macul has been making Antiguas Reservas for decades and it keeps getting better. Still very youthful, this is a cellar candidate that’s fine now but even better if you decant for an hour or so before serving. It is very classy with a degree of elegance rarely found in such an inexpensive wine. The nose is youthful with the cassis fruit aromas complicated by tobacco, dark chocolate, menthol and herb notes. It is medium to full-bodied and very smooth with the ripe fruit balanced by soft acidity with a little dry tannin giving some grip to the finish. Very good length. Will develop more complexity with a few years in the cellar. For now, decant for an hour and enjoy with a steak. Best 2014 to 2020.

Cousiño Macul Antiguas Reservas Cabernet Sauvignon

Top 50 Value Wines at LCBO

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.

How I Choose the Top 50

I constantly taste the wines at the LCBO to keep the Top 50 list up to date. You can easily find all of my all Top 50 Value Wines from the WineAlign main menu. Click on Wine =>Top 50 Value Wines to be taken directly to the list.

Steve's Top Value WinesTo 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. 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.

Once you have tried a wine, you can use the ‘thumbs up/thumbs down’ to agree or disagree with our reviews. Or better yet, you can add your own review and join our growing community of user reviewers. If you find that there is a new wine on the shelf, or a new vintage that we have not reviewed, let us know. 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

We invite our Premium Subscription members to use this link to find all of Steve Thurlow’s reviews of the Top 50 Value Wines. Paid membership to WineAlign has its privileges – this is one of them. Enjoy!

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