Top Values at the LCBO (September 2019)

New Wines Join the Top 50 List 
Your Guide to Best Values, Limited Time Offers & Bonus Air Miles selections at the LCBO
by Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

I am in Portugal at present, leading a group of wine lovers. This region offers many great wine values. In fact, there are nine wines from here on the Top 50 list this month.

September is a big month for promotion at the LCBO, with 14 on the Top 50 either discounted or with Bonus AirMiles (BAMs). Also, since I have been tasting a lot of new wines, there is much to tell you about with 13 wines joining the Top 50 including 2 delisted wines.

So, I have chosen to write about those wines joining the list, but I also encourage you to consult my entire Top 50 Best Values List given all the discounts (LTOs) and BAMs for the next 4 weeks.

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

  • All wines joined the Top 50 this month.
  • Some big discounts; as much as $4.10.
  • Two delisted wines with thousands of bottles in inventory.
  • Two LBV ports at great prices.
  • All wines score 87 or more points.
  • One Vintages Essentials

The current promotional period runs until October 13th 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

Passion Of Portugal 2016, Lisbon, Portugal ($7.95) – New to Top 50
Best vintage yet of this bargain priced, full-bodied Portuguese red blend of tinta roriz (tempranillo), tinta barroca and syrah. The nose shows pure red berry fruit, with some floral and forest floor notes. The palate is well-balanced with juicy acidity and soft tannins. Not a lot of complexity but there is a good depth of flavour and decent length. Great value.

Passo Del Sud Appassimento 2017, Puglia, Italy ($12.10) – New to Top 50
This is a pure, clean and rather lively appassimento red that is not overripe, nor too heavy, nor is it too sweet. Expect aromas of ripe red cherry fruit, almost maraschino, with stewed plum, vanilla and mild oak spice, quite complex and very pure. The full-bodied palate is almost dry with vibrant acidity and some dry tannin for balance. Decent length. Try with a rich duck ragu.

Trapiche Pure Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Mendoza Argentina ($11.95 was $16.05) – New to Top 50, Delisted
The Trapiche Pure range are all wines where the fruit did not need oak. This is an opaque purple red, with a pure aroma of cassis fruit with some mild sweet herbal and delicate warm spice notes. It is full-bodied and well-balanced by soft acidity and fine tannin. Very good length. Try with a steak. Over 3800 bottles remain.

Vina Tarapaca Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, Maipo Valley Chile ($11.95 was $13.95) – New to Top 50
This is a typical Maipo Valley cabernet with a fragrant nose of cassis fruit with blackberry, mint, menthol and mild oak spice. It is very smooth on the palate with a fine balance and good to very good length. It is structured for aging, but is drinking well now. Best 2019 to 2025. Decant for an hour and enjoy with a steak.

Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage Port 2014, Douro Superior, Portugal ($15.95 was $18.95) – New to Top 50
A rich, powerful port with a perfumed nose. Expect fresh, sweet, blackberry and blueberry fruit aromas, with vanilla, warm spice and floral notes. It is full-bodied and very rich with sweet blackberry fruit balanced by soft acidity. The considerable alcohol (20%) is balanced on the finish. Very good length. Try with hard, mature cheese and dark chocolate.

Cesari Mara Valpolicella Ripasso 2016, Veneto, Italy ($16.95 was $19.95) – New to Top 50
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.

Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Colchagua Valley, Chile ($16.95 was $19.95) – New to Top 50 , Vintages Essential
This is a lovely, elegant cabernet. Most Chilean cabernet sauvignon comes from the Maipo Valley but Montes produces this wine from the warmer Colchagua Valley. 50% comes from the home vineyards in Apalta and the rest from Marchigue. Expect aromas of cassis, mint and eucalyptus with dark chocolate notes and blueberry fruit which is a marker for Marchigue for me. It is pure and clean with good focus and fine mature tannins. Full-bodied but seems lighter. It is well-balanced and juicy with excellent length and is cellar worthy. There is a mineral freshness to the finish. Best 2019 to 2025.

Graham’s Late Bottled Vintage Port 2014, Douro Valley, Portugal ($17.95) – New to Top 50
The 2014 is less fragrant than recent vintages, with delicate, complex aromas of blackberry and blueberry fruit with baked lemon, dark chocolate plus some mild sweet herbal and warm spice notes. It’s full-bodied, very smooth, and well-balanced, with some fine tannin for structure. It is amazingly light on the palate despite the 20% alcohol. Very good to excellent length. Enjoy on its own or with dried fruits and nuts.

Top Value Whites

Trapiche Pure Chardonnay 2017, Mendoza Argentina ($10.95 was $14.95) – New to Top 50 , Delisted
The Pure range from Trapiche are rich wines that do not need any oak to be complete. That is a challenge with chardonnay but it works here with this minerally, clean, pure wine. The nose shows lemon, melon and apple fruit with some delicate floral hints. The lightweight palate is quite Chablis-like with a fine seam of flinty lemon flavour. Very good length. Don’t over-chill and try with delicate seafood like oysters, shrimp or crab. Over 4700 bottles remain.

Santa Carolina Chardonnay Reserva 2017, Leyda Valley, Chile ($12.95) – New to Top 50
This chardonnay is consistently great value. It is quite delicious with a creamy, lively palate and nicely integrated, mild oak spice. The nose shows melon and pear fruit with lemon with a hint of ginger spice. It is smooth on the palate and it finishes almost dry with very good length. Try with white meats, creamy cheeses and seafood. Don’t over-chill.

Riverlore Sauvignon Blanc 2018, Marlborough, New Zealand ($14.25 was $16.75) – New to Top 50
This is a lovely, crisp, juicy sauvignon with its classic Marlborough nose of passion-fruit, lime, hay and minty lavender. It is midweight and well-balanced with a flavourful palate and fresh, dry mineral and herbal grapefruit finish. Very good length. Try with grilled calamari or creamy goats cheese.

Novas Gran Reserva Sauvignon Blanc Organic 2018, San Antonio Valley, Chile ($15.95) – New to Top 50
This is a lovely, pure, clean sauvignon from the cool coastal San Antonio Valley which is now regarded as one of the best places for sauvignon blanc in Chile. Expect fresh crisp aromas of lime, pear and honeydew melon fruit with some sweet herbal tones. The palate has just enough sweetness to balance the mouthwatering acidity with some nice, sweet herbal flavours. Try with seafood or herbed chicken dishes or creamy goats cheese.

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

Today’s report pulls best buys from Steve’s Top 50 which is a standing WineAlign list based on quality/price ratio of the 1,600 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

Editor’s Note: You can find our complete critic reviews by clicking on any of the wine 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!