Top Values at the LCBO (January 2018)

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

Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

I have some great super-value wines to tell you about that I have found since I last wrote. Though there are few wines discounted at LCBO at present, nevertheless eight wines have joined my Top 50 Best Values List.

January is always a quiet month in wine stores after the exuberant buying and drinking of the last six weeks. So few wines get discounted while wineries wait out this slow time. I did find some wines with prices that have been permanently reduced, probably in the hope of staving off a delist and a few wines have been delisted. There will surely be more delists in the coming weeks. So watch for my next report.

There are many wines at LCBO with Bonus AirMiles (BAMs), so why not buy some of your favourites off the Top50 and collect the BAMs. I have chosen a couple of these with 10 BAMs to feature.

So I have updated my Top50 list and have selected twelve wines to highlight for you off the new list.

Among the wines in today’s report about the Top50:

  • Eight wines that joined the Top50 this month.
  • Eleven wines score 87 or more points
  • Six wines for less than $12.
  • Two VINTAGES Essentials
  • One Ontario VQA wine

The current promotional period runs until January 27th, 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

Eclipse Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2015 Abruzzo, Italy ($7.95 was $8.40) – This is a lovely fruity midweight Italian red for an amazing price for a well balanced structured red. It’s not really for sipping on its own but with a meaty pizza or hard mature cheese it’s quite delicious.…

Santa Carolina Merlot Reserva 2016, Colchagua Valley, Chile ($11.10 was $13.10) – This is a ripe, smooth plump merlot with an appealing nose. It is wonderfully vibrant with the juicy fruit balanced by soft tannin. Very good length. Enjoy on its own or with grilled meats or hard mature cheese.

Eclipse Montepulciano D'abruzzo 2015Santa Carolina Merlot Reserva 2016Piqueras Black Label Old Vines Garnacha 2014

Piqueras Black Label Old Vines Garnacha 2014, Almansa, Spain ($11.95) NewtoTop50 – A stately fullbodied youthful Spanish red with lifted aromas of ripe blackberry fruit with white pepper, sweet basil and hints of oak spice. It is very juicy and seems light due to the vibrant acidity. It finishes dry with very good length. Try with a steak.

Trapiche Reserve Merlot 2015 Mendoza, Argentina ($12.50 + 10 BAMs) – This is an elegant well priced merlot with a beautiful creamy rich smooth palate with lots of flavour and very good to excellent length. It is midweight and nicely structured with a firm finish. Very classy. Try with a steak.

The Wolftrap Syrah Mourvedre Viognier 2016, Western Cape, South Africa ($14.00 + 8 BAMs) – 2016 is another good vintage of this elegant inexpensive wine. It is a deeply coloured blend of syrah, mourvedre and viognier that is medium to full bodied with firm tannin which gives nice firmness to the finish. Very good length.

Trapiche Reserve Merlot 2015The Wolftrap Syrah Mourvedre Viognier 2016Malivoire Gamay 2016Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Malivoire Gamay 2016, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario ($17.95) NewtoTop50 – VINTAGES Essential – Ontario makes some very good well priced gamay and this is a good example with very good focus. It is a balanced flavourful light to midweight red. Try with cold cuts and cheese and a warm baguette. Very good length.

Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Colchagua Valley, Chile ($19.95) NewtoTop50 – VINTAGES Essential – An elegant well balanced Chilean cabernet that shows pure fresh fruit on the intense nose. Focus is good and its very linear with excellent length. It is quite full bodied, with some creaminess, underpinned by firm acidity, alcohol warmth and a nice sense of minerality on the finish. Tannins are chalky fine. Try with a steak.

Top Value Whites

Mayor de Castilla Verdejo 2015, Rueda, Spain ($6.45 was $10.95) NewtoTop50 – Delisted – A flavourful white from Spain with mild aromas. It is light to mid-weight and dry with the palate finely balanced with some soft acidity. Very good length. Try with mildly flavoured poultry. Around a 1000 bottles remain.

Mayor De Castilla Verdejo 2015Black Tower Classic Riesling 2015

Black Tower Classic Riesling 2015 Germany ($9.45 was $11.95) NewtoTop50 – The Black Tower bottled confused me. I was expecting a soft sweet white but instead there is a serious well made riesling inside. Who knows why since serious riesling lovers will be surely confused. It is lightweight and finely balanced with the rich fruit palate kept firm by acidity. Very good length. Chill lightly and enjoy with rich seafood or white meat dishes.

Santa Carolina Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2016, Leyda Valley, Chile ($11.95) NewtoTop50 – This is a complex ripe sauvignon with a palate that is rich and creamy on the palate with good depth of flavour. Very good length. Try with sautéed chicken.

Santa Carolina Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2016Trapiche Reserve Pinot Grigio 2016Calmel & Joseph Villa Blanche Chardonnay 2015

Trapiche Reserve Pinot Grigio 2016 Argentina ($11.95 + 10BAMs) NewtoTop50 – This is a lovely, very drinkable, pure white wine with delicate aromas with a palate that has a good depth of flavour and is quite creamy with some fruit sweetness and richness though it finishes dry with very good length. Try with creamy pasta sauces.

Calmel & Joseph Villa Blanche Chardonnay 2015, France ($14.75) NewtoTop50 – A juicy mildly oaked chardonnay with aromas of ripe apple and apricot fruit with floral and toffee notes. It is midweight with a good depth of flavour, quite rich with a smooth palate and very good length. It is dry on the finish. Chill lightly and try with roast chicken or pork.

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!

Pérez Cruz Pircas De Liguai Cabernet Sauvignon 2013