Top Values at the LCBO (October 2020)

A great batch of $8 and $9 whites & reds.

by Steve Thurlow

Sixteen wines joined the Top50 this month and among them there are many $8 and $9 whites and reds to tell you about. I have been tasting new vintages of several wines; some of which are better than the last vintage and so have joined the Top50 Best Values List  and a few were disappointing and so fell off the list.  Also, I report on some discounts this month at the LCBO that include a lovely, classy malbec that is $3 off and also note the nice unoaked chardonnay that is unfortunately delisted.

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, 6 whites plus 6 reds, for you to read about. Of those all but 2, 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.

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

  • Ten wines that joined the Top50 this month.
  • Nine are less than $12.00.
  • Four reds for less than $10.
  • Four whites for less than $10.
  • All wines below scored 87 or more

The current promotional period runs until November 8th, 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.


Aliança Bairrada Reserva 2018, Bairrada, Portugal ($8.95)
New to Top50
This Portuguese red is amazing value for a clean well balanced wine. It is midweight and juicy with a good depth of flavour and very good length. The nose shows red and black berry fruit with herbal and mild spice tones. It is soft but there is enough tannin and acidity for balance. It finishes dry with fine tannin. Try with roast meats or creamy cheese like brie or enjoy on its own.

Barone Montalto Nero D’avola Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, Sicily, Italy ($9.50)
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.

Bodega Toro Centenario Malbec 2019, Mendoza Argentina ($9.60)
New to Top50
A recent addition to LCBO stores, this is a lovely, soft, fruity, dry malbec that is great value. The fragrant nose shows red cherry and plum fruit with some mild spice notes plus some floral hints. It is midweight and well balanced with soft acidity and mild tannin. Good length with a dry, fruity finish. Exceptional value. Try with burgers or pizza.

Fantini Casale Vecchio Lot Twenty Three Montepulciano Organic 2019, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo ($9.95 was $10.95)
Top50 October
This is a fine inexpensive, quite complex red from the south of Italy with delicate aromas of blackberry and cassis fruit with lemon and sweet herbal tones. It is midweight and juicy with a soft tannic and acidic structure. The length is very good but it is a little tart on the finish. Try with tomato sauces or bbq meats doused with lemon juice.

Santa Carolina Reserva De Familia Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Maipo Valley, Chile ($16.95 was $19.95)
New to Top50
This classic, elegant Chilean cabernet comes from the Alto Maipo Valley. It 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.

Catena Malbec High Mountain Vines 2018, Mendoza, Argentina ($17.95 was $19.95)
New to Top50
2018 is the best vintage I can recall for this classy Mendoza malbec from leading producer Catena, whose high altitude vineyards yield lighter well structured wines like this. Expect aromas of blue and black berry fruit with floral, mild spice and leathery tones. The limited enlightened use of oak and vibrant acidity have integrated well. Very good length. It is succulent and juicy while still being firm especially on the finish. Will improve with a year or two of bottle age, but fine now. For fine dining with meats and cheese. Best 2020 to 2025.


Trapiche Pure Chardonnay 2017, Mendoza, Argentina ($8.85 was $10.95)
Top50 October
The Pure range from Trapiche are rich wines that do not need any oak to be complete. That is a challenge with chardonnay but it works here with this minerally, clean, pure wine. The nose shows lemon, melon and apple fruit with some delicate floral hints. The lightweight palate is quite Chablis-like with a fine seam of flinty lemon flavour. Very good length. Don’t overchill and try with delicate seafood like oysters, shrimp or crab. Over 1300 bottles remain.

Bacalhoa J P Azeitao Branco 2019, Peninsula De Setubal, Portugal ($8.95)
New to Top50
There is a lot going on here for less than $9. This fruity white has a good depth of flavour and lovely, zesty melon apple aromas with lemon sherbet. It is midweight and well balanced with good length. A versatile white for sipping or enjoying with seafood and mildly flavored pork and chicken dishes.

Robertson Winery Chenin Blanc 2019, Robertson Valley, South Africa ($9.45)
New to Top50
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.

Emu Amontillado Medium Dry, Australia ($9.45)
New to Top50
A delightful, very inexpensive, light, slightly sweet sherry-style wine with aromas of candied orange peel, almond, honeysuckle and baked apricot. It is midweight with good acidity and finishes dry so would work well with cold creamy soups, or enjoy well chilled on its own or with biscotti while watching tv. I often have it with Chinese sweet and sour pork. Very good length.

Cono Sur Bicicleta Unoaked Chardonnay Reserva 2019, Central Valley, Chile ($11.65)
New to Top50
This is a lively, pure unoaked chardonnay with white peach and ripe pear fruit with some floral tones and a hint of ginger. It is creamy smooth with a good depth of flavour and very good length. Try with seafood or strongly flavoured cheese.

Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava, Spain ($13.95 was $15.95)
New to Top50
This is one of my favourite inexpensive sparking wines. It is great for receptions as an aperitif with nibbles. Expect a fresh nose of grapefruit, mineral and pear with an elegant delicate soft mousse and a long lingering finish of apple pear fruit. Lots of flavour and super creamy texture. It is midweight, just a tad sweet, but well balanced, fresh and lively. 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 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!