Top Values at the LCBO (February 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

You can save big time again this month and so continue an “economical” 2020. I have some great buys to tell you about with many wines discounted at the LCBO. Plus I have been busy tasting and found some great new buys to add to the Top 50 list.  I have chosen four whites plus eight reds, so below there are 12 to discover.

I write about those joining the list and some, that were on last month’s list, but are now discounted this month. So even better value. However I do 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 :

  • Five wines that joined the Top 50 this month.
  • Seven for less than $12. Great buys for an economical February.
  • Some big discounts; one by over $5.
  • One delisted wine with thousands of bottles in inventory.
  • One Vintages Essential at $3 off.
  • All wines scored 88 points or more.

The current promotional period runs until March 1st 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

Root: 1 Carmenère 2017, Colchagua Valley, Chile ($11.45 was $13.95) Top 50 February
The Root: 1 wines are made by Ventisquero in Chile’s Colchagua Valley. This is a ripe pure carmenere with cassis, dark chocolate and basil aromas with lemon and dried kelp notes. It is very smooth with fine chalky tannin on the finish. I think that it will gain in complexity with a year or two of bottle age. Try with juicy lamb cutlets.

Vin Vale Shiraz 2016, McLaren Vale, South Australia ($11.95 was $17.00) Top 50 February, 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 1100 bottles remain.

Argento Reserva Malbec 2015, Mendoza, Argentina ($11.95 was $14.45) New to Top 50
This is an almost opaque aromatic malbec that’s midweight with a lingering dry finish. Expect aromas of blackberry and black cherry fruit with dark chocolate and vanilla. It is very smooth, well balanced with a smoky dry finish with some firm tannin. Very good length. Best 2020 to 2022. Try with a juicy duck breast.

Chapoutier Marius 2018, Languedoc, France ($11.95 was $13.95) New to Top 50
This is a blend of grenache and syrah that feels traditional southern French but is stylistically modern with pure ripe fruit. Expect aromas of red and black cherry with some plum jam, vanilla and sweet herbal notes. It is medium to full bodied with some fine tannin and soft acidity. Very good length.

Vina Tarapaca Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, Maipo Valley, Chile ($11.95 was $13.95) Top 50 February
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 2020 to 2025. Decant for an hour and enjoy with a steak.

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. With fragrant aromas, 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. There is a mineral freshness to the finish.

Santa Carolina Reserva De Familia Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Maipo Valley, Chile ($17.95 was $19.95) New to Top 50, Vintages Essential
This classic elegant Chilean cabernet comes from the Alto Maipo Valley and is an opaque purple wine with the aromatic signature of the Maipo valley on the nose. Expect blackberry and cassis fruit with the characteristic minty and herbal complexity plus a touch of dark chocolate. The palate is elegant and deeply flavoured with vibrant juicy acidity plus some dry tannin underneath and a very even texture. Very good to excellent length. Best 2020 to 2025. Try with roast red meats or mature cheddar. An hour in a decanter will help if consuming in the next year.

Frescobaldi Tenuta Di Castiglioni 2016, Tuscany, Italy ($18.95 was $21.95) Top 50 February, Vintages Essential
This is an elegant powerful fragrant red blend of cabernet sauvignon with sangiovese. Expect aromas of black cherry and blackberry fruit, with smoke, herbal tones and subtle oak spice. It is finely balanced with good focus and well structured so should age well. Very good to excellent length. Drinking well now with a gentle palate, but will gain in complexity with further aging. Best 2021 to 2027.

Top Value Whites

Robertson Winery Chenin Blanc 2019, Robertson, South Africa ($9.45) New to Top 50
This chenin from the Cape is consistently fabulous value for a juicy, fruity and quite fat white. It is crisp with a fine balance and very good length. Expect delicate aromas of apple and melon fruit with a hint of ginger spice. There is a good depth of flavour. Enjoy with seafood or chicken or creamy pasta sauces or just sip on its own.

Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier Reserva 2019, Colchagua Valley Chile ($9.65 was $11.65) Top 50 February
This is an inexpensive fragrant and very rich white. Expect perfumed aromas of apricot, honeysuckle, tangerine, vanilla and anise with a hint of ginger spice. It has an appealing freshness and vitality with well integrated flavours and a round firm baked lemon and licorice finish. Finely balanced and pure with very good length. Enjoy as an aperitif or with mildly flavoured Asian cuisine or white meat dishes.

Santa Carolina Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2018, Leyda Valley, Chile ($10.95 was $12.95) Top 50 February
Each vintage of this Leyda Valley sauvignon seems to get a little better no doubt to these vines maturing. It is a creamy smooth sauvignon with aromas of white peach, lemongrass and passion fruit plus a hint of white pepper. It is rich yet lively on the palate with good depth of flavour. Very good length. Try with sautéed chicken or rich seafood.

Casas Del Bosque Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2018, Casablanca Valley, Chile ($13.95 was $14.95) New to Top 50
This is a typical Casablanca sauvignon with a fine nose of lemon, passion fruit, green apple and grapefruit with some dry hay tones. It is fresh and lively with a creamy palate with lots of mouthwatering acidity and soft ripe fruit. Very good length. Try with creamy goats cheese or mildly flavoured seafood. Very good length.

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!