Food & Drink

The LCBO’s best bottles of wine for $20 or less

Budget-friendly finds from under-the-radar-vintners

Argento 2015 Pinot Grigio

$9.95 | Mendoza, Argentina | 87 Points

Argento’s pinot grigio rises above the norm for a $10 wine—it’s ripe, fresh and somewhat elegant, too. Aromas of yellow plum and pear meet floral and lemony notes. This vintage is mid-weight, very clean and substantial (more so than many Italian pinot grigios). LCBO 620492

Boschendal 2015 The Pavillion Chenin Blanc

$10.90 | Western Cape, South Africa | 87 Points

Made from chenin blanc—South Africa’s standout white grape—this vintage offers richness balanced by firm acidity as well as generous, complex aromas and flavours of banana, elderflower, lemon and a subtle, nutmeg-like spice. It’s full-bodied with just enough acidity. LCBO 281311

Boutari 2015 Moschofilero

$13.10 | Peloponnese, Greece | 87 Points

Moschofilero is a semi-aromatic Greek variety similar to muscat or gewürztraminer but with less intense perfume. Boutari’s nicely fresh example has green banana, lime blossom and salt minerality on the nose and palate. It’s medium weight, fleshy and dry with a sour-edged and slightly bitter green finish. LCBO 172387

Chateau Du Cléray 2015 Muscadet Sevre & Main

$13.95 | Loire Valley, France | 87 Points


Made from the melon de Bourgogne grape, this is a slim, tart-edged, mouth-watering white with slightly warmed green apple, grapefruit and mineral aromas. It’s light- to medium-bodied with fleshiness, a touch of spritz and a bitter, saline finish. Chill well. LCBO 323816

Marqués De Riscal 2015 Rueda

$12.70 | Rueda, Spain | 87 Points

This light, refreshing white is made from the verdejo grape grown in the chalky soils of Rueda, northwest of Madrid. The notes are similar to those of a sauvignon blanc: lemon blossom, fresh dill, guava and passion fruit. It’s mid-weight, fairly smooth and herbal. LCBO 36822

Quinta Da Avaleda 2015 Vinho Verde

$11.45| Vinho Verde, Portugal | 87 Points

Quinta da Aveleda’s classic wine from the maritime region of northwest Portugal is light bodied, fresh and lightly frizzante with aromas of lime, sea salt and green apple. It’s very clean and pure, with a bitter lime peel flavour and evergreen finish. Chill well. LCBO 89995

Tarquino 2015 Sauvignon Blanc

$9.95 | Mendoza, Argentina | 87 Points

This new kid on the block offers nicely bright and lemony aromas along with gentle herbal and grassy notes typical of a young sauvignon, along with some star anise fruitiness. It’s not as light and racy as some, but it’s fairly well-balanced despite its fuller body. LCBO 447052

Trius 2015 Pinot Grigio

$11.75 | Niagara Peninsula | 87 Points

Trius offers great value with a wine that’s typical of the pinot grigio style. In fact, it’s better than most of the more expensive pinot grigios from Italy. The wine is very bright, and pure with gentle apple and pear notes from nose to finish. It’s smooth yet fresh and impeccably balanced. LCBO 316414

Cono Sur 2015 Bicicleta Viognier

$10.95 | Colchagua Valley, Chile | 88 Points


Year after year, this is one of the best bargains on the shelves—a lively and exotic viognier that effortlessly shows the exotic starfruit, lemon blossom and subtle licorice notes of this Mediterranean variety. It’s medium weight, vaguely sweet, with lemony acidity. LCBO 64287

La Veille Ferme 2015 Luberon

$12.45 | Rhone Valley, France | 88 Points

This fresh, young all-purpose sipper offers charm and delicacy. Made from blended southern French varieties, the wine offers subtle melon and pear, with lemon blossom and wet stone. It’s medium weight, nicely balanced, fairly smooth with a dry, lemony, nutty finish. LCBO 298505

Santa Rita 2015 Sauvignon Blanc Reserva

$14.15 | Casablanca Valley, Chile | 88 Points

Santa Rita’s pale sauvignon from the coastal Casablanca Valley has an intense nose crammed with notes of fresh dill, cucumber seed, snow pea and white melon. It’s medium weight, with a hint of sweetness, and real delicacy and finesse. Keep it well chilled. LCBO 275677

The Wolftrap 2015 Chenin Blanc Viognier and Grenache Blanc

$13.95 | Western Cape, South Africa | 88 Points

An exotic and delicious blend, this Wolftrap white has generous tropical green melon, pineapple fruit, a floral note (lily) and vaguely herbal complexity. It’s medium weight, fairly soft and warm but maintains a nice sense of freshness. LCBO 292532

Castillo De Monséran 2015 Garnacha

$9.95 | Cariñena, Spain | 86 Points

This is a thick, smooth red bordering on sweet but balanced by alcohol and fleeting tannin. It’s a mouthful of very ripe black cherry and blackberry jam with hints of licorice, chocolate and cedar. A cushy, comfy red to sip solo or chill lightly. Goes with ribs and heavy marinades. LCBO 73395

Finca Flichman 2015 Misterio Cabernet Sauvignon

$9.05 | Mendoza, Argentina | 86 Points


It’s rare to find cabernet authenticity under $10, and there’s no great balance or finesse here. Still, this is a flavourful cab with aromatic lift and complex notes of tea, slightly resinous oak, vanillin, coffee and ripe currant fruit. LCBO 163949

