Top Values at the LCBO (June 2021)

Portugal’s Amazing Wine Values

by Steve Thurlow

Portugal is now making many great wines at amazing prices. This month’s Top50 Best Values at LCBO has nine wines from there and they are not all from the famed Douro region. Most come from the basin of the Tagus river that flows into sea at Lisbon in central Portugal.

Portugal has made inexpensive wine for centuries in this region but it is the quality that has risen remarkably in the last decade.

I have chosen 12 wines off the list to highlight all of which joined the list this month that was updated to include new wines that I have tasted and to account for the LCBO discounts applicable for the upcoming period.

So I assure you that you will drink great wine and will save money by reading on and by paying special attention to the four wines that are from Portugal.


Though I have only chosen below 12 wines, 2 whites plus 10 reds, I do encourage you to consult my entire Top50 Best Values List which includes 6 great value Vintages Essentials and also these five from Portugal:

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

  • 7 wines less than $14.
  • Eight discounted wines; several by $3.
  • One Vintages Essential
  • All wines below scored 87 or more.

The current promotional period runs until June 20th 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.


Bicycle Thief Red 2018 (1500ml), Portugal ($15.75)
New to Top50
Great value in a convenient 1.5L package for a picnic or BBQ. This almost opaque deep red has a fragrant nose of blackberry and red cherry fruit with some mild spice tones and a hint of thyme. It is midweight and dense with a fine balance and decent length. Very drinkable with lots of flavour and structure for such an inexpensive wine.

Brindisi Rosso 2019, Puglia, Italy ($8.80)
New to Top50
This wine has been at LCBO for years in a 1.5L bottle, now with the 2019 vintage you can also buy it in 750ml bottle and it is also much improved. It is a delicate almost dry red blend of 2 indigenous S. Italian grapes negroamaro and malvasia negra. Expect aromas of red cherry and red currant fruit with some floral notes and hints of cranberry jelly. The palate is soft and fruity and well balanced with good length. Chill lightly and enjoy with delicate meat and cheese dishes.

Bicycle Thief Red 2018Brindisi Rosso 2019

Passion Of Portugal 2018, Lisboa, Portugal ($8.95)
New to Top50
This fruity and very drinkable red is great value. It is a blend of tinta roriz (tempranillo), tinta barroca and syrah and has a smooth lively palate with soft tannins. Expect aromas of ripe but not overripe black and red berry fruit with some mild spicy tones. There is a good depth of flavour and good length. Enjoy with pizza, burgers or meaty pasta sauces.

Vina Tarapaca Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2019, Maipo Valley, Chile ($11.95 was $13.95)
New to Top50
You get a lot for the money here from this fairly typical Maipo Valley cabernet which shows some elegance. It has a perfumed nose of cassis fruit with blackberry, mint, menthol and mild oak spice. It midweight to fullbodied and is very smooth and finely balanced with very good length. It is plush and is drinking well now. Enjoy with BBQ or roast meats, cheese or maybe a steak.

Porta 6 Red 2019, V R Lisboa, Portugal ($13.80)
New to Top50
2019 is probably the best vintage yet of this popular bright lively clean red blend of several indigenous Portuguese red grapes. The nose shows perfumed blackberry and blueberry fruit with cherry jam and mild spice. It is midweight, creamy smooth and well balanced with the fruit lasting well on the finish. Pleasant and easy drinking with very good length. Chill a little and enjoy with a wide variety of meats and cheese or sip on its own. Quite classy for such an inexpensive wine.

Passion Of Portugal 2018Vina Tarapaca Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2019Porta 6 Red 2019

Alamos Malbec 2019, Mendoza, Argentina ($13.95 was $15.95)
New to Top50
The 2019 vintage is better balanced than recent vintages with some nice herbal and savoury tones to the nose. It is also not as sweet with less evident oak spice. Expect aromas of black and red cherry fruit with dried sweet herbal tones and a hint of wood smoke. The palate is dry and midweight with soft acidity with some firm tannin poking through on the finish. Some degree of elegance and good to very good length.

Villa Maria Private Bin Pinot Noir 2019, Marlborough, New Zealand ($16.70 was $19.70)
New to Top50
2019 is a great vintage of this well priced vibrant pinot. Expect aromas of raspberry and strawberry fruit with plum and cranberry jelly with mild oak spice and a hint of tobacco. It is midweight with the ripe bright cherry fruit well balanced by lively acidity and gentle tannin. Very good length with the fruit persisting well. Try with seared tuna or roast pork or baked veal.

Alamos Malbec 2019Villa Maria Private Bin Pinot Noir 2019 2019

19 Crimes Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, Limestone Coast, South Australia ($16.70 was $18.70)
New to Top50
The 2018 vintage is a little softer and therefore more approachable than recent vintages. It is still well structured and dry but a little juicier with softer 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.

Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage Port 2015, Douro Superior, Douro Valley, Portugal ($16.70 was $18.70)
New to Top50
This port is so welcoming with its perfumed nose of ripe blackberry and blueberry fruit with vanilla, violets and lemon marmalade. It is great value for such a rich port that is so graceful. The acidity tames the alcohol and keeps the sweetness from being cloying. It is full bodied but seems lighter and there is no heat from the considerable alcohol (20%). The finish is so finely balanced. Very good length. Try with hard mature cheese, dried fruits or dark chocolate.

Tenuta Frescobaldi Castiglioni 2018, Tuscany, Italy ($18.95 was $21.95)
New to Top50  Vintages Essential 
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.

19 Crimes Cabernet Sauvignon 2018Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage Port 2015Tenuta Frescobaldi Castiglioni 2018

Casal Garcia Vinho Verde, Portugal ($8.80 was $9.80)
New to Top50
This is very lively and has lots of spritz, more than usual for vino 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. Try with seafood.

Sacred Hill Sauvignon Blanc 2020, Marlborough, New Zealand ($13.65 was $16.65)
New to Top50
The 2020 vintage of this Marlborough sauvignon from Hawkes Bay producer Sacred Hill shows the classic aromas of lime citrus and guava with lavender, herbal thyme and a hint of peppermint plus a  dose of sulphur which blows off after some swirling. The midweight palate is flavourful and quite dry with a fine balance. Very good length.

Casal Garcia Vinho VerdeSacred Hill Sauvignon Blanc 2020

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 two 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 wines under the Wine tab on WineAlign.)

  • On Sale (LTO’s or Limited Time Offers): Every four weeks the LCBO discounts around 130 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.
  • Steve’s Top 50: Wines that have moved onto my Top 50 Best Values this month. This is an on-going WineAlign selection that mathematically calculates value by comparing the price and rating of all the wines. 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.

Stay safe and healthy and self-isolated for just a little while longer.

Steve Thurlow

Top 50 Value Wines
Top 20 Under $20
Wines on Limited Time Offer

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