Top Values at the LCBO (August 2017)

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

Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

Lots of new vintages are arriving on the shelves from the Italy’s southern regions. As expected they are all great value and I have enjoyed tasting them. This is a great time for value shopping at LCBO since there are many wines on the Top 50 that are discounted and many more have Bonus Air Miles (BAMs) for the next 4 weeks or so.  Since I last wrote thirteen wines joined my Top 50 Best Values List .

I have updated my Top 50 list and have selected twelve wines to highlight for you off the new list, all of which joined the list this month.

Among the wines in today’s report are:

  • 12 wines scoring 87 or more points
  • Six great value Southern Italian reds
  • Seven wines that are less than $11
  • One VINTAGES Essentials
  • One VQA Ontario wine

The current promotional period runs until September 10th, 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.

Top Value Reds

Farnese Fantini Sangiovese 2016, Abruzzo, Italy ($8.45) – For under $9, this is a very drinkable, fruity red with an appealing nose  It is medium to full bodied fairly simple on the palate with the balanced ripe fruit flowing though to the finish. Very good length with a dry finish.

Farnese Fantini Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2015, Abruzzo, Italy ($8.45) – This is a dependable fruity southern Italian red that is very consistent from vintage to vintage. The palate is full bodied, round and juicy with the fruit well balanced by soft acidity and tannin. Very good length. Try with roast meats.

Farnese Fantini Sangiovese 2016Farnese Fantini Montepulciano D'abruzzo 2015Farnese Fantini Negroamaro 2016

Farnese Fantini Negroamaro 2016, Puglia, Italy ($8.95) – This has been one of the best values in Italian red wine for years. It shows good varietal character with a perfumed nose. It is full bodied, juicy and vibrant with a degree of elegance rarely found in such an inexpensive wine. Enjoy on its own or with cheeses or red meat dishes.

Luccarelli Negroamaro 2016, Puglia, Italy, ($8.95) – This is a juicy lively red with mild aromas of black cherry fruit with prune and sweet basil notes. It is midweight with the ripe fruit nicely toned by lemony acidity giving it a freshness. Very good length. Try with grilled meats or strongly flavoured cheese.

Luccarelli Primitivo 2016, Puglia, Italy ($10.95) – This grape primitivo is called zinfandel in USA. Expect aromas of black berry fruit with prune, violets and sweet herbal notes. The palate is midweight with a degree of elegance and is well balanced by vibrant acidity and soft round tannin. Good to very good length. Try lightly chilled with a BBQ meats.

Luccarelli Negroamaro 2016Luccarelli Primitivo 2016Barone Montalto Nero D'avola Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Barone Montalto Nero d’Avola Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 Sicily, Italy ($9.05) – A juicy vibrant red with a nose that shows black and red berry fruit with herbal and floral notes. Midweight fruity and well structured with soft tannins and lively acidity. Very good length. Try with pizza and meaty pasta sauces.

Santa Rita Medalla Real Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Maipo Valley, Chile ($17.95) – This is a dense fleshy typical Maipo cabernet that’s full bodied with very good length and quite fruit forward but will be best after an hour in a decanter. It is an elegant complex wine with fine tannin. Try with a steak.

Santa Carolina Reserva de Familia Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Maipo Valley, Chile ($19.95) VINTAGES Essential – A lovely elegant opaque purple red with an appealing complex nose. It is tightly wound and needs to be in a decanter for an hour before consumption at present or cellared for a year or two. Best 2018 to 2025. Try with roast red meats or mature cheddar.

Santa Rita Medalla Real Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2013Santa Carolina Reserva De Familia Cabernet Sauvignon 2015Trapiche Broquel Malbec 2015Bordon Rioja Gran Reserva 2007

Trapiche Broquel Malbec 2015, Mendoza, Argentina ($13.00 was $15.00) – This wine offers great value for an elegant complex fruity malbec.  It’s almost full bodied, fairly dense, creamy and lively with a lemony tone to the palate. The finish is a dry with some firm tannin for grip. Very good focus and length. Try with roast duck or a juicy cut of lamb.

Bordon Rioja Gran Reserva 2007, Spain ($21.90 was $24.90) – There are few ten year old reds on the LCBO General list and this one is an excellent buy. It is  youthful and classy with complex aromas and flavours. It’s mid-weight with lovely acidity and very fine tannin. Very good to excellent length. This is for fine dining with mature cheese or roast meats.

Top Value Whites

Periquita White 2016, Peninsula de Setubal, Portugal ($7.95) – This is a blend of viognier, verdelho and viosinho (an indigenous grape) with lovely aromas and a very smooth palate that also has a good depth of flavour and is well balanced. It finishes dry with good to very good length. Enjoy with mildly flavoured seafood.

Periquita White 2016Wayne Gretzky Riesling 2015

Wayne Gretzky Riesling 2015, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario ($13.95 was $14.95) VQA Wine – This is a lovely almost off-dry riesling with dried apple and lemon fruit, plus mild spice and petrol notes with a mineral tone. A Silver Medal winner at the 2017 National Wine Awards, it is very smooth and strongly flavoured with a good acid backbone. Very good length. Try with roast chicken or veal.

How does a wine get selected for the Top Value Report:

Steve's Top 50 Value WinesToday’s report pulls best buys from Steve’s Top 50 which is a standing WineAlign list based on quality/price ratio of the 1600 or so wines in LCBO Wines and the VINTAGES Essentials Collection. 

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. (You can access these lists under the Wine tab on WineAlign.)

• 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 that mathematically calculates value by comparing the price and rating of all the wines on the LCBO General 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

Top 50 Value Wines
Wines on Limited Time Offer
Wines with Bonus Air Miles

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 30 days to see new reviews. Membership has its privileges; like first access to great value wines!


Familia Castaño Hécula Monastrell 2013