Top Values at the LCBO (September 2021)

Values Keep Getting Better

by Steve Thurlow

Today, as I prepared this report, by first updating the Top 50 List and then choosing 12 wines from the list to highlight. I was enthused by the wines that I was finding and realized our good fortune in having such a great selection in our stores.

Since I started writing about wine more than 20 years ago, I have focused on wines that are readily available and among those, the wines that offer the best value. In 2001, some of you will remember, the shelves held many cheap, bad wines. So, it was fairly easy to select the  best inexpensive wines.

In Aug. 2010, I formalized the selection process by choosing my first WineAlign Top50 Best Values at LCBO using mathematical techniques, so as to be consistent, and to also have the ability to fairly compare the value of a 91 point wine with an 86 point one. I update that list every month to include new wines that I have tasted and to account for the LCBO discounts applicable for the upcoming period.

These days, there are thankfully very few bad wines in our stores, so the process of finding the best value ones is more difficult, but the techniques still work. Moreover, what you now get for the same money is so much better.

Today, I can tell you about 12 lovely wines that come from all over the world. I am delighted that three of these come from Ontario.

Our wine industry is relatively small and the higher cost of many Ontario wines is due to expensive land and high labour and material costs when compared to places like Chile, Argentina, Portugal and South Africa. Freight these days is a very small part of the cost of anything, wine included, so being close does not save much. However, when Ontario wineries can take $2 off the regular price for a limited period, then their high quality wines become great value.

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

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Eleven of these 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 12 wines, 4 whites, 7 reds and a rose to feature in this article, I do encourage you to consult my entire Top50 Best Values List

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

  • Nine wines less than $14.
  • All twelve are discounted; some by $3.
  • Three VQA Ontario wines
  • One delisted wine.
  • Two Vintages Essentials.
  • All wines below scored 87 or more 

The current promotional period runs until October 10th, 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.

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


Borsao Garnacha Seleccion 2019

Borsao Garnacha Seleccion 2019, Aragon, Spain ($9.95 was $11.95)
New to Top50
Fabulous value for a soft and round Spanish red with lovely, fragrant oak spice integrated with the red cherry and plum fruit. It is midweight to full and dry with a lively palate, a good depth of flavour and soft tannin. It is nicely structured and very drinkable. Try with burgers, meaty pasta sauces or with pizza.

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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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