Top Values at the LCBO (October 2018)

Your Guide to Best Values, Limited Time Offers & Bonus Air Miles selections at the LCBO
New Listings, new Vintages and Essentials
by Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

There are so many great values on the Top50 Best Values List that I often have trouble deciding which dozen or so to highlight each month for you.

So I have selected some wines that joined the list because of discounts and others that I have recently tasted plus some great new additions to the LCBO selection. I have chosen twelve wines to highlight from the list for you.

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

  • Three lovely inexpensive wines that are new listings at the LCBO.
  • Some new vintages recently tasted.
  • All 12 wines score 87 or more points.
  • Some discounts, the biggest is $2.00
  • A Vintages Essential

The current promotional period runs until November 11th 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.


Alvear Medium Dry

Top Value Reds

Botter Primitivo 2017 Puglia, Italy ($9.25) The 2017 is better than recent vintages and comes in a new paper wrapped bottle with a name change. It’s medium to full bodied with a lots of aroma and a good depth of flavour for such an inexpensive wine. The palate is juicy with the fruit well balanced by acidity. Good to very good length. Try lightly chilled with pizza or meaty pasta sauces.

Collavini Villa Canlungo Merlot 2015, Veneto, Italy ($9.95) New to Top 50 – This is a lightweight finely structured merlot from Friuli in northeast Italy, that is quite Beaujolais like.  The palate is well balanced and soft but not flabby since there is plenty of lemony acidity for structure. Very good length with a touch of tannin on the finish for some grip. A versatile red for a wide range of mildly flavoured meats and cheese.

Botter Primitivo 2017Collavini Villa Canlungo Merlot 2015

KWV The Vinecrafter Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 Western Cape, South Africa ($9.95) New to LCBO – This is a full bodied red with a fragrant nose that is very juicy with lovely mouthwatering acidity, typical Cape minerality to keep it light and soft velvety tannins. It is well balanced with a good depth of flavour and very good to excellent length. There is some elegance and good focus. Enjoy with a steak or a sauteed duck breast.

Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir 2017 Central Valley, Chile ($11.95) – There is little to compete in pinot at this price at LCBO for this quality and varietal authenticity. Expect mild aromas of red cherry and raspberry fruit with hints of oak and some spice tones. It is midweight and fruity with nice balancing acidity and soft tannin. Good to very good length.

KWV The Vinecrafter Cabernet Sauvignon 2017Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir 2017Rymill The Yearling Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Rymill The Yearling Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Coonawarra, South Australia ($12.25 was $14.25) New to Top 50 – This is an excellent well priced cabernet that’s ripe but not overripe. It is quite dry and very classy with a fine balance and very good length. The palate is midweight with the fruit balanced by lemony acidity and fine tannin. It finishes dry with fruit that has a little greenness. So try with a steak or some juicy lamb cutlets.

Casillero del Diablo Devil’s Collection Red 2017 Rapel Valley, Chile ($13.95 was $15.95) New to Top 50 – This is a structured red blend of cabernet, carmenere and syrah with aromas of red and black cherry fruit with jammy notes and smokey, mild oak spice tones and mineral freshness. It is full bodied and vibrant with soft mature tannin and some elegance. Very good length. Try with a steak.

Casillero Del Diablo Devil's Collection Red 2017Chateau La Barrade Malbec 2016Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Chateau La Barrade Malbec 2016, Cahors, France ($13.95) New to LCBO – Malbec, once planted widely in France, is now only found in quantity in the Cahors wine region to the south of Bordeaux. This an inky opaque purple-black wine with an appealing nose and elegant palate. This full bodied wine is very classy for fine dining with roast meats. A juicy duck breast would work well. The finish is dry and lingering with just enough fruit. Excellent length.

Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Colchagua Valley, Chile ($19.95) VINTAGES Essential – This is an intense fruity fragrant cabernet that is full bodied with velvety tannins and lots of fine balancing acidity making it seem lighter. There is some elegance. Expect a dry mildly tannic finish. Very good to excellent length. Try with a steak. Best 2018 to 2024.

Top Value Whites

Santa Carolina Chardonnay 2018, Rapel Valley, Chile ($9.45) This value chardonnay is lightly oaked with mild aromas of pineapple and pear fruit with some spicy tones. It is midweight and quite rich with a lot of flavour for the money. Good length and well balanced. Try with cheesy pasta sauces, white meats or fish and chips.

Santa Carolina Chardonnay 2018Volo Biou Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Volo Biou Sauvignon Blanc 2016, Cotes Du Gascogne, France ($10.95) New to LCBO – There is a lot of flavour to be enjoyed here. Lemony acidity balances the melon and green apple flavours with a creamy firm finish. The nose is typical of warm climate sauvignon with white peach and lemon notes plus some dried herbal notes and a hint of nutmeg spice. Chill only slightly and enjoy with cheese and creamy pasta dishes or roast poultry. Very good length.

Alvear Medium Dry, Montilla Morilles, Spain ($13.25) This wine is a beautiful golden brown with orange highlights. It is just off dry with the sweetness very well counter-balanced by the acidity that runs throughout the palate. It is complex, well balanced and has a fairly tight structure. It is especially good with blue cheese when the sweetness nicely balances the bitterness from the blue parts.

Alvear Medium DryYalumba The Y Series Viognier 2017

Yalumba The Y Series Viognier 2017, South Australia ($13.95) This aromatic white shows aromas of apricot and white peach fruit with ginger and tangerine citrus notes. The palate is midweight to full, rich and creamy with the richness nicely balanced by firm acidity. Excellent length. Try with mildly spicy Asian cuisine.

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

Steve's Top 50 Value Wines

Today’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.


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!


Chilean Wine Festival – Toronto 2018