Top 20 under $20 at the LCBO (February)

Your Guide to the Best Values, Limited Time Offers & Bonus Air Miles selections at the LCBO
by Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

The LCBO started 2015 with a big house cleaning with dozens of wines being discontinued and selling at big discounts to clear inventory during January. Among these were sadly some of my favourites. I am especially saddened to see some great value Portuguese and Spanish reds go. For whatever reason they did not sell in sufficient quantities to keep their place on the shelf, so it’s hasta la vista baby. Many of these discontinued wines have already sold out, but I have listed below a few that will be around for the next couple of weeks or so. There are seven new wines on the Top 50 for you to try.

The LCBO has kicked off February with a slew of wines on promotion such that thirteen wines, already on the list, have Bonus Air Miles (BAMs) that apply or are on sale (LTO), making these wines even more attractive for the next four weeks or so; all this will surely make your February drinking more affordable.

The Top 20 under $20 are best buys among the 1600 or so wines in LCBO Wines and the Vintages Essentials Collection. This month all of the wines I selected are from Steve’s Top 50, a standing WineAlign list based on quality/price ratio. You can read below in detail how the Top 50 works, but it does fluctuate as new wines arrive and as discounts show up through Limited Time Offers (LTOs).

The discount period runs until February 28th. So don’t hesitate. Thanks to WineAlign’s inventory tracking, I can assure you that there were stocks available, when we published, of every wine that I highlight.

Editors Note: You can find our complete critic reviews by clicking on any of the wine names, bottle images or links highlighted. Paid subscribers to WineAlign see all critic reviews immediately. Non-paid users wait 60 days to see new reviews. Membership has its privileges; like first access to great value wines!


Sella & Mosca Rosato 2013, Alghero, Sardinia, Italy $7.95 was $9.80 – This summer rose has gone on sale to clear inventory. It is a deep salmon pink almost light red, very fruity yet dry with very good length. Try with baked ham. Over 1200 bottles remain.

Sileni Cellar Selection Merlot 2013 Hawkes Bay New Zealand $8.45 was $15.95 – New to Top50 – Discontinued at LCBO – Around 900 bottles of this ripe classy merlot remain. Great with meaty past sauces.

Montalto Nero d’Avola Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Sicily, Italy $8.95 + 5BAMs – A finely balanced red for red meat dishes or pizza from sunny Sicily.

Fuzion Alta Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Mendoza, Argentina $8.95 was $9.95 – A soft flavourful cabernet from high altitude vineyards. It’s juicy and fruity with some savoury tones..

Sella & Mosca Rosato 2013 Sileni Cellar Selection Merlot 2013 Montalto Nero D'avola Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 Fuzion Alta Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 Volcanes Summit Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2013

Volcanes Summit Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2013 Chile $9.10 was $10.95 – New to Top50 – Discontinued at LCBO -There is an Italian feel to this Chilean red blend with notable acidity and minerality giving it freshness. Try with pepperoni pizza. Around 1000 bottles remain.

Trapiche Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Mendoza $9.95 + 4BAMs – A pure fragrant ripe cabernet that’s finely balanced with very good length. Try with mature cheddar or a juicy hamburger.

Quinta Do Encontro Q do E 2011, Bairrada, Portugal $9.95 was $14.25 – New to Top50 – Discontinued at LCBO – An elegant structured red. Very classy try with roast beef. Around 600 bottles remain.

Trapiche Reserve Syrah 2013, Mendoza, Argentina $10.95 was $11.95 – Beautiful lifted aromas of blueberry and blackberry fruit with herbal and well integrated oak spice notes that lead to a velvety smooth palate. Complex and elegant. Try with grilled meats or mature cheddar.

Trapiche Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 Quinta Do Encontro Q Do E 2011 Trapiche Reserve Syrah 2013 Trapiche Malbec Reserve 2013

Trapiche Malbec Reserve 2013, Mendoza, Argentina $10.95 was $11.95 – A full bodied malbec with a fragrant nose that’s rounded, fairly dense and juicy with fine tannin. Try with a steak.

Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir 2013, Central Valley, Chile $11.00 + 5BAMs – An excellent value for pinot noir. There is little to compete for around $11 for this quality and varietal authenticity. So pick a few up and collect some BAMs.

