Top Values at the LCBO (December 2020)

Bumper Crop of Values

by Steve Thurlow

I am excited to tell you that so many wines joined the  Top50 Best Values List  this month that I decided to write about more than usual in this report. It is great to have such a bumper crop for the upcoming Holidays with many big discounts. This is due to the wines I have tasted since I last wrote, plus the large number and also the value of discounts offered by the LCBO in the run up to the New Year.

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


I have chosen below 14 wines, 3 whites and 11 reds, for you to read about, all of which  joined the list this month. However I do encourage you to consult my entire Top50 Best Values List given all the discounts (LTOs) and Bonus Air Miles (BAMs) for the next few weeks.

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

  • Eight discounted wines; most by $2 or more.
  • Three Vintages Essentials.
  • Five wines for less than $10.
  • One VQA white.
  • All wines below scored 87 or more

The current promotional period runs until January 3rd, 2021 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.


Fantini 2018 Montepulciano D’ Abruzzo,  Abruzzo, Italy ($8.95)
New to Top50
This fruity southern Italian red is great value with pure lemony blackberry aromas and flavours plus licorice and tobacco notes. The palate is midweight, round and juicy with the fruit well balanced by soft acidity and mild tannin. Very good length. Try with pizza, sausages or mature cheese. Quite delicious in its simple way.

Fantini 2019 Sangiovese, Abruzzo, Italy ($8.95)
New to Top50
The 2019 vintage of this very drinkable red is very good especially considering that it is less than $9. It is soft yet there is some structure for food balance and it has very good length. The nose shows red cherry and raspberry fruit with beets plus some mild spice and herbal notes. It is a simple yet versatile food wine, try with pasta, pizza, burgers in fact any meat or cheese dish will work since acidity is good and tannins soft.

Finimondo 2017 Rosso, Sicily, Italy ($9.20 was $11.15)
New to Top50
This has a fragrant nose of ripe but not overripe red cherry fruit with raspberry jam and hints of sweet herbs. It is midweight and juicy with lovely soft acidity and a good depth of berry fruit flavour. Good length with some tannin for grip on the finish. Enjoy with mildly spicy meats or enjoy on its own lightly chilled.

Fonseca 2019 Periquita, Peninsula De Setubal, Portugal ($9.45)
New to Top50
2019 is another good vintage of this inexpensive juicy red. They claim that it was the first red table wine ever to be bottled in Portugal in 1850 and it is comes from vineyards in the Setubal Peninsula near Lisbon as usual. It has been at the LCBO for ever and is made from the native grape castello frances. Expect aromas of black and red cherry fruit with dusty and mineral tones with a hint of tobacco. The flavour depth and complexity are good for the money, as is the balance. A lot going on for less than $10. Try with pizza, burgers or mature hard cheese.

Robertson Winery Chapel 2019 Red, Robertson, South Africa ($9.95 plus 3 BAMs)
New to Top50
This is a lovely inexpensive red blend from the Cape of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and pinotage. It is finely balanced and very pure with vibrant acidity good focus and very good length. Quite complex for such an inexpensive wine with aromas and flavours of red cherry, raspberry and strawberry fruit with mild spice and soft sweet herbal tones. Enjoy on its own or with a wide variety of meat and cheese dishes.

Fleur Du Cap 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon, Western Cape, South Africa ($13.00)
New to Top50
2017 is the best vintage I can recall of this juicy cabernet from the Cape with none of the greenness that somewhat marred it in the past. It is a deep ruby red with dusty red cherry and black currant fruit aromas toned by cranberry jelly and wood smoke. The palate is full bodied and finely balanced with vibrant acidity and mild tannin. Good varietal character, good focus and very good length. Try with a steak.

