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The best value wines at the LCBO

April 18, 2019

There are wine bargains to be had all over the world. And there's nothing better than opening a bottle that cost 10 or 12 bucks, taking that first sip, and exclaiming a hearty "wow!" We like a good cheap wine as much as anybody. But the wine has to be good. Not merely ok, but good. We've gathered our current top 10 best wines at the LCBO with the vague notion of keeping things under $20. Try one of these today... and remember: We drink for a living. So you can trust us.



Cantina di Negrar Garganega
Verona, Italy
LCBO: 524488
Garganega is the main grape in the Italian white wine Soave, wines that are sleek and crisp and satisfyingly full of lemon-lime, white peach and mineral notes. Here, we have a similar expression, but with grapes sourced from regions in Verona in general, not necessarily specifically Soave. Who cares? This fresh, bright and crisp quaffer is always a fan favourite when we show it in Wine School for its silky mouthfeel and lovely flavours of zesty lime, white grapefruit and crunchy mineral. Pair this with fresh-shucked oysters, baked pork loin or creamy pastas. (Erin Henderson)



Aveleda Vinho Verde
Vinho Verde, Portugal
LCBO: 5322
If you haven’t tried Vinho Verde, get thee to the wine store pronto. Fresh and tangy with a light spritz, this Portuguese white wine is totally crushable as an aperitif or paired to fresh seafood dinners. Literally meaning “green wine,” this hails from the northern Province of Minho, just south of the Spanish border. It really is a great option for day drinking as it’s typically low alcohol (this lightweight is only 9.5%) so you can get the party started with this and still be classy at 8 p.m.. (EH)


Borsao Garnacha
LCBO: 386961
This is a terrific blend of mostly Grenache (Garnacha en Español) with some Tempranillo and Cab Sauv added. It's a satisfyingly juicy quaffer that’s perfect for poolside sipping. It's brilliant paired with smokey barbecue. But don’t ask me: I recently did a blind tasting of a few reds for a small group of friends and this came out the clear winner. (EH)



Rocca Delle Macie Chianti Vernaiolo
Tuscany, Italy
$12.95 (was $14.95)
LCBO: 269589
What's better than a good Chianti? One that's on sale! (Until April 28). Rocca is a solid family winery located in Tuscany... the home of Chianti. Made from Sangiovese, this is classic red berry, plum and an earthy-mineral quality that is one of the things that makes Sangiovese so great. A lovely rustic, old-world quality. Dig it. (Dick Snyder)



Marius Rouge
Pays d’Oc, France
LCBO: 470096
This has been a go-to in my bargain wines arsenal for years. Produced by Rhône wine making superstar Michele Chapoutier, and named after his colourful great-grandfather, this is a blend of Syrah and Grenache. The Syrah loans power, spice and dark fruit notes, while the Grenache gives a juicy, red berry freshness. The overall effect is a medium bodied, easy going and delicious red that would work well with everything from roast duck, to simple burgers, to chicken liver pâté. (EH)


Ascheri Barbera d'Alba
Piedmont, Italy
LCBO: 219790

Hailing from Northern Italy, Asheri is a family-owned winery that makes wonderful wines in many styles. This is textbook Barbera, a grape that has similarities with Merlot. It's juicy with red berry fruit, quite supple, and easy drinking. Tannins are soft. Superb value in an everyday (or night) wine. Great with burgers, pizza, red-sauce pasta. Easy stuff like that. (DS)



Malivoire Ladybug Rosé
Niagara, Canada
Vintages: 559088

We love all the Malivoire rosé, but this Ladybug holds a special place. Fresh and bright with red berries and cherry, with a perfect weight and texture. It's not too light, which makes it fun for sipping or eating with delicious summer fare like charcuterie, zesty cheeses or just a nice guacamole. Or, grill up some wild salmon. (DS)

LESS THAN $20 (ish)

macon lugny

Bouchard Père & Fils Macon-Lugny Saint-Pierre
Burgundy, France
LCBO: 51573

The white wines of the Macon region of Burgundy are made with Chardonnay. Like Chablis, these are some of our favourite Chardonnays in the world. You get pear, apple and light sweet citrus, and just a touch of nutty oak. A delicious sipper, and wonderful with seafood, fresh-shucked oysters, white pizza and roast chicken (or the next-day sandwich). (DS)


Robert Mondavi Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
LCBO: 392225
A California Cab under $20?!? High five! A California Cab under $20 that’s really good?!? High ten!!! Seriously, I often ignore cheaper wines from prominent growing regions as rarely have I found something that’s really blown my skirt up. But prepare to be blown: this Mondavi Cab has left me in full Marylin Monroe status for its smoky depth of black fruit, graphite and peppery spice. Tannins are supple and acid is buoyant. No wonder Mondavi was a master. (EH)


De Chanceny Cremant De Loire Rose Brut
LCBO: 211466

There are always two bottles of this beautiful wine at home. Just stare at it for a bit, as the fine bubbles rise up in your glass. So pretty. So easy to drink in one gulp... hence, the two bottles. Red berries, zesty citrus and apple, and a touch of toast. Impeccable balance. Great with charcuterie or grilled pork chops, roast birds, baked fish, or pasta with cream sauce. (DS)