Top Values at the LCBO (September 2020)

by Steve Thurlow

There is a bumper batch of $8 and $9 whites and reds this month to tell you about. I have been tasting new vintages of my favourites;  some of which are better then the last vintage and so have joined the Top50 Best Values List. There are lots of interesting discounts this month at the LCBO and an unprecedented 16 wines joined the Top50 list. These include two lovely, inexpensive Italian wines, that are new at the LCBO, which jumped straight onto the Top50 List.

So venture out and visit an LCBO store and pick up some of the twelve wines below that are on my current Top50 Best Value List.

I have chosen below 12 wines, 3 whites plus 9 reds, for you to read about. Of those all but two joined the list this month.

However I do encourage you to consult my entire Top50 Best Values List given all the discounts (LTOs) and BAMs for the next 4 weeks. You can also check out the Top 20 Under $20 at the LCBO list.


Among the wines in today’s report about the Top50:

  • Ten wines that joined the Top50 this month.
  • All are less than $11.00 except for an LBV Port ($2.50 off)
  • Seven reds for less than $9.
  • Three whites for less than $10.
  • All wines scored 87 or more

The current promotional period runs until October 11th, 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.

Editors Note: You can find our complete critic reviews by clicking on any of the wine names, bottle images or links highlighted. Paid subscribers to WineAlign see all critic reviews immediately. Non-paid users wait 60 days to see new reviews. Membership has its privileges; like first access to great value wines!


João Portugal Ramos Loios Red 2018, Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal ($8.50 was $9.50) – Top50 September
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 very good length. Try with BBQ meats or hard mature cheese.

Bons Ventos Red 2017, Vinho Regional Lisboa, Portugal ($8.75 was $10.75) – Top50 September
This Portuguese red blend is made from several indigenous grapes on the coast near Lisbon. The 2017 vintage is the best yet of this great value, charming wine. I love the new label. Expect perfumed ripe fruit aromas of blackberry and blueberry fruit with lemon and floral notes. The fruit on the midweight palate is ripe, but it is well balanced by lemony acidity and soft, mature tannin. Nicely structured, pure, bright and fresh. Very good length. Enjoy on its own or with BBQ meats.

Fuzion Shiraz Malbec 2019, Mendoza, Argentina ($8.95) – New to Top50
Over the years the style of this Argentine red blend of shiraz and malbec has morphed to be better structured and drier than when it first appeared to runaway success in 2007. The 2019 continues the trend. Expect a mild nose of red cherry and plum fruit with delicate spice and earthy tones. It shows considerable maturity for a wine so young. It is midweight, juicy, dry and balanced with decent structure for such an inexpensive wine. Good length. Enjoy with meaty pasta sauces, pizza and bbq meats.


Santa Carolina Cabernet Sauvignon 2019, Rapel Valley, Chile ($8.95) – New to Top50  
This is consistently one of the best value cabernets at the LCBO. The 2019 continues the pattern. It is fresh, pure and clean with a good depth of flavour, decent structure and very good length. Simple and correct with mild aromas of black cherry and plum fruit with spicy and herbal tones. It is midweight, juicy and very drinkable. Try with bbq or grilled meats.

Mezzomondo Negroamaro 2018, Salento, Puglia, Italy ($9.00 was $10.00) – New to Top50
This wine remains one of the best red values at LCBO with another good vintage in 2018. It is a flavourful, very drinkable red from Puglia made from the indigenous negroamaro grape. Red and black cherry fruit with some plummy tones are complemented by sweet herbal and warm spice notes. It is midweight with the fruit well supported by some delicate, mature tannin. Good to very good length.

Casal Thaulero Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, Terre Di Chieti, Abruzzo, Italy ($9.00) – New to Top50
The 2018 vintage is a step up from the 2017 vintage of this balanced, dry red. There is surely a lot going on for the money. It is midweight with a nose of red and black cherry fruit with some herbal and mild spice notes. The palate is smooth with the fruit well balanced by soft tannin and lively acidity. Good focus. It finishes fruity and dry so can be enjoyed on its own but it will be better with food, like meaty pasta sauces or grilled meats or mature cheese. Good to very good length.


Tavernello Sangiovese Cabernet 2018, Rubicone, Emila Romagna, Italy ($9.00) – New to Top50, New to LCBO
This  new arrival at LCBO is great value for an easy drinking well balanced red blend of sangiovese and cabernet. Expect mild aromas of plum and raspberry fruit with some delicate spice and leathery notes. It is midweight and juicy with some fruit sweetness such that it is fine on its own but will be better with food. Balanced with good to very good length. Versatile food red with meats and cheese.

Vinologist Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Stellenbosch, South Africa ($10.95 was $12.95) – New to Top50
This is a well balanced, midweight, fruity red with an appealing nose of red cherry and raspberry fruit with some spice and floral notes. The palate shows some fruit sweetness such that it can be enjoyed on its own but will be better with food. The palate is almost full-bodied with vibrant acidity and mild tannin. Very good length. Versatile red with good varietal character and good for meats, cheese and rich vegetable dishes.

Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage Port 2015, Douro Superior, Portugal ($16.50 was $19.00) – New to Top50
This port is so welcoming with its perfumed nose of ripe blackberry and blueberry fruit with vanilla, violets and lemon marmalade. It is great value for such a rich yet graceful port. The acidity tames the alcohol and keeps the sweetness from being cloying. It is full-bodied but seems lighter and there is no heat from the considerable alcohol (20%). The finish is so finely balanced. Very good length. Try with hard mature cheese, dried fruits or dark chocolate.



Cavallina Grillo Pinot Grigio 2018, Sicily, Italy ($8.50 was $10.25) – New to Top50
Grillo, one of my favourite Sicilian native grapes is blended here with pinot grigio. It is a flavourful, well-balanced white at a great price. Expect aromas of ripe pear and white peach fruit with some floral and sweet herbal hints. It is fairly simple but well-balanced with very good length and has a soft creamy texture. Enjoy with sautéed seafood.

Tavernello Pinot Bianco Famosa 2018, Rubicone, Emilia Romagna, Italy ($8.95) – New to Top50, New to LCBO
This rich white blend is a recent arrival at the LCBO and what good value it is. The blend is pinot grigio with the ancient indigenous grape famoso. Famoso was rediscovered recently after years of neglect in Italy and adds lovely aromatic notes and rich flavours to pinot grigio’s often bland characteristics. Expect aromas of ripe pear with melon, plus floral orange with hints of custard. The creamy palate is well-balanced with good to very good length. Chill lightly and enjoy as an aperitif or with rich seafood, cheese and chicken dishes.

Fuzion Alta Torrontes Pinot Grigio 2019, Mendoza, Argentina ($9.95 was $11.95) – New to Top50
This white blend of pinot grigio with the indigenous Argentine grape torrontes is very concentrated with abundant aromas. The nose shows ripe melon fruit with lemon marmalade, evergreen pine and honeysuckle. The palate is very full with the rich fruit flavours well-balanced by vibrant acidity. Try as an aperitif or with mildly spicy dishes or roast chicken.


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 1600 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.


Steve Thurlow

Top 50 Value Wines
Top 20 Under $20
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!