Luccarelli 2014 Negroamaro

$8.95 | Puglia, Italy | 86 Points

From an important grape growing on Italy’s sunny boot heel comes a full-bodied, soft, ripe and jammy red with flavours of prune, blackberry, licorice and meat and slightly earthy aromas. It’s loose and fairly dense with pleasant drying tannin. Bang for the buck. LCBO 380972

Farnese 2014 Fantini Montepulciano D’Abruzzo

$8.45 | Abruzzo, Italy | 87 Points

A fantastic price. This honest, fresh and juicy red captures vibrant notes of sour-edged blackberry, currant, subtle licorice and meat. It’s mid-weight, fleshy and lively with slightly green tannins. It also comes in magnums, great for a pizza party. LCBO 621912

La Veille Ferme 2015 Ventoux

$12.45 | Rhone Valley, France | 87 Points

A consistently great value, this ambassador of the southern Rhône is a grenache-based red with sour red plum, pepper, floral and vaguely meaty aromas. It’s light- to medium-bodied, balanced and fresh with good to very good length. Chill a little and sip away. LCBO 263640

Nederburg 2014 The Winemasters Cabernet Sauvignon

$11.95| Western Cape, South Africa | 87 Points

A leaner and almost Euro cab, it has authentic aromas of blackcurrant, pretty wood spice and vague evergreen and herb. It’s medium-bodied, fairly dense with sour-edged acidity and an almost salty minerality. Cellar-worthy. LCBO 111526

Vila Regia 2014 Reserva

$11.95 | Douro, Portugal | 88 Points


From the northern region that produces port, the Villa Regia Reserva has considerable colour depth, density and firmness—a good choice for a budget-minded cellar. The nose is shy, but there is ripe blackberry fruit with some resin, chocolate and herbal character. It’s medium- to full- bodied. LCBO 613950

Chapoutier 2015 Marius

$12.95 | Pays D’OC, France | 88 Points

One of the Rhône’s best producers has gone next door to Languedoc to create this new, cheaper but very good southern French blend of grenache and syrah. Expect generous aromas of cherry and strawberry jam, florals and pepper. It’s surprisingly full, rich and dense with some drying tannins. LCBO 470096

Chateau De Vaugelas 2014 Le Prieuré

$13.95| Corbieres, France | 88 Points

The Languedoc region of southern France is full of small estates producing well-priced grenache/syrah–based reds. This appealing mid-weight red has no great depth or weight but it offers juicy fruit and herbs. Expect pretty blackcurrant, pepper and woodsy aromas. LCBO 361691

Porta 6 2013

$12.40 | Lisboa, Portugal | 88 Points

Here’s a nicely complex, well- stuffed and structured wine for the money. It has surprising heft yet vibrant acidity with complex aromas of ripe blackberry and plum, plus background herbs, violets and a touch of wood. Tannins have been nicely contained. There’s some alcohol heat. LCBO 427377

Las Mulas 2015 Merlot Reserva

$12.95 | Central Valley, Chile | 88 Points

This organically grown merlot is from the Spanish Miguel Torres winery, which helped pioneer modern Chilean wine. It has a nicely pure nose of blackcurrant, florals and mint with background earthiness. It’s quite warm and plush, with good concentration and richness. LCBO 454868

Pascual Toso 2014 Malbec

$14.15 | Mendoza, Argentina | 88 Points


A bright, juicy, delicious young malbec, it offers vibrant blackcurrant fruit, fresh herbs and well-handled oak spice. There’s also a sweet-and-sour juiciness and tension here. Many young malbecs just aren’t easy drinking; however, this one can be enjoyed as a sipping wine, even lightly chilled. LCBO 35170

Wolf Blass 2015 Yellow Label Cabernet Sauvignon

$17.15 | South Australia | 88 Points

By sourcing from Langhorne Creek and McLaren Vale, this enduring brand has been given a facelift. Expect piquant, bright blackcurrant fruit, loads of menthol/eucalyptus and a touch of chocolate. It’s quite full-bodied, initially creamy then gets more sour-edged. LCBO 251876

Alamos 2014 Malbec

$15.45| Mendoza, Argentina | 89 Points

Big bang for the buck. The Alamos malbec wows with good complexity and depth, thanks to some syrah and bonarda in the blend. You’ll find all kinds of ripe blueberry, violet, oak, vanillin and roasted coffee on the nose. The wine is full-bodied, smooth, supple and quite concentrated. LCBO 295139

Santa Carolina 2015 Merlot Reserva

$12.95 | Colchagua Valley, Chile | 89 Points

A lovely expression of merlot, this wine captures the expected softness, gentleness and fruit freshness of the grape, with ripe and floral blackberry and plum notes. There is also a Chilean accent with some evergreen and menthol. It’s quite full-bodied and just a touch sweet. LCBO 324590

The Wolftrap 2015 Syrah Mourvedre Viognier

$13.95 | Western Cape, South Africa | 89 Points

One of the great values of modern South African winemaking, this blend rings with syrah authenticity—steeped in smoky oak, cured meat, olive brine, dark cherry and soya sauce–like notes. It’s full-bodied, fairly dense with some alcohol heat and firm tannins. LCBO 292557

Santa Rita 2013 Medalla Real Carmenere Gran Reserva

$18.05| Colchagua Valley, Chile | 90 Points


Fair warning that some don’t like this grape’s green streak, but this excellent wine has superb elegance and concentration. The nose is nicely lifted, with cassis, graphite, green pepper, caper and balsamic notes. It’s full-bodied and powerful. LCBO 392720


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