Top Values at the LCBO (November 2021)

Recent Harvests Bring Some Great New Values to Top50 List

by Steve Thurlow

As you know, most non-sparkling wines are bottled from the harvest of a single year, or vintage. And, that date can be found somewhere on the bottle. Knowing the vintage does matter since in some years the climate is generous to the grape grower and in other years, less so. Accordingly, the wines made from those grapes can be better, or worse than last year’s production.

Since I last wrote to you, I have tasted the most recent vintage of several wines. Some of which were better than the previous vintage. In fact, so much so that they made it onto the Top50 list. Moreover, a couple were less good and so, fell off the list making way for some just off the bottom of the list last month to move up onto the list.

However, it is tough for me to know when the vintage on the shelf at the LCBO has changed, since I have to look at every bottle. The LCBO quality department does track the current vintage, as they unload shipments arriving at their warehouse, but they choose not to share that data with anyone for the over 2000 wines on the General List. And, also for the 211 today in Vintages Essential Collection.  So, you will often find the same wine from 2 different vintages on the shelf at the same time during the period that the vintage rolls over.

So, I need to visit stores frequently to keep track of which is the current vintage on the shelf, so as to request samples from agents to taste and review.  It is a lot of work, but it’s worth it, since it keeps the Top50 current.

As I prepared this report, by first updating the Top 50 List, and then choosing 12 wines off the list to highlight, I found 9 wines discounted. Three due to delists, with the rest being on LTO (Limited Time Offer).

However, I also added three more, recently tasted by me, that were new and improved wines, such that they had all jumped on to the Top50 list. This reminded me of the importance of vintage. This was now a wine to buy, when previously it was not.

So, I assure you that you will drink great wine and will save money by reading on.

All but 3 of the wines joined the  Top50 Best Values List  this month. So, venture out to visit an LCBO store and pick up some of the twelve wines below that are on my current Top50 Best Value List.

Though I have only chosen below 12 wines, 7 whites and 5 reds, I do encourage you to consult my entire Top50 Best Values List since there are some more wines new to the list this month not highlighted below.

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

  • Ten wines less than $12.50.
  • Eleven are discounted; some by $3 or more.
  • Three great new vintages.
  • Three delisted wines.
  • All wines below scored 87 or more.

The current promotional period runs until November 28th. Thanks to WineAlign’s inventory tracking, I can assure you that there were stocks available, when we published, of every wine that I highlight. However, the delists will soon be gone, so don’t hesitate if you have these in your sights!

Editors Note: You can find our complete critic reviews by clicking on any of the wine names, bottle images or links highlighted.


Luccarelli Negroamaro 2020

Luccarelli Negroamaro 2020, Puglia, Italy ($8.95)
New to Top50
The 2020 vintage of this popular and very inexpensive Southern Italian red is a little lighter and fruitier than recent vintages. It is ruby red with aromas of red cherry and raspberry fruit with some sweet herbal and mild spice tones. It is light to midweight with the ripe red berry fruit nicely toned by lemony acidity giving it freshness. A little mild tannin shows up on the finish to add some balance. Very good length. Try with grilled meats or strongly flavoured cheese..

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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.


Steve Thurlow

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

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

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