Top Values at the LCBO (March 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

I am in New Zealand as I write this report that is designed to alert you to changes to my Top 50 list. Fourteen of the wines on the current Top 50 are either discounted or come with Bonus Air Miles (BAMs) in March. I have chosen five whites and seven reds so there are 12 for you to discover.

I write about those joining the list and some that were on last month’s list that 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 :

  • Ten wines that joined the Top 50 this month.
  • Four for less than $12.
  • Some big discounts; two of $3.
  • One VQA red.
  • One Vintages Essential.
  • All wines scored 88 points or more.

The current promotional period runs until March 29th, 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

Luigi Bosca La Linda Malbec 2018, Mendoza, Argentina ($10.95 was $12.95) – New to Top50 and New to LCBO
This new LCBO listing is a fragrant rather elegant midweight red for a great price. It is dry and quite understated with a delicate nose of red cherry and plum fruit with mild oak spice plus some herbal tones. The palate is smooth and dry with a lingering fruity finish with fine structural tannin giving some grip. Best with food. Try with roast meats or creamy cheese like brie. Very good length.

La Vieille Ferme Red 2018, Ventoux, Rhone Valley, France ($10.95 was $12.45) – New to Top50
This is a youthfully exuberant with fresh red cherry and raspberry fruit with white pepper and jammy notes. It is mid-weight and juicy with soft fresh acidity and finishes dry. Good to very good length. A good versatile food red.

Casillero Del Diablo Devil’s Collection Red 2017, Rapel Valley, Chile ($14.40 was $16.30) – New to Top50
This is a structured red blend of cabernet, carmenere and syrah with aromas of red and black cherry fruit with jammy notes and smokey, mild oak spice tones and mineral freshness. It is full bodied and vibrant with soft mature tannin and some elegance. Very good length.

Montecillo Reserva Rioja 2012, Spain ($14.95 was $17.95) – Top50 March
This is a classic, mature red that shows complex, fine aromas of currant and cherry fruit with sandalwood spice, and hints of vanilla, prune and tobacco. The elegant juicy full bodied palate is finely balanced and lively with very good length. Try with grilled lamb cutlets.

Graham’s Late Bottled Vintage Port 2014, Douro Valley, Portugal ($14.95 was $17.95) – Top50 March
The 2014 is less fragrant than recent vintages with delicate complex aromas. It’s full-bodied and 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.

Vineland Estates Cabernet Franc 2017, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario ($14.95) – New to Top50
This is a delicately flavoured cabernet franc which shows good varietal character and reminded me much 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.

Porcupine Ridge Syrah 2018, Swartland, South Africa ($15.95) – New to Top50 and Vintages Essential
The nose shows aromas of dried black and red cherry fruit with black pepper, smoked meat and mild oak spice with a hint of licorice. It is full bodied and quite thick and smooth on the palate with lively acidity and peppery, spicy, ripe fruit. Very good to excellent length. Try with a steak.

Top Value Whites

Rymill The Yearling Sauvignon Blanc 2018, Coonawarra, South Australia ($11.95 was $13.95) – New to Top50
Coonawarra in South Australia is renowned for its cabernet sauvignon, so I am surprised by the quality of this sauvignon blanc, a grape which thrives in cooler climates. Expect aromas of ripe apple and pear fruit with hints of honey and white flowers. The palate is fully flavoured with a fine acid structure and very good length. Try with creamy pasta sauces.

Honoro Vera Rueda 2018, Spain ($12.00 + 7BAMs) – New to Top50
Rueda is now a staple popular selection for white wine from Spain. Here the verdejo grape is used to make fresh yet rich wines with tropical fruit tones to pineapple and lemon fruit with sweet herbal notes. This is a good example with some banana notes added to the aroma profile. The palate is very smooth and flavourful with good focus and very good length. Chill and enjoy with rich seafood, veal or pork dishes.

Jacob’s Creek Chardonnay Reserve 2018, Adelaide Hills, South Australia ($14.95) – New to Top50
This is lovely modern fresh Aussie chardonnay from the relatively cool Adelaide Hills. There is just a hint of oak on nose and palate, enough to add some complexity and structure without dominating. Nicely done. Expect aromas of pear and melon fruit with lemon and mineral tones. It is midweight and juicy with good to very good length.

Saint Clair Family Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2018, Marlborough New Zealand ($16.95 was $18.95) – New to Top50
This is fresh, pure and dry with complex aromas and flavours of lemon and passion fruit with ripe pear and hay. It is midweight and juicy with the fruit nicely balanced with fresh lemony acidity. It is creamy and rich with very good length.

Willm Gewurztraminer Reserve 2018, Alsace, France ($17.95) – New to Top50
I love the lifted exotic aromas of floral tangerine with lychee and apricot with a hint of ginger spice that introduces this boldly flavoured, well balanced classic gewurz from Alsace. It is full bodied and off-dry and is well balanced with good focus. It finishes almost dry with very good to excellent length. Try with mildly spicy Asian cuisine or enjoy on its own.

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!