Top Values at the LCBO (January 2021)

Values for an Economic Month

by Steve Thurlow

For those not participating in Dry January, some economy is maybe nevertheless called for this month. So, I have found 12 lovely wines, all less than $14, to help you save.

Ten of these wines joined the Top50 Best Values List  this month including two favourites that have been delisted. There are ten wines below that are discounted, which all goes to help relieve the January budget.

I have tasted many wines since I last wrote and found some great values. Also, the value of and the number of discounts offered by the LCBO make January a month to consider for stocking up after the Holidays.

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  .

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Though I have only chosen 12 wines, 1 white and 11 reds, 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 at LCBO stores and online.

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

  • All wines are less than $14.
  • Ten discounted wines; most by $2 or more.
  • Two delisted wines.
  • Two Vintages Essentials.
  • One VQA red.
  • All wines scored 87 or more.

The current promotional period runs until January 31st, 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.


Fish Hoek 2017 Shiraz, Western Cape, South Africa ($8.95 was $9.95)
New to Top50
This is a very drinkable well priced red from the Cape with aromas of blackberry and blueberry fruit with some mild spice tones. It is clean, pure and fresh with a round midweight palate with soft tannin and lemony acidity. Decent length. Great for everyday sipping and snacking.

Cesari Adesso 2019 Merlot D’italia, Veneto, Italy ($8.95)
New to Top50
This wine seems to get better with each new vintage, yet the price remains low. It is not that complex, but it is a fruity red with ripe red berry fruit aromas with wood smoke and mild spice aromas. It is midweight with vibrant acidity and mild tannin. Good length. A versatile, inexpensive food friendly red. Chill a little and enjoy with pizza, meats and cheese.

Tavernello 2018 Sangiovese Cabernet, Rubicone, Emilia Romagna, Italy ($9.00 + 4BAMs)
This is 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 friendly red. Pair with meats and cheese.

Vinologist 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon, Stellenbosch, South Africa ($10.40 was $12.95)
New to Top50 – Delist
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.

Rymill The Yearling 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra, South Australia ($10.55 was $13.00)
New to Top50 – Delist
Coonawarra is renowned as the region in South Australia that produces some of the country’s best cabernet sauvignon. This is an excellent well priced cabernet that’s ripe but not overripe. It is quite dry and very classy with a fine balance and very good length. Expect aromas of cassis and blackberry fruit with black olive and hints of oak spice. The palate is midweight with the fruit balanced by lemony acidity and fine tannin. It finishes dry with fruit that has a little greenness. So, try with a steak or some juicy lamb cutlets. It will be tough to enjoy on its own. Another year of bottle age will help with integration and softening of tannins. Best 2021 to 2023.

Cusumano 2018 Nero d’Avola, Sicily, Italy ($10.90 was $12.90)
New to Top50
Expect fresh aromas of red cherry and raspberry fruit with lemon, floral and herbal tones. It is midweight and juicy with some tannin for structure and acidity for vibrancy. Very good length with a lemony dry finish and some fine tannin to give a little grip. Try with roast or bbq meats or hard mature cheeses.

Luigi Bosca La Linda 2018 Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina ($10.95 was $12.95)
New to Top50
This 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.

Porcupine Ridge 2018 Syrah, Swartland, South Africa ($12.95 was $15.95)
Top50Jan – Vintages Essential
For years this has been consistently great value and at $3 off it is a steal. Expect 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.

Masi Tupungato Passo Doble 2018 Malbec Corvina, Mendoza, Argentina ($13.00 was $15.00)
New to Top50
This red blend is an Italian take on Argentine malbec. The addition of the corvina grape, originally from the Veneto, to the blend and the winemaking techniques of the Masi team have crafted a more savoury acid driven style of wine that is eminently food friendly. It is more Bordeaux-like than what Mendoza’s Uco Valley usually delivers and the 2018 is one of the best vintages I can recall. The nose shows red cherry and plum fruit with sweet herbal, leathery and floral tones. The palate is midweight and juicy with the red cherry and plum fruit and is very smooth with forest floor flavours appearing on the finish. Very good to excellent length with nice tannic grip and a lot of complexity and some elegance. Try with fine cuisine, roast meats and root vegetables or rich soft creamy cheese.

Rocca Delle Macìe 2017 Chianti Riserva, Tuscany, Italy ($13.95 was $15.95)
New to Top50 – Vintages Essential
This is a good choice for an everyday very typical Chianti that is very drinkable, food friendly and is just what Chianti should be. The nose shows raspberry and red cherry fruit with some herbal and spice notes with an earthy Tuscan rustic charm. The midweight palate has very good length, is dry and is well balanced. Best 2021 to 2024. Will work with a wide variety of cheese and meat dishes.

Henry Of Pelham 2018 Cabernet Merlot, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario ($13.95 was $15.95)
New to Top50
Expect a fragrant nose of red cherry and plum fruit plus some tobacco, herbal and floral tones. It is Bordeaux-like with the midweight palate soft and very smooth with well integrated oak spice. It is well balanced with soft acidity and fine tannin. Try with roast meats or strong mature cheese. Very good length. Best 2021 to 2025. Will gain in complexity with some bottle age.


Casal Garcia Vinho Verde, Portugal ($8.95 was $9.95)
New to Top50
This is very lively and has lots of spritz, more than usual for vinho verde. It is dry and clean with mild mineral toned aromas of lemon and pear. It is quite rich and creamy and is authentically dry. Good length. Enjoy with seafood.

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!

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