Emiliana Adobe Reserva Merlot 2013, Rapel Valley, Chile $11.05 was $13.05 – New to Top50 – This is a polished, organically grown merlot with a soft velvety palate and very good length.

Trapiche Broquel Malbec 2012, Mendoza, Argentina $12.95 was $14.95 – Was great value at $14.95 now outstanding at $2 off. Time to stock up again on this delicious elegant malbec.

Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir 2013 Emiliana Adobe Reserva Merlot Trapiche Broquel Malbec 2012 The Wolftrap Syrah Mourvedre Viognier 2013 Mountain Fish Agiorgitiko 2012

The Wolftrap Syrah Mourvedre Viognier 2013, Western Cape $12.95 was $13.95 – A delicious fruity red with savoury tones and modest oak that avoids the confected jammy style so often seen in reds from the Cape. Try with grilled meats.

Mountain Fish Red 2012 Peloponnese , Greece $13.10 – New to Top50 – A juicy, zesty midweight red with savoury tones made from agioritiko, one of Greece’s best indigenous red grapes grown widely in the Peloponnese region. Try with juicy lamb cutlets.


Dunavar Muscat Ottonel 2012, Hungary $6.45 was $9.05 – Discontinued at LCBO – Over a 1000 bottles remain of this aromatic juicy very inexpensive white. Try with mildly spicy Asian cuisine such at Pad Thai.

Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier 2014, Colchagua Valley, Chile $8.95 was $9.95 – Was already the best value white in Ontario; now a $1 off. It’s time to stock up on this fragrant juicy white.

Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Grigio 2014, Central Valley, Chile $9.90 + 5BAMs – This delicious grigio has deservedly been so popular since it launched in the summer that the LCBO kept running out of it last year. There are large stocks at present so pick up a few and enjoy with seafood and cheese dishes.

Dunavar Muscat Ottonel 2012Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier 2014 Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Grigio 2014Caliterra Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2013 Goats Do Roam White 2013 Errazuriz Max Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Caliterra Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2013, Central Valley, Chile $9.95 + 3BAMs – A juicy very ripe sauvignon blanc with lots of balancing acidity.

Goats Do Roam White 2013, Western Cape, South Africa $10.95 was $11.95 – New to Top50 – An aromatic rich dry white, great as an aperitif or with Asian cuisine.

Errazuriz Max Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Aconcagua Valley, Chile $15.95 plus 10BAMs – Great complexity and balance, this is unmistakably sauvignon with an herbal tone to the tropical citrus fruit. Try with rich creamy cheese dishes to balance the wine’s acidity.

How does a wine get selected for the Top 20 under $20.

There are three ways that a wine gets into this monthly report of wines that are always in the stores either on the LCBO “General List” or the VINTAGES Essential Collection.

– On Sale (LTO’s or Limited Time Offers): Every four weeks the LCBO discounts around 200 wines  I have looked through the current batch and have highlighted some of my favourites that offer better value at present…. so stock up now.

– Bonus Air Miles (BAM’s): If you collect Air Miles then you will be getting Bonus Air Miles on another 150 or so wines…a few of these have a special appeal for a while.

– Steve’s Top 50: Wines that have moved onto my Top 50 Best Values this month. This is on an-on going WineAlign selection (Top 50,) that mathematically calculates value by comparing the price and rating of all the wines on the LCBO General List. You can access the report any time and read more about it now.

Steve Top50The Rest of Steve’s Top 50

There are another 37 wines on the Top 50 list so if you did not find all you need above for your current needs dip into the Top 50 LCBO and Vintages Essentials wines. There will surely be something inexpensive that suits your taste.

To 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. I review the list every month to include newly listed and recently tasted vintages of current listings as well as monitoring the value of those put on sale for a limited time.

Before value wine shopping remember to consult the Top 50 (Click on Wine =>Top 50 Value Wines to be taken directly to the list), 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 us. And if you think our reviews are accurate, send us some feedback since it’s good to hear that you agree with us.

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

Top 20 Under $20
Top 50 Value Wines

Editors Note: You can find our complete critic reviews by clicking on any of the wine names, bottle images or links highlighted. Paid subscribers to WineAlign see all critic reviews immediately. Non-paid users wait 60 days to see new reviews. Membership has its privileges; like first access to great value wines!

Tilia Malbec 2013