Top Values at the LCBO (March 2021)

Values for our last month at home (maybe?)

by Steve Thurlow

March will see most us in Ontario still spending lots of time at home due to the continuing pandemic restrictions, so economy will still be called for this month. I have found seven lovely wines, all less than $14, to help you save. I have thrown in another five great 90pts+ wines that are less than $20 due to LCBO discounts this month.

Seven of these wines joined the Top50 Best Values List this month, including a favourite that has been delisted.

I have been busy tasting wines since I last wrote and found some great values that have now joined the list.

So wrap up well and venture out to visit an LCBO store and pick up some of these 12 wines.

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Though I have only chosen below 12 wines, 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.

BTW, the LCBO is leaving the Air Miles program, so this is last time I will report on these bonuses.

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

  • Seven wines that are less than $14
  • Seven discounted wines; most by $2 or more
  • A delisted wine
  • A VINTAGES Essentials
  • All wines below scored 87 or more

The current promotional period runs until March 28th 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.

Stay safe and healthy and warm.


Aliança Bairrada Reserva 2018, Bairrada, Portugal ($8.95 + 4 BAMs)
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.

Casal Thaulero Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, Terre Di Chieti, Abruzzo, Italy ($9.45 + 5 BAMs)
This is a balanced dry red with 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 will be better with food like meaty pasta sauces or grilled meats or mature cheese. Good to very good length.

Casal Thaulero Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Vinologist Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Stellenbosch, South Africa ($10.40 was $12.95)
Top50March, 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. A versatile red with good varietal character which would be good for meats, cheese and rich vegetable dishes. Over 900 bottles remain.

Wolf Blass Yellow Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, Langhorne Creek Mclaren Vale, South Australia ($13.95 was $16.95)
New to Top50
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 2022 to 2025. Decant for an hour or so and try with a steak.

Casillero Del Diablo Devil’s Collection Red 2018, Rapel Valley, Chile ($14.00 was $16.00)
New to Top50
This is a structured red blend of cabernet, carmenere and syrah with aromas of red and black cherry fruit with smokey woodsy tones and mineral freshness. It is full bodied and vibrant with soft mature tannin giving a fine structure and the promise of more complexity. It is still quite youthful and will improve with another year or two of bottle age. There is some elegance and it is well balanced for food.

Graham’s Late Bottled Vintage Port 2015, Douro Valley, Portugal ($15.55 was $18.55)
New to Top50
This is a well priced LBV with an expressive perfumed nose of blueberry jam, licorice and dark chocolate with violets. It’s full-bodied, smooth, with a soft, creamy texture yet it feels lighter on the palate. Very good to excellent length. Finely balanced yet powerful with some heat from alcohol on the finish.

19 Crimes Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, Limestone Coast, South Australia ($16.95 was $18.95)
New to Top50
This is a well structured and dry but juicy cabernet with soft tannins and there is 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.

Santa Carolina Reserva De Familia Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, Maipo Valley, Chile ($17.95 was $19.95)
New to Top50
This is a complex, structured cabernet with a nose of blackcurrant and plum fruit with lemon, greenish pine sap with some meaty, menthol and oak spice notes. It is full bodied, dense, vibrant, juicy and quite tannic at present. In fact it is a little coarse and sinewy at the moment with very good to excellent length. It will benefit from some aging in the cellar. Best 2022 to 2028.

Ferreira Dona Antonia Tawny Reserve Port, Douro Valley, Portugal ($19.75)
New to Top50
This port is a tawny with less than ten years and it a good introduction to wood aged brown ports given its price. It is called a Reserve Tawny and is made from wines of between four and twelve years of age that are blended to get an average age of about seven years. It is a brownish red in colour with baked red berry fruit aromas with herbal and toasted nut notes with spicy complexity. It is midweight, off-dry and very smooth with the 20% alcohol well balanced by acidity. Excellent length.


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.

Hardys Stamp Series Chardonnay Semillon 2018, Southeastern Australia ($9.95 + 6 BAMs)
This is a fresh white with no oak with a pure lively nose of pear melon fruit with a mineral tone and subtle spice. The palate is midweight rich and smooth with lemony acidity keeping it juicy. Well balanced with good to very good length. Very drinkable on its own or with chicken, veal or pork dishes.

Lacheteau Sauvignon 2019, Touraine, Loire Valley, France ($16.45 + 5 BAMs)
This is lovely soft elegant sauvignon. It is quite understated with subtle complex aromas and flavours of melon, lime and ripe pear fruit with hints of peppermint and rosemary. It is light to midweight with lots of flavour and soft creamy acidity. Very good to excellent length. Try with mild seafood or chicken or veal dishes or maybe creamy goats cheese.

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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