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Holiday Wine Guide: 15 of the LCBO’s best bottles for $20 or less

Bottles that will get the job done without breaking the bank

By André Proulx and Michael Pinkus
Holiday Wine Guide: 15 of the LCBO's best bottles for $20 or less
2018 Candidato Oro Tempranillo Garnacha, Castilla VDT

$8.50 | Spain Juicy cherry and strawberry notes are met with hints of smoke in this bone-dry, medium-bodied bottle. This is dangerously easy to drink—and makes the perfect base for coq au vin or boeuf bourguignon. LCBO 523811  

Holiday Wine Guide: 15 of the LCBO's best bottles for $20 or less
2021 Spinelli Montepulciano D’Abruzzo

$8.95 | Italy While pushing into full-bodied territory, the soft tannins in this wine keeps it versatile with food. The flavours—cherry and raspberry with hints of baking spice—are definitely more complex than you would expect from this price point. LCBO 454629  

Holiday Wine Guide: 15 of the LCBO's best bottles for $20 or less
2019 Sensi Chianti Dal Campo DOCG

$11.95 | Italy Chianti may be Italy’s most famous style of wine, and it owes that reputation to bottles like this. Fresh and vibrant with notes of cassis, cherry and green tomato, it begs to be paired with pasta or pizza. LCBO 20060  

Holiday Wine Guide: 15 of the LCBO's best bottles for $20 or less
Thalia White Assyrtiko, Sauvignon Blanc

$11.70 | Greece Named for the Greek Muse Thalia, this wine also offers a bit of inspiration—and at a bargain price. Assyrtiko is a grape variety indigenous to Greece and one that’s easy to find on the LCBO’s shelves, but the marriage between it and Sauvignon Blanc is a bit unusual and very interesting. The flavour profile is mineral driven with soft notes of peach and pear. LCBO 273490  

Holiday Wine Guide: 15 of the LCBO's best bottles for $20 or less
2019 Cave Spring Estate Chardonnay

$19.95 | Ontario This is a simply stunning wine that delivers a bit of spice along with some richness that’s paired with nice acidity to keep it light on the palate. Thanks to a cool growing season, 2019 was a challenging vintage, but the folks at Cave Spring clearly didn’t get the memo. This may be the best Chardonnay in the LCBO at this price point right now from anywhere. LCBO 256552  

Holiday Wine Guide: 15 of the LCBO's best bottles for $20 or less
2020 Fielding Fireside Red

$16.95 | Ontario While 2020 was a tough year for basically everyone, the weather was on wine’s side and delivered one of the best vintages ever. The talented team from Fielding has put together this easy drinking blend of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon that will bring a smile to your lips with each sip. LCBO 421420  

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Holiday Wine Guide: 15 of the LCBO's best bottles for $20 or less
2018 Gérard Bertrand Languedoc

$16.95 | France This is one of those bottles that seems to get a bit better with every vintage. The blend of Syrah and Grenache delivers plush cassis, blackberry, licorice and hints of smoke. LCBO 413237  

Holiday Wine Guide: 15 of the LCBO's best bottles for $20 or less
2019 Château D’Aigueville CdRhone Villages Red AOC

$17.55 | France This full-bodied red with jammy notes of cassis, plum and blackberry—and good acidity to keep all that in check—is the ticket for dealing with cold and dreary winter weather. While extremely approachable right now, it has definite cellaring potential. And, at this price, it only makes sense to tuck a few bottles away. LCBO 544031  

Holiday Wine Guide: 15 of the LCBO's best bottles for $20 or less
2020 Château Puyfromage Francs Côtes De Bordeaux AOC

$17.95 | France This is a solid entry-level bottle in a category that can get very pricey, very quick. With a bit of light decanting to soften the firm tannins, this bottle opens up to notes of cassis and damp cedar. Give it as a gift (even to yourself) and drink now or cellar it for a few years. LCBO 33605  

Holiday Wine Guide: 15 of the LCBO's best bottles for $20 or less
2019 Vina Tarapaca Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon

$17.95 | Chile A classic example of chilean Cabernet Sauvignon, this bottle is bursting with rich cassis on the nose and palate plus a hint of mint. The tannins are a bit clunky; opening it at least a half-hour before serving softens those edges. LCBO 18721  

Holiday Wine Guide: 15 of the LCBO's best bottles for $20 or less
2021 Leftfield Sauvignon Blanc

$18 | New Zealand Crack this bottle open on the coldest and bleakest winter’s day for a transportive tropical experience. Aromas and flavours of guava and passionfruit explode on the palate. Any sweetness is met by searing acidity, keeping it light and refreshing. LCBO 487496  

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Holiday Wine Guide: 15 of the LCBO's best bottles for $20 or less
2018 Castelli del Grevepesa Clemente VII Chianti Classico

$18.95 | Italy Consider this a step up from the traditional wicker-basketed bottles. It’s a bit heftier and more elegant, with notes of black cherry, campfire smoke and leather. It’s the perfect pairing for a hearty dish, like wild boar or pot roast. LCBO 421388  

Holiday Wine Guide: 15 of the LCBO's best bottles for $20 or less
2020 Matias Riccitelli Hey Malbec!

$18.95 | Argentina Don’t be misled by the (admittedly very fun) comic book label design on this bottle—what’s inside is no joke. Most of it was aged in concrete, with the rest in barrels, and the result is a surprisingly smooth, full-bodied, dark fruit–forward, easy drinking wine. LCBO 24880  

Holiday Wine Guide: 15 of the LCBO's best bottles for $20 or less
2020 Cave Spring Estate Grown Cabernet Franc

$19.95 | Ontario There’s something going on at Cave Spring right now, and we’re here for it. (This also the second red on this list from the outstanding 2020 Niagara vintage.) This bottle brings fresh raspberry with subtle herbal notes buried under a torrent of dark fruit. LCBO 523001  

Holiday Wine Guide: 15 of the LCBO's best bottles for $20 or less
2016 Heartland The Spice Trader Shiraz

$19.95 | Australia Spice backs up plum and black cherry notes in this stellar Aussie wine that doesn’t swing too sweet, like many bargain bottles of Shiraz do. It’s a bold wine that already has some years behind it, which means it’s more than ready to drink now, but cellaring it for a bit longer definitely won’t hurt. LCBO 27130


For pricier bottles to gift, click here.

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