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Nov 16, 2007 10:39 AM

Best sub-$15 wines at LCBO?


I was hoping to appeal to the wisdom of the Chowhounds for recommendations regarding the best <$15 wines at the LCBO...

Thanks in advance!

-- K

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  1. Pick up the latest Wine Access magazine at a local mag/book store - it has the best wines under $25, you can then pick and choose the ones under $15.

    Was at a tasting last night with all wines under $15, I'll get the list together and post here later.

    1 Reply
    1. re: DAB

      My girlfriend got me a copy of this when I was at the Food & Wine Show today -- haven't had a chance to peruse it yet but it seems like it's right on the money. Thanks for the tip.

      1. re: abscissa

        Yesterday evening at the Gourmet Food & Wine Show I tasted some absolutely wonderful, and inexpensive ($10-15) Chilean wines, Casillero del Diablo (the Devil's Cellar). The white was my personal favourite- dry, with sweet fruity undertones, perfect for fruit, cheeses, and white fish.

        1. re: czthemmnt

          I'm heading to the show on Sunday, so I'll be sure to try those -- thanks.

      2. Wine Access, while a great suggestion, can be quite daunting for someone just starting out. There's a multitude of free, or close to free, resources to be had as well. I'll update once I'm home with my shortcuts.

        The Vintages magazine distributed by the LCBO can be useful if you follow a few key things:
        Check the price first as this will allow for skimming until you hit your range;
        Look to see if there's an independent review, not the LCBO'S or from the wine's country of origin;
        Make certain the review is current (old and thereby useless reviews get sneaked in);
        Be certain the reviewer is reputable;
        See if the description matches your taste buds.
        It ain't flawless, but it does cut down on errors and it's free.

        The LCBO offers many decent bottles under $15. Do you have any preferences in style or colour?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Googs

          To be honest, I don't know all that much about wine and thus don't have a good base to make judgments about preferences in style and colour. I know preferences are personal, but can I ask about yours?

        2. As promised, these were the wines at the tasting last night, all very good choices:

          LCBO 167551 | 750 mL bottle

          Price: $ 13.85

          LCBO 489278 | 750 mL bottle

          Price: $ 13.40

          LCBO 591693 | 750 mL bottle

          Price: $ 10.20

          LCBO 678656 | 750 mL bottle

          Price: $ 12.95

          LCBO 332304 | 750 mL bottle

          Price: $ 15.15

          LCBO 637603 | 750 mL bottle

          Price: $ 12.95

          LCBO 610683 | 750 mL bottle

          Price: $ 12.45

          LCBO 142117 | 750 mL bottle

          Price: $ 11.15

          7 Replies
          1. re: DAB

            Barefoot Cellars Sauvignon Blanc and the Pinot Grigio is really nice and under $15. They also have a Merlot but I haven't opened it yet.

            1. re: DAB

              Awesome list -- I really appreciate it -- thanks.

              1. re: DAB

                that CLINE zin is absolutley atrocious. no character or structure, way too young. maybe in a year or two it might develop some backbone, somehow i doubt it though.

                1. re: DAB

                  TRIO also do a few good red blends, fyi
                  tried the vinelands at the wine show today - really nice

                  1. re: DAB

                    I'm particularly fond of the Argento has a surprising amount of character for something so inexpensive. It's become our red of choice for braising, and if it's a small cut of meat that doesn't require too deep a bath I will happily polish off the rest of the bottle myself. I'm not nearly as crazy about their cab sauv or the white (maybe a pinot grigio?), but I think the malbec is a good, sturdy, drinkable wine.

                    1. re: wickalicious

                      Go with Trapiche Reserve Malbec next time; TRAPICHE RESERVE MALBEC
                      LCBO 614651 | 750 mL bottle Price: $ 12.15 will knock your socks off. NEGROAMARO MEZZOMONDO; LCBO 588962 | 750 mL bottle Price: $ 8.50. I still can't believe this wine is so cheap. It remains quietly one of my best all around reds, every time I serve it people think I'm pulling all the stops out!

                      Years ago, my first trip to Europe, I asked an Italian sommelier to recommend me his best bottle of wine. His answer, which has stayed with me forever, was "Do you want the most expensive, or the best?". Go nutz.

