Top Values at the LCBO (December 2019)

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

by Steve Thurlow

There are lots of wines discounted at the LCBO in December; many of which are white. Sales of white wine in Ontario drops as soon as there is white stuff on the ground. Do we not eat seafood, cheese, chicken and veal during the winter? Anyway, to counteract this annual decline, many whites have big discounts this month. So checkout these super values. I have chosen six whites plus six reds.

Santa Steve

I highlight those joining the list along with some that were on last month’s list but are discounted this month. So they’re an even better value now. However I do encourage you to consult my entire Top 50 Best Values List given all the discounts (LTOs) and BAMs for the next four weeks.

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

  • Eight wines that joined the Top 50 this month.
  • Some big discounts; one by over $5.
  • One delisted wine with thousands of bottles in inventory.
  • All wines score 87 or more points.
  • Two Vintages Essentials

The current promotional period runs until January 5th 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.

Alamos Selección Malbec 2016 

Top Value Reds

João Portugal Ramos Loios Red 2018, Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal ($9.40 + 5 BAMs) Top 50 December
The 2018 vintage of this classic Alentejo blend of aragonês (tempranillo), trincadeira and castelão is midweight and very juicy and as always is excellent value. It is a ripe, fleshy, clean, easy-drinking wine with soft tannins and fresh red berry fruit flavours. Think pinot noir. For a wine at this price there is, surprisingly, some complexity with herbal and spicy notes. Good depth of flavour and good length. Try with BBQ meats or hard mature cheese. 

Vin Vale Shiraz 2016, McLaren Vale, South Australia ($11.95 was $17.00) Top 50 December, Delisted
This is a typical McLaren Vale shiraz with lovely lemony acidity to give vibrancy and freshness to the palate and nose. Expect aromas of blackberry and blueberry fruit with well integrated subtle oak spice plus some fresh herbal tones. The full bodied palate shows some elegance with the fruit persisting well on the finish. Good to very good length. Over 2500 bottles remain.

Passo Del Sud Appassimento 2017, Puglia, Italy ($9.75 was $12.10) Top 50 December
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 plus vanilla and mild oak spice, quite complex and very pure. The full bodied palate is almost dry with vibrant acidity plus some dry tannin for balance. Decent length. Try with a rich duck ragu.

João Portugal Ramos Loios Red 2018  Vin Vale Shiraz 2016  Passo Del Sud Appassimento 2017

Casillero Del Diablo Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, Central Valley, Chile ($12.00 was $14.00) New to Top 50
This popular Chilean cab has less oak and is lighter in weight than most. The nose shows red cherry and raspberry fruit with sweet basil and floral tones and soft well integrated oak spice. The midweight palate is dry with the fruit well balanced by fine tannin and lemony acidity. Good to very good  length. A degree of elegance and some complexity for a wine at this price. Try with a grilled meats or hard mature cheese.

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.

Monte Zovo Sa’ Solin Ripasso Valpolicella 2017, Veneto, Italy ($17.95 was $19.95) New to Top 50, Vintages Essential
2017 is the best vintage I think ever for this classy elegant Valpolicella that is lighter in weight than most ripasso. Expect aromas of red cherry and raspberry fruit with hints of cranberry jelly with soft spice notes. The fruity flavourful palate is juicy and smooth with soft yet vibrant acidity and fine tannin. Good focus with a fruity dry finish. Very good length. Try with grilled meats or hard mature cheese.

Casillero Del Diablo Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2018  Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage Port 2014  Monte Zovo Sa' Solin Ripasso Valpolicella 2017

Top Value Whites

Stoneleigh Sauvignon Blanc 2019, Marlborough, New Zealand ($14.95 was $17.95) New to Top 50
Stoneleigh sauvignon blanc comes from the central part of the Wairau Valley where it is grown on gravelly river soils which augment the aromas and flavours and add mouthwatering grapefruit acidity. The 2019 is softer than recent vintages with a nose of green apple skin with lemon and mint plus some floral tones. The palate has lovely fresh soft acidity which drives the fruit well on to the long finish. Very good length and mouth watering with enough sweetness to balance the acid. Try with herb or vegetable pasta dishes or delicate seafood.

Lacheteau Sauvignon Blanc 2018, Touraine, Loire Valley, France ($14.95) New to Top 50
This is a lovely zesty mineral toned sauvignon that is very typical of the Touraine area. Expect aromas of apple and melon fruit with lemon citrus and chalky wet stone. It is midweight with a firm acidic backbone and is delightfully vibrant and pure with good focus and very good length. Enjoy with rich seafood, creamy pasta sauces and roast chicken, veal or pork.

Babich Sauvignon Blanc 2018, Marlborough, New Zealand ($14.95 was $17.95) Top 50 December
This is a creamy delicious sauvignon with fine soft aromas of pear, melon and lemon with some dry hay notes. It is got a rich creamy palate with the fruit well supported by lemony acidity. There is mineral toned lingering finish with just enough fruit sweetness to balance the acidity. Very good length. Enjoy with roast herbed chicken or sautéed seafood.

Stoneleigh Sauvignon Blanc 2019   Lacheteau Sauvignon Blanc 2018 Babich Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Rapitala Grillo Organic 2017, Sicily, Italy ($10.95 was $13.95) New to Top 50
This is a delicate dry white made from grillo one of Sicily’s best indigenous white grapes. Expect aromas of ripe rear and melon fruit with a nutty tone plus some floral hints. It is lightweight and creamy with fine balancing acidity and very good length. Try with mildly flavored seafood or chicken dishes.

Alvear Medium Dry Sherry, Montilla Moriles, Spain ($14.05 + 6 BAMs) Top 50 December
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. The nose shows fruit cake aromas with baked orange and nutty tones which are reflected on the palate. It is complex, well balanced and has a fairly tight structure. Try with seared foie gras or sip it with mixed dried fruit and nuts. It is especially good with blue cheese when the sweetness nicely balances the bitterness from the blue parts. It comes from Montilla, which is just outside of Jerez. This is a nutty, almost dry wine is not your grandmother’s cream sherry.

Malivoire Chardonnay 2017, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario ($17.95 was $19.95)  New to Top 50, Vintages Essential
This is a classic Niagara chardonnay and for less than $20 is a great buy. It has a lovely soft creamy texture with the palate well driven by acidity. The nose shows ripe apple, white peach and melon fruit with toffee, baked lemon and mild oak spice. It is finely balanced and midweight and quite rich. Very good length. Try with roast veal or pork.

Rapitala Grillo Organic 2017  Alvear Medium Dry Sherry  Malivoire Chardonnay 2017

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!