Steve’s Top50 meets WWAC’s Top 25 Value Wines

Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

Have a look at these six wines that make both lists!

The results of the 2013 World Wine Awards of Canada (WWAC13) were announced last week on WineAlign. For one week in September I was joined by 18 fellow wines judges from all across Canada to evaluate around 1000 wines all of which are for sale somewhere in Canada for under $50. The top performing wines in this influential Canadian competition are all tasted blind more than once by at least eight of the judges. 25 wines were then selected as the best value wines under $15 and six of these are also on my Top 50 Values list of wines currently available on LCBO shelves in Ontario.

I thought these six award winners were worthy of special mention this month, so I have listed them below. You can view the complete results of the 2013 World Wine Awards of Canada here, or jump directly to a list of the WWAC13 Top 25 Value Wines that are currently available in stores near you.

Read beyond the featured wines to discover how the my Top 50 are systematically selected.

Less than $12

Trapiche Malbec Reserve 2012
Mendoza, Argentina $11.95

A fruity structured wine with intense flavours and good balance that is suited for fine dining with robust roast meats despite its modest price. Expect aromas of fine black cherry, with forest floor accents, mild oak spice, and some herbal notes for freshness. Medium bodied and juicy with soft mature tannin and well-integrated acidity delivering a gentle velvety smooth palate. Good to very good length. WWAC13 Top 25 Value Wine, Best Malbec under $15 and Judges’ Choice

Trapiche Malbec Reserve 2012WWAC13 Best of Variety Under $15

PKNT Carmenère Reserve 2012
Central Valley, Chile $10.95

This is a vibrant well balanced red with good varietal character. Expect earthy black cherry fruit with some warm spice 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. Best 2013 to 2016. Try with mildly spicy bbq meats. WWAC13 Top 25 Value Wine and Judges’ Choice

PKNT Carmenere Reserve 2012WWAC 2013 Judges' Choice

Boutari Moschofilero 2012
Mantinia, Greece $11.95

Moschofilero is an aromatic white grape from Greece and here it makes a great value wine with apricot, peach and pear fruit aromas plus baked lemon, ginger and orange blossom. The palate is midweight and very fruity and it is well balanced with vibrant lemony acidity and a nice touch of bitterness on the finish. Very good length. Try with mildly spicy Asian cuisine or intense hard cheese like Gruyere. WWAC13 Top 25 Value Wine and Judges’ Choice.

Boutari Moschofilero 2012WWAC 2013 Judges' Choice

Goats Do Roam White 2012
Western Cape, South Africa $11.95

The Goats white is a blend of three whites grapes, all of which originate in the Rhone Valley in France. It is an aromatic white with loads of flavour and a touch of class. Expect aromas of apple and pastry with orange and white peach fruit with some floral and spicy notes. It is medium-full bodied with nice balancing acidity and very good length.  Enjoy as an aperitif with pastry nibbles or try with roast poultry. WWAC13 Top 25 Value Wine, Best White Blend under $15 and Best South African Wine

Goats Do Roam White 2012WWAC 2013 Best of Country

Less than $10

Caliterra Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2012
Casablanca Valley, Chile $9.95

There are very few red wines of this quality at this price. It has a nose of ripe blackcurrant fruit with dark chocolate, subtle oak spice plus herbal notes. The palate is very juicy and midweight with lots of ripe fruit flavour and just enough acid and soft tannin for balance. Very good length. Try with a steak. Best 2013 to 2016. WWAC13 Top 25 Value Wine and Best Cabernet Sauvignon under $15

Caliterra Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2012WWAC Best of Variety Under $15

Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier 2012
Colchagua Valley, Chile $9.95

A beautiful lightweight viognier with tropical fruit aromas and orange blossom, baked apple, ginger and nutty tones. It is light to midweight with the fruit well-balanced by vibrant acidity. Very good length. It’s terrific value. Enjoy on its own lightly chilled, with party nibbles, or at the table with poultry dishes or sautéed seafood. WWAC13 Top 25 Value Wine

Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier 2012WWAC 2013 Judges' Choice

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 Update This Wine or send an email to [email protected]. We look forward to hearing from you.

When I compiled the Top 50 this month, twelve wines joined the list. 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

Editors Note: You can find Steve Thurlow’s complete reviews by clicking on any of the wine names, bottle images or links highlighted. Paid subscribers to WineAlign see all critics reviews immediately. Non-paid users wait 30 days to see new reviews. Membership has its privileges; like first access to great value wines!

Top 50 LCBO and Vintages Essentials Wines


Frescobaldi Castiglioni Chianti 2011

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