Top 20 under $20 at the LCBO, part 2

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 has started a second promotional period this month  this one running until May 24th. So here’s Part 2 of my April report that includes these new offers. The Top 20 under $20 are best buys among the 1600 or so wines in LCBO Wines and the VINTAGES Essentials Collection.

In this report, nine of the wines selected are wines that are also on Steve’s Top 50, a standing WineAlign list based on quality/price ratio. (You can read in detail how the Top 50 works below).

To make up the balance of the Top 20 I added another eleven wines, all will Bonus Air Miles (BAMs), that make them good choices. Though none of these quite made it on to the Top 50, they were all close.

This promotional period runs until the May 24th, so don’t miss your chance to make these wines even more affordable. Thanks to WineAlign’s inventory tracking, I was able to ensure 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!


Casal Thaulero 2013 Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon, Terre Di Chieti, Abruzzo, Italy ($7.75 + 3BAMs). A balanced dry red with a lot going on for ther money.

Citra 2013 Sangiovese Terre Di Chieti, Abruzzo, Italy ($7.75 + 4BAMs). A midweight dry vibrant red that is great with tomato sauces.

Latin Lover Passionately Red 2013, Rapel Valley, Chile ($8.95 was $14.95). New to Top 50: This red from Concha y Toro was listed for Valentine’s Day and is now discounted to clear inventory. It’s a powerful opaque red blend that’s soft and fairly rich.

Casal Thaulero 2013 Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon Citra Sangiovese Terre Di Chieti 2013 Latin Lover Passionately Red 2013 Fuzion Alta Reserva Malbec 2013

Fuzion Alta 2013 Reserva Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina ($9.95 + 5BAMs). A soft light to midweight red that should be great with pizza or meaty pasta sauces.

Beso De Vino 2011 Old Vine Garnacha, Carinena, Spain ($9.95 + 6BAMs). A fresh vibrant soft juicy red ideal for grilled meats made from grenache (aka garnacha).

Luccarelli 2013 Primitivo, Puglia, Italy ($10.95 also new 1500ml for $19.95). Top 50 April: Known as zinfandel in California, this is a full-bodied succulent red great with a rack of lamb.

Beso De Vino Old Vine Garnacha 2011 Luccarelli Primitivo 2013 Santa Carolina Merlot Reserva 2012 K W V Roodeberg 2012 Ogier Cotes Du Ventoux Red 2013

Santa Carolina 2012 Merlot Reserva, Colchagua Valley, Chile ($10.95 was $12.95). New to Top 50: A bright fresh merlot with pure aromas and flavours. It is deliciously vibrant with the juicy fruit balanced by soft tannin. Try with bbq meats.

K W V 2012 Roodeberg, Western Cape, South Africa ($11.15 was $12.65). New to Top 50: A medium bodied Cape classic that’s been great value for years. Try with rack of lamb.

Ogier 2013 Cotes Du Ventoux Red, Rhone Valley, France ($11.95 + 7BAMs). A peppery red with bright cherry fruit that’s midweight with soft tannin and zesty fresh dry finish. Try with cheesy pizza.

Santa Carolina 2013 Carmenère Reserva, Cachapoal Valley, Chile ($12.95 + 4BAMs). A complex balanced carmenere from the Peumo region of the Cachapoal Valley. Fragrant, full bodied and elegant with lots of ripe fruit flavour.

Taylor Fladgate First Estate Reserve Port, Douro Valley, Portugal ($16.50 + 5BAMs). A very good reserve port made from fruit from several recent vintages with the thick fruit well supported by soft acidity and mild tannin.Try with dark chocolate desserts, nuts or blue cheese.

Santa Carolina Carmenère Reserva 2013 Taylor Fladgate First Estate Reserve Port Santa Rita Medalla Real Carmenere Gran Reserva 2011 Stoneleigh Pinot Noir 2013

Santa Rita 2011 Medalla Real Carmenere Gran Reserva, Colchagua Valley, Chile ($16.90 was $17.90). New to Top 50: A complex powerful red that it also elegant with youthful aromas. Very cellar worthy.

Stoneleigh 2013 Pinot Noir, Marlborough, New Zealand ($19.95 + 10BAMs). A ripe modern pinot with juicy fruit and aromas of ripe red cherry, raspberry and plum fruit with mild oak spice with some earthy tones. Lots of charm and very drinkable.


J J McWilliams 2013 Pinot Grigio, South Eastern Australia ($6.95 was $9.95). New to Top 50: A clean fresh fruity grigio with lots of flavour and delicate aromas of melon and lemon fruit.

Cono Sur 2014 Bicicleta Viognier, Colchagua Valley, Chile ($8.95 was $9.95). Top 50 April: Was already the best value white in Ontario; now a $1 off. It’s time to stock up on this fragrant juicy white.

J J Mcwilliams Pinot Grigio 2013 Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier 2014 Periquita White 2013 Monkey Bay Pinot Grigio 2014

Periquita White 2013, Portugal ($8.95 plus 5BAMs). Top 50 April: This blend of three white grapes is a delicious delicate wine for seafood and mildly flavoured chicken dishes.

Monkey Bay 2014 Pinot Grigio, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand ($13.95 + 4BAMs). Top 50 April: A good basic pinot grigio with a fragrant, floral, peachy nose with some minerality. It is clean, fresh with a crisp almost dry finish.

Caliterra 2014 Sauvignon Blanc Reserva, Central Valley, Chile ($9.95 + 4BAMs). A juicy very ripe sauvignon blanc with lots of balancing acidity.

Caliterra Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2014 Santa Julia+ Chardonnay 2013 Brancott Estate Letter Series B Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Santa Julia+ 2013 Chardonnay, Mendoza, Argentina ($10.90 + 10BAMs). This is a big chardonnay with a good depth of flavour, elegantly oaked so as to add complexity and structure without overdoing it.

Brancott Estate 2013 Letter Series B Sauvignon Blanc, Southern Valley, Marlborough, New Zealand ($19.95 + 10BAMs). A classic Marlborough sauvignon that is elegant fresh pure and mouthwateringly delicious.

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

Top 20 Under 20There 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.

The Rest of Steve’s Top 50

In addition to the wines mentioned above, there are another 41 wines on the Top 50 list this month. So if you did not find all you need in this report, 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!

Yellow Tail Sangria