Top Values at the LCBO (January 2020)

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

by Steve Thurlow

It’s a new year and for an “economical” January, I have some great buys to tell you about with many wines discounted at the LCBO. Plus, I have been busy tasting over the Holidays and found some great new buys to add to the Top50 list. I have chosen three whites and nine reds, so below there are 12 wines for you to read about.

I write about those joining the list and some that were on last month’s list, but are now discounted. So they’re even better value. However, I do encourage you to consult my entire Top50 Best Values List given all the discounts (LTOs) and BAMs (Bonus AirMiles) for the next 4 weeks.

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

  • Ten wines that joined the Top 50 this month.
  • Seven for less than $11. Great buys for an economical January.
  • Some big discounts; one by over $9.
  • Two delisted wines with thousands of bottles in inventory.
  • One Vintages Essential at $3 off.

The current promotional period runs until February 2nd 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.

Niagara Icewine Festival 

Top Value Reds

Luccarelli Negroamaro 2018, Puglia, Italy ($7.95 was $8.95) Top50 January
This lively red is consistently good value and the 2018 comes with a new distinctive black and gold label. Expect delicate aromas of black and red cherry fruit with some jammy and sweet herbal notes. It is midweight with the ripe fruit nicely toned by lemony acidity. A little mild tannin shows up on the finish to add some balance. Good to very good length. Try with grilled meats or pizza.

Barone Montalto Nero D’avola Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, Sicily Italy ($8.45 was $9.45) New to Top50
This is a juicy midweight to full-bodied red blend of cabernet sauvignon with the indigenous Sicilian grape nero d’avola. Expect aromas of black and red berry fruit with dry herbal and spicy notes. It is fruity and well structured with soft tannins and vibrant acidity. Very good length. Try with pizza and meaty pasta sauces.

Santa Rita 120 Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, Chile ($9.70 was $11.70) New to Top50
This is a fairly simple, yet somewhat structured, cabernet that is full-bodied with lots of flavour. It shows basic cabernet characteristics with its cassis and black cherry fruit, mint and smoky oak aromas and flavours. The palate is sweetish but the finish is dry with fine tannin. Try with bbq meats or pizza.

Chateau St. Jean Pinot Noir 2016, California ($10.85 was $20.00) New to Top50, Delisted
A fresh, very fruity pinot with aromas of cherry and strawberry fruit, with sweet herbal and jammy notes. There is good depth of flavour and though it is a little sweet, there is acid and mild tannin for balance. Very good length. It finishes dry. Try with mildly spicy crab cakes. Over 2000 bottles remain.

Cusumano Nero d’Avola 2018, Sicily, Italy ($10.95 was $12.95) New to Top50
The 2018 vintage of this fruity Sicilian red is better than recent vintages, with a slightly lighter body, some elegance and more complex aromas. The nose shows fresh aromas of red cherry and raspberry fruit with lemon, floral and herbal tones. It is midweight and juicy with some tannin for structure and acidity for vibrancy. Very good length with a lemony, dry finish and some fine tannin to give a little grip. Try with roast or bbq meats or hard mature cheeses.

Argento Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2016, Mendoza, Argentina ($10.95) New to Top50
This is a midweight, approachable, fruity, dry cabernet, with a nose of savoury black and red berry fruit with delicate, well-integrated oak spice with smoky bacon and leather tones. It is finely balanced with a long, lingering finish, on which the fruit persists well. Very good length. Best with food. Try with roast meats or creamy cheese.

Vin Vale Shiraz 2016, McLaren Vale, South Australia ($11.95 was $17.00) Top50 January, 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 1400 bottles remain.

Porcupine Ridge Syrah 2017, Swartland, South Africa ($12.95 was $15.95) Top50 January, Vintages Essential
Fantastic value. Buy an armful! The palate has some juicy acidity to balance the ripe fruit with a good depth of flavour. The nose is appealing with red and black cherry fruit with black pepper and mild oak spice plus some forest floor accents. Quite European in styling. Midweight with some firm tannin for balance and very good length.

Vineland Estates Cabernet Franc 2017, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario ($13.95 was $14.95) New to Top50
This is a delicately flavoured cabernet franc which shows good varietal character and reminded me of Saumur in France’s Loire Valley. Expect aromas of raspberry fruit with tea and other herbal tones. It is midweight and juicy with a fine balance and very good length with a nice, vibrant acidic structure and fine tannin. Decant for an hour or so and try with roast meats.

Top Value Whites

Mascota Vineyards O P I Chardonnay 2017, Argentina ($9.60 was $11.95) Top50 January
What excellent value for a delicately flavoured, elegant chardonnay which has just a touch of oak for added complexity and structure. Expect aromas of melon and pear fruit with lemon, vanilla and mild oak spice. The palate is midweight and very smooth with a mineral tone. Very good length with a fine, dry finish. Try with rich seafood dishes.

Brancott Sauvignon Blanc 2018, Marlborough, New Zealand ($13.95 was $15.95) New to Top50
This classic Marlborough sauvignon has a herbal toned nose of gooseberry and lemon fruit with hay, lavender and mint. The palate is smooth with vibrant, mouthwatering acidity and just enough sweetness to balance the zesty acid. The finish is dry and firm. Very good length. Try with rich seafood or roast chicken.

Yalumba The Y Series Viognier 2018, South Australia ($14.95) New to Top50
Yalumba has developed a reputation for this variety and the 2018 vintage is the best vintage I can recall. Expect complex, fragrant aromas of ripe peach, floral orange, ginger and lemon marmalade. It is quite full on the palate with the richness nicely balanced by firm acidity. Excellent length. Try with sushi or mildly spicy Asian cuisine.

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!