Top Values at the LCBO (November 2020)

Big discounts… some $3 and more.

by Steve Thurlow

12 wines joined the Top50 this month and all but one shows a discount. I also sadly report a delist of one of my favourites from Chile. Plus, I have been tasting new vintages of several wines; some of which are better than the last vintage, and so they have joined the Top50 Best Values List. A few wines were disappointing so they fell off the list.

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 also 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:

  • Eleven wines that joined the Top50 this month
  • Ten discounted wines; most by $2 or more
  • One delist that is $3.25 off
  • Four wines for less than $10
  • All wines below scored 87 or more

The current promotional period runs until November 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.


Argento Seleccion Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, Mendoza, Argentina ($9.50 was $11.50)
New to Top50
This cabernet has a nice authentic feel with a sensitive use of oak that allows the fresh pure fruit to be appreciated. Expect mild aromas of red cherry and black cherry fruit with delicate oak spice notes plus some dry herbal tones. It is midweight with a clean juicy palate and very good length. It finishes dry with fine tannin for closure and giving some grip. Try with bbq meats or burgers.

Graham’s Late Bottled Vintage Port 2014, Douro Valley, Portugal ($16.05 was $18.55)
New to Top50
Expect delicate complex aromas of blackberry and blueberry fruit with baked lemon, dark chocolate plus some mild sweet herbal and warm spice notes. 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.

Catena Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Mendoza, Argentina ($17.95 was $19.95)
New to Top50
This is a lovely elegant, pure cabernet sauvignon from the land of malbec. The better wines from Mendoza are often the cabernets but we are hooked on their malbecs for the present. This is a floral soft juicy cabernet with a nose of cassis, blackberry and lemon fruit with graphite plus some sweet herbal tones and mild oak spice and hints of tobacco and dark chocolate. It is full-bodied and well balanced with a velvety smooth palate and firm tannin. Nice clean lines and very good length. Try with a steak. Best 2020 to 2025.

Tenuta Frescobaldi Castiglioni 2018, Toscana, Italy ($21.95)
New to Top50
This is an impressive, stylish, modern Tuscan red with bright red and black currant fruit, warm spice, lemon and vanilla, all nicely integrated. It is finely balanced and dense with firm ripe tannin that makes it a good cellar candidate. Very good length, with a hint on minerality on the finish. Another 2-3 years of bottle age will help complexity develop and improve integration and give it an even smoother texture. Decant for an hour or so and try with a steak. Best 2022 to 2026.


Cavallina Grillo Pinot Grigio 2018, Sicily, Italy ($8.15 was $10.15)
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.

Citra Pinot Grigio 2018, Terre Di Chieti, Abruzzo, Italy ($8.65 was $9.65)
New to Top50
This is a rich, creamy pinot grigio from southern Italy. It is golden yellow with delicate aromas of apple and ripe pear fruit with some floral notes and a hint of honey. The flavourful palate is well balanced with firm acidity and very good length. Don’t overchill and enjoy on its own or with a wide range of cheese, chicken and seafood dishes.

Periquita White 2018, Peninsula De Setubal, Portugal ($9.45)
New to Top50
Sauvignon blanc has been added to this blend of viognier, verdelho and viosinho (an indigenous grape) in the 2018 vintage. The nose is fragrant with aromas of melon and green plum fruit with floral and sweet herbal tones and a hint lemon marmalade. The well balanced palate has lots of flavour and is creamy smooth with some fruit sweetness, yet it finishes dry with very good length. Super value. Enjoy with mildly flavoured seafood. Don’t overchill.

Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier Reserva 2020, Central Valley, Chile ($9.65 was $11.65)
New to Top50
The 2020 vintage is excellent and stylistically somewhat changed, that I am guessing is due to a more skin contact. The nose is perfumed with floral peach and apricot fruit with lemon and warm sweet herbal notes. The palate is initially juicy fruity with rich ripe green plum flavour but soon some lovely firm herbal flavours kick in. The finish is dry and firm with a grapey flavour. Very good to excellent length. Enjoy on its own or with gruyere cheese or maybe with rich roast chicken.

Santa Rita Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2018, Casablanca Valley, Chile ($11.70 was $14.95)
Top50 November
This is an excellent sauvignon with good varietal character. Expect aromas of tropical fruit with bell pepper and lime citrus with a juicy well structured palate that is intensely flavoured with very good length. Fresh and lively with good focus and very pure. Very good length. Over 1100 bottles remain.

Riverlore Sauvignon Blanc 2019, Marlborough, New Zealand ($13.75 was $16.75)
New to Top50
This is a crisp, juicy sauvignon with a typical Marlborough nose of guava and lemon fruit, with sweet herbal tones plus hints of ginger and peppermint. It is midweight, soft and well balanced with a creamy rich palate and delicate dry finish. Very good length. Try with grilled seafood or creamy goats cheese.


Malivoire Estate Grown Chardonnay 2018, VQA Beamsville Bench, Ontario ($17.95 was $19.95)
New to Top50
This chardonnay is a fine, cool climate example that is classic Niagara. It is classy with aromas of pear and apple with lemon, mild oak spice with a mineral tone. The palate is velvety smooth, finely balanced and midweight with the fruit supported by soft acidity and toned by minerality on the finish. Very good length. Try with poultry or roast pork or veal.

Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay 2018, Livermore Valley, San Francisco Bay, California ($17.95 was $19.95)
New to Top50
This estate grown chardonnay, coming from the often foggy Livermore Valley, is a creamy, velvety smooth chardonnay. The complex nose shows mild oak spice and vanilla with peach and custard and lemon aromas with some ripe pear fruit. It is midweight and ripe, a touch sweet but stylish with fine balancing acidity. Well balanced with very good to excellent 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

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 30 days to see new reviews. Membership has its privileges; like first access to great value wines!