Top Values at the LCBO (December 2018)

Your Guide to Best Values, Limited Time Offers & Bonus Air Miles selections at the LCBO
Holiday Gifts and Discounts @ LCBO; updates to Top 50

by Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

There are many wines for drinking and dining discounted this month on the Top 50 Best Values List. Some will make admirable gifts for under the tree or for taking to friends or to a family gathering.

Most are $3-4 off, and there is one lovely bubbly discounted by over $7 off. Once again, this month I had little trouble selecting 12 wines to write about. Check out the entire list here.

All 12 wines selected have big discounts; several of these are delisted items so they will soon all be gone.

I have chosen twelve wines to highlight from the list for you.

Among the wines in today’s report about the Top 50 :

  • Seven wines discounted for next 4 weeks at the LCBO
  • Some major discounts, the biggest is $7.20
  • Four delisted wines
  • Eight wines for gifting
  • Eleven wines scored 88 points or more
  • Three VQA wines

The current promotional period runs until January 6th 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.


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Top Value Reds

Quinta De Bons Ventos 2016, Vinho Regional Lisboa, Portugal ($10.75) New to Top 50 – 2016 is another excellent vintage for this well-priced, charming wine with a fragrant nose of blackberry and blueberry fruit with lemon and floral notes. The fruit on the midweight palate is ripe but it is well-balanced by lemony acidity and soft mature tannin. Nicely structured, bright, modern and fresh. Very good length. Try with BBQ meats.

Dona Paula Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Lujan De Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina ($12.95 was $16.95) Top 50 December, Delisted – This is a lovely midweight, well-balanced, dry, ripe cabernet; quite Bordeaux-like, with delicate aromas. The fruit on the palate is toned by tannin and the finish is quite firm. Very good length. One will need some protein to enjoy. Try with juicy bbq meats or creamy brie cheese. Around 800 bottles remain.

Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage Port 2013, Douro Superior, Portugal ($15.95 was $18.45) New to Top 50, Gift Suggestion  – A wonderful perfumed nose of blueberry and blackberry fruit with vanilla and black cherry jam greets you. You are enticed to taste and the smooth palate soon beguiles. It’s not super complex but it is so well made with very good length. Finely balanced with no heat from the 20% alcohol.

Quinta De Bons Ventos 2016 Dona Paula Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage Port 2013

Cave Spring Cabernet Franc 2016, VQA Niagara Escarpment, Ontario ($16.45 was $17.95) New to Top 50, Gift Suggestion -The very classy 2016 is lighter in weight and more fragrant than recent vintages. It is midweight and juicy with a fruity yet firm dry finish. Very good to excellent length. Decant for an hour or two and try with juicy lamb cutlets or rich roast turkey.

Cesari Mara Valpolicella Ripasso 2016, Veneto, Italy ($16.95 was 19.95) New to Top 50, Gift Suggestion – This is a fine well made ripasso which is lighter than most with a fine balance and some elegance. Expect aromas of red and black cherry fruit with some spice and floral notes. It is full bodied but feels lighter. Very good length. Mild tannin and soft balancing acidity make it very drinkable. Try with roast meats.

Firestone Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Santa Ynez Valley, California ($16.95 was $19.95) New to Top 50, Gift Suggestion – An elegant, well-priced, midweight, dry cabernet from the fairly cool Santa Ynez Valley about an hour’s drive north of Santa Barbara. Very classy for a wine at this price point. The oak is well integrated into the lively palate with lemony acidity and mature fine tannin. Try with prime rib or a rich meaty risotto. Very good to excellent length.

Cave Spring Cabernet Franc 2016 Cesari Mara Valpolicella Ripasso 2016 Firestone Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Monte Zovo Sa’ Solin Ripasso Valpolicella 2016, Veneto, Italy ($16.95 was $19.95) New to Top 50, Gift Suggestion – This is a classy Valpolicella and not as big as many ripassos. The fruity flavourful palate is very juicy and smooth with lovely soft lemony acidity and fine tannin. Good focus with a fruity dry finish. Very good length. Try with grilled meats.

Malivoire Gamay 2017, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario ($19.95) New to Top 50, Gift Suggestion – The 2017 is probably the best vintage ever of this well priced pure, lightweight and very versatile food red. The nose shows raspberry, plum and red cherry fruit with herbal and floral tones plus a hint of white pepper spice to add a little complexity. It is juicy and well balanced and very easy to drink. Chill a little and enjoy with mildly flavoured meat and cheese dishes. Very good length.

Monte Zovo Sa' Solin Ripasso Valpolicella 2016 Malivoire Gamay 2017

Top Value Whites

Debbie Travis Pinot Grigio 2015, VQA Niagara Peninsula ($11.75 was $15.95) New to Top 50, Big Price Drop/Delisted? – The wine is very appealing with a delicate fragrant nose of melon and pear fruit with a hint of lemon sherbet and floral rose. It is very juicy and well-balanced with a good depth of flavour. Very good length. Enjoy on its own as an aperitif or with roast chicken. Over 600 bottles remain.

Nugan Estate Third Generation Chardonnay 2016, Southeastern Australia ($7.95 was $12.95) Top 50 December, Delisted – There is a good depth of flavour to this well balanced chardonnay. There is little oak showing and the flavours and aromas are quite fresh. It finishes dry with a long intense fruity finale. Very good length. Try with strongly flavoured white meat dishes like roast pork or veal. Over 1200 bottles remain.

Debbie Travis Pinot Grigio 2015 Nugan Estate Third Generation Chardonnay 2016

Villa Maria Lightly Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc 2016, Marlborough, New Zealand ($10.95 was $18.15)Top 50 December, Delisted, Gift Suggestion – This is a charming well-made bubbly that is fresh and pure. The palate is creamy smooth with a hint of sweetness and is very refreshing. Not a lot of complexity but it is very easy to drink and should be liked by Prosecco lovers. Very good length. Over 700 bottles remain.

Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc 2018, Marlborough, New Zealand ($16.05 was $18.05) New to Top 50, Gift Suggestion – The 2018 vintage is a lovely classic Marlborough sauvignon with beautiful creamy palate with oodles of mouthwatering grapefruit acidity. It is light on the palate and complex in aroma. Very well balanced with very good to excellent length. Try with seafood and lightly flavoured poultry.

Villa Maria Lightly Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc 2016 Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc 2018

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!