Wolf Blass Yellow Label 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, Langhorne Creek Mclaren Vale, South Australia ($13.95 was $16.95)
New to Top50
This wine is made in enormous quantities and has been popular for decades. However it is a wine that has been gradually changing stylistically for some time now, with each new vintage. The 2018 is drier and better structured than this wine was ten vintages ago and also it has more complexity and less oak influence. The nose shows dusty black cherry and cassis fruit with subtle well integrated oak spice plus some delicate beetroot and floral tones. It is full bodied and juicy with fine balancing acidity and firm tannin. Very good length. It will improve with some more time in bottle. Best 2021 to 2025. Decant for an hour or so and try with a steak. Last tasted October 2020.

Monte Antico 2015, Tuscany, Italy ($13.95 was $15.95) (Vintages Essential)
New to Top50
Cabernet sauvignon and merlot represent just 15% in this modern styled red blend with sangiovese from Tuscany. It is soft and approachable but has enough structure for mildly flavoured meats and cheese. Expect aromas of raspberry, strawberry and cherry fruit with mild oak spice plus some floral and leather hints. It is mid-weight and juicy with ripe fruit and is lively yet there is just enough tannic grip on the finish to keep it balanced. An easy drinking red that would be good on its own.

Pérez Cruz 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva, Maipo Valley, Chile ($14.95) (Vintages Essential)
New to Top50
2018 was a very good vintage in Chile and though this wine has consistently been good for a long time, the 2018 is one of the best I can recall. It is great value and is 90% cabernet sauvignon with some carmenere, syrah and petit verdot. It has a fragrant nose of sweet basil with blackberry and black cherry fruit with some jammy notes and soft oak spice all toned by typical Maipo mint. It was matured for 12 months in barriques, 60% American oak and 40% French oak. The palate is very smooth and juicy with enough acid and tannin to give it some structure. Very good length.

19 Crimes 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, Limestone Coast, South Australia, (16.95 was $18.95)
New to Top50
This is a well structured, dry but juicy cabernet with some elegance; unlike the fierce looking bloke on the label. The nose shows black cherry and cassis fruit with black olive, mild oak spice with a dusty tone plus some floral notes. It is full bodied with the fruit well balanced by lively acidity and firm dry tannin. The focus is good with a long lingering finish. Very good length.

Montes Alpha 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, Colchagua Valley, Chile ($19.95 plus 10 BAMs) (Vintages Essential)
New to Top50
This is a remarkably smooth, soft and fruity cassis fragrant cabernet that has a lot of charm. Expect aromas of black currant and blackberry fruit with pencil shavings plus some smoke, jam and herbal tones. Though full bodied with velvety tannins it seems lighter due to the fine balancing acidity. There is some elegance with a dry soft tannic finish. Very good to excellent length. For fine dining with roast meats or strongly flavoured cheese.


Cave Spring 2017 Riesling Dry, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario ($13.95 was $15.95)
New to Top50
This is classic dry Niagara riesling with fragrant aromas of green apple, lime citrus with delicate floral and mineral tones. It is light to midweight with fine firm acidity and nice even flavours of dry apple fruit with just enough sugar (8gm/l) to balance the acidity, while making it feel dry. Very good length. Very classy. Try with raw seafood like oysters or maybe creamy goats cheese.

Chapoutier Belleruche 2019 White, Cotes Du Rhone, France ($16.95)
New to Top50
This flavourful unoaked white has an appealing nose of ripe pear and yellow plum fruit with lemon and honey with a chalky mineral tone. It is made from a blend of Rhone white grapes and has a firm rich dry palate and is a pale onion skin in colour maybe indicating extended skin contact. It is midweight and very flavourful with the fruit well balanced. Elegant with a long and focused finish. Lovely soft acidity and very good length. Try with sauteed pork or veal or a rich chicken dish.

Villa Maria Private Bin 2020 Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand ($15.95 was $17.95)
New to Top50
This is a classic Marlborough sauvignon which delivers a lot for a wine at this price. I love the fragrant nose with its lemon, passion fruit and gooseberry aromas toned by complex warm notes of dried herbs, ginger and lavender. So very enticing. The palate is dry, firm and elegant with lively mouthwatering grapefruit acidity and midweight richness. It finishes as it starts, fresh and clean with 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.

Stay safe and healthy and all the best for Christmas and the New Year.


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!