Eight wines join Steve’s Top 50 at LCBO – Aug 6

Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

Again this month the Top 50 has changed with eight wines arriving as a result of new wines being added to the LCBO selection plus some new improved vintages of existing selections. None of these rely on short-term discounts for their place on the list, so you can buy and enjoy all of them over the next few months.

Most come from the usual regions that offer good value which readers of this report are familiar with – namely South Africa, Chile, Argentina and Italy. However there is also an exceptionally good Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand that is priced very inexpensively.

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.

Less than $17

Carmen Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Chile, $16.95

This is a superb single vineyard cabernet sauvignon, elegant, fruity and well structured with an ability to age well. It is an opaque purple-red with aromas of cassis and black cherry fruit with herbal tones and nicely integrated oak spice. The palate is dry with the fruit finely balanced by soft acidity and solid yet ripe tannin. Excellent length. Try with a steak. Best 2013 to 2020.

Carmen Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Less than $15

Babich Sauvignon Blanc 2012, New Zealand, $14.95

An intensively flavoured sauvignon with lifted aromas of guava, lemon, and dried grass that you don’t often find for less than $15. It is got a rich creamy palate with the fruit well supported by lemony acidity. Very good length. The finish maintains focus well. Enjoy with roast herbed chicken.

Babich Sauvignon Blanc

The Wolftrap Syrah Mourvèdre Viognier 2012, South Africa, $13.95

This is a very well made wine with a degree of elegance not often found in such an inexpensive wine. This deeply coloured blend of syrah, mourvedre and viognier has a nose of blackberry fruit with licorice, pepper and mild oak spice. It is medium to full-bodied with firm tannin which gives a nice edge to the finish. Very good to excellent length. Best 2013 to 2017. Try with grilled read meats.

The Wolftrap Syrah Mourvèdre Viognier 2012

Less than $12

Nederburg Sauvignon Blanc 2012, South Africa, $11.45

A nice inexpensive fruity sauvignon with aromas of lemon, ripe apple and gooseberry with dill and mild ginger spice. It is midweight creamy with a good depth of flavour. Very good length and finely balanced. Try with a lemony pasta sauce with grilled chicken or shrimp.

Nederburg Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Carmen Carmenere Reserva 2011, Chile, $11.45

A fruity aromatic wine with pure blackberry and black currant fruit aromas and flavours. It is great value with a degree of elegance not common for such an inexpensive wine. There is some complexity to the fruit with cedar, tobacco and white pepper spice in the mix. Well balanced and juicy with good to very good length. Best 2013 to 2015. Try with grilled meats.

Carmen Carmenere Reserva 2011

Castello Del Poggio Moscato, Italy, $11.10

A delicate well priced Moscato with lively acidity to balance the fruit and the sweetness. Expect lifted floral lemon, melon and honey aromas. The palate is fresh and pure with very good length. Enjoy on its own or with delicate pastries.

Castello Del Poggio Moscato

Less than $11

Amalaya Torrontes Riesling 2012, Argentina, $10.95

This is a complex aromatic white from the Salta region, in northern Argentina, which is the home of the aromatic indigenous torrontes grape. It is a blend of 85% of that grape with 15% riesling; the addition of which gives some zip to the mid palate and finish. Expect floral aromas of honeysuckle with ripe melon and canned pear fruit with ginger spice. The palate is midweight, rich and creamy with very good length. Enjoy as an aperitif or with mildly spicy Asian cuisine or rich seafood dishes.

Amalaya Torrontes Riesling 2012

Mezzomondo Negroamaro 2011, Italy, $9.00

This wine is consistently good value for a bright, tasty wine. The nose is black cherry fruit with some earthy spicy tones and a hint of pine. It is medium bodied, juicy and well-balanced with good to very good length and enough tannin for balance Chill slightly and enjoy with strongly flavoured cheese, pizza or bbq meats. Best 2013 to 2015.

Mezzomondo Negroamaro 2011

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 for immediate access to Steve Thurlow’s reviews of the Top 50 Value Wines. Paid membership to WineAlign has its privileges – this is one of them. Enjoy!

Top 50 LCBO and Vintages Essentials Wines

Mazzei Badiola 2010