Holiday Wine Guide: The LCBO’s best bottles under $20

Holiday Wine Guide: The LCBO’s best bottles under $20

Seventeen excellent bottles that won’t break the bank

Related: The best holiday gifts for foodies

2022 Fantini Sangiovese

$10.95 | Italy
It should come as no surprise that the most affordable wine on this list comes from Italy. This Sangiovese from Fantini is extremely smooth and bursting with red fruit flavours. If your local LCBO doesn’t have this bottle, the brand’s Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is a worthy fallback. LCBO 512327

2022 Loios

$11.25 | Portugal
For those in the know, you can’t go wrong with Loios. Warm-climate flavours bring notes of cherry pie filling on the palate. But don’t let the juicy confected fruit fool you: this is a dry red wine. It’s the perfect bottle to enjoy next to a warm fire on a cold night. LCBO 89912

2023 Two Oceans Sauvignon Blanc

2023 Two Oceans Sauvignon Blanc

$12.95 | South Africa
It may say South Africa on the bottle, but it’s more akin to a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc (and at a much lower price). Notes of passion fruit meet guava with crisp acidity on the finish. LCBO 340380

2020 Sogevinus Veedha Red

2020 Sogevinus Veedha Red

$14.95 | Portugal
This wine gets its name from the Portuguese word for “life”—which it will bring to any holiday party. It’s an amazingly juicy wine from the Douro Valley that has stayed pretty much inflation-proof the whole time it’s been on the LCBO’s shelves. LCBO 31197

2021 Kacaba Unoaked Chardonnay

2021 Kacaba Unoaked Chardonnay

$15.95 | Ontario
Don’t overlook this bottle just because it comes from a winery known primarily for reds. Flavours of orchard fruit—reminiscent of Niagara peaches and apples—are paired with balanced acidity. It’s a food-friendly wine that will complement all kinds of holiday feasts. LCBO 326975

2020 Feudo Arancio Cabernet Sauvignon

2020 Feudo Arancio Cabernet Sauvignon

$15.95 | Italy
This wine hails from Sicily, which isn’t a region typically associated with this varietal. But it’s a wonderful Cabernet that’s silky on the palate with notes of chocolate and red and black cherry as well as subtle tannins. With minimal new oak, the wine is fresh, fruit driven and a steal at this price. Multiple bottles may be in order. LCBO 31795

2022 Francois Lurton Sauvignon Blanc Bordeaux AOC

2022 Francois Lurton Sauvignon Blanc Bordeaux AOC

$16.95 | France
Bordeaux reds are big this time of year, but this choice bottle of white from the region should not be overlooked. Ripe with notes of citrus and passion fruit and a hint of white flower, it will make a delightful match for turkey dinner. Not a fan of fowl? Its vibrant acidity means it’s also a perfect pairing for seafood. LCBO 250381

2020 El Petit Bonhomme

2020 El Petit Bonhomme

$16.95 | Spain
This is a three-grape blend from Spain. Syrah gives it a little peppery kick; Monastrell brings dark fruit and spice to the party; and Garnacha follows with more fruit, red this time. It’s ripe, juicy and chuggable. LCBO 16578

2021 Cave Spring Chardonnay

2021 Cave Spring Chardonnay

$17.95 | Ontario
One of Ontario’s oldest wineries, Cave Spring continues to lead the province’s pack in quality and price. This bottle perfectly balances notes of vanilla, peach and pear, demonstrating what is possible with Chardonnay in Ontario. This may be the LCBO’s best Chardonnay at this price—from any country. LCBO 228551

2021 Villa Puccini Toscana IGT Governo Toscano

2021 Villa Puccini Toscana IGT Governo Toscano

$17.95 | Italy
This bottle is made from a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Ciliegiolo, a grape whose name comes from the Italian word for “cherry”—something this wine has in spades. The vintners also allow 10 per cent of the Cabernet grapes to dry on the vine, giving the wine a softer texture, a richer colour and a fuller structure. LCBO 31802

2021 Sister's Run Old Testament Cabernet Sauvignon

2021 Sister’s Run Old Testament Cabernet Sauvignon

$17.95 | Australia
The bottles from this family-run, independently owned winery are adorned with the many awards Sister’s Run has won. But all you need to know is that this seriously good Australian Cab Sauv comes at an unbelievable price. It’s spicy on the nose, with bold flavours of dark fruit and menthol. LCBO 478271

2021 Novas Gran Reserva Carménère Cabernet Sauvignon Organic

2021 Novas Gran Reserva Carménère Cabernet Sauvignon Organic

$18.95 | Chile
Carménère is the long-lost grape of Bordeaux, wiped out in France by the blight known as phylloxera. Fortunately, the grape had found its way to Chile, where it’s slowly becoming the country’s signature grape. This flavourful organic bottle is full of dark fruit and smoke. LCBO 434662

2022 Zenato San Benedetto Lugana

2022 Zenato San Benedetto Lugana

$19.95 | Italy
The Lugana region is located on the southern shore of Lake Garda, Italy’s largest lake. The grape used for this wine is called Turbiana, and it makes an array of impressive wines, including this bottle with intense aromas of apples and citrus and a fruity, full-bodied taste. It may look like Chardonnay, but you’ll need a smaller white wine glass to get the most out of this. LCBO 707158

2020 J Lohr Riverstone Chardonnay

2020 J Lohr Riverstone Chardonnay

$19.95 | California
This bottle—in which butterscotch and vanilla mingle with pineapple and coconut—exemplifies classic Californian Chardonnay. While the 750-mL bottle is in the bargain category, a magnum (1.5 L for $39.95, ) would make a great gift for the Chardonnay lover in your life. LCBO 258699

2021 Megalomaniac Narcissist Riesling

2021 Megalomaniac Narcissist Riesling

$19.95 | Ontario
Anyone who typically steers clear of sweet wine is still encouraged to give this off-dry bottle a shot—the palate-cleansing acidity will leave your mouth refreshed and waiting for the next sip. Flavours and aromas are fresh peach and apricot, with a clean mineral finish. LCBO 67587

2020 Zonte's Footstep Chocolate Factory Shiraz

2020 Zonte’s Footstep Chocolate Factory Shiraz

$19.95 | Australia
Canadian Brad Rey began making wines at Zonte’s Footstep that reflect the Australian regions they come from. Chocolate Factory comes from McLaren Vale—and as the name suggests, chocolatey notes are met with rich cherry and plum. While this is on the bargain wine list, it does have some cellaring potential. LCBO 396481

2020 Wakefield Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

2020 Wakefield Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

$19.95 | Australia
There are plenty of Wakefield wines at the LCBO, and many offer great value, but we’ve always been fans of their Cabs. This under-20 offering is a real winner, with dark fruit that’s taken a stroll through a raspberry patch. LCBO 744235