                      1. re: The Goddess

                        ha! that negroamaro might be the one i was rather impressed with at foxley and another locale.

                        on a lark i decided to try the chat-en-oeuf and have been plenty surprised by it. really lovely full body to it but i'm still struggling to find a single wine that compliments a whole cheese plate.

                        LCBO 21113 | 750 mL bottle

                        Price: $ 12.85
                        Wine, Still Table Wine, Red Still Table Wine
                        13.6% Alcohol/Vol.

                  2. In the last year and a half, the bottle I keep going back to is Chateau Puyfromage, which is a Bordeaux. It is juuust under $15, at $14.95; I believe they've raised the price recently.

                    Some notes from the LCBO website...

                    Tasting Note
                    Ruby red colour; raspberry, cassis fruit with, plum, lightly oaked character and spice; dry and medium-bodied, well balance with ripe fruit on the medium finish.

                    Serving Suggestion
                    Roast beef, grilled steak, strong cheese or lamb chops

                    13 Replies
                      1. re: new_chowhound_fan

                        You should also check out Billy Munnelly's website. He specializes in affordable wines.

                        1. re: millygirl

                          Cool site -- below is the link for everyone else. Thanks for the recommendation.


                          1. re: new_chowhound_fan

                            Another irreverent wine fan is Alan Kerr of the Gang Of Pour.

                            Toronto Star wine critic rocks. Toronto Life reviews are too late by the time they hit the shelf.

                            I'd like to partially disagree with juno's assessment of Beppi, the wine columnist for the Globe. While, yes, many reviews cater to the Globe crowd he almost always includes a couple of good bargains in there too. Semi-regularly he'll also do a round-up of well priced wines or say wines that go with Superbowl. I enjoy his writing style as he tends not to take wine that seriously. It is, after all, a matter of personal taste not meant to be held up against the tastes of others. Foremost for me is that it's meant to be enjoyed, not revered.

                            As for your question about my tastes, they tend to change seasonally but I'm always bargain hunting. If I can lay a bottle down for a few years until it reaches its peak I feel I've done well. It helps to keep a lot of plonk around, though, if you don't want to break into your stash too soon.

                            (This list is skewed by the unnaturally low number of affordable Canadian wines offered in Ontario. Mission Hill where art thou?) Reasonable reds available at the LCBO from winemakers that tend not to let me down are:
                            Argentian - Flichman
                            Australia - D'Arenberg, Waterwheel
                            Canada - Jackson Triggs (proprietors series
                            )Chile - Echeverria, Errazuriz
                            France - Christian Moueix, Perrin & Fils
                            Italy - I tend to spend too much money on Italian reds, Citra Sangiovese aside
                            Portugal - Sogrape
                            Spain - Miguel Torres, Muga
                            USA - ROTFL!!! Now that's funny
                            Vinters Without Borders - Jacques & Francois Lurton

                            1. re: Googs

                              Tasted a nice classic cab sauv at the Miguel Torres booth in the Chile section of the wine expo last night for...gasp...only one ticket.
                              It is most likely the Santa Digna Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 for $15 at LCBO vintages.

                              1. re: Food Tourist

                                If it was the Miguel Torres Gran Coronas, it is a wonderful cab sav, and worth the 18.75 they charge for it. We were introduced to it by a sommelier last year. I haven't seen the one you mention, but I'll look for it. I recently splurged on another of their cabs that was near the $50 mark and it was also good, but not $20+ better than the Gran Coronas.
                                Like one of the other posters mentioned, I find many drinkable whites in the $10-12 range, but I tend to splurge a little more on the reds.

                              2. re: Googs

                                Thanks very much, much appreciated -- I'll definitely try as many of those as possible and report back.

                                1. re: Googs

                                  The TO Star critic (is it Stimmel?) does, emphatically, not rock. He does hone in one some good buys, granted. He has some astounding blind spots. I remember his comments on South African wines (the area about which I know most) that were so off the mark that it was risible. His only excuse might be the restrictive price point, but even then, it was a very bad call. On this I might be wrong, but he strikes me as a bit of a Parker acolyte.

                                  1. re: hungry_pangolin

                                    The Toronto Star Rocks comment was strictly in the context of the question being asked. Gord Stimmel has a real knack for inexpensive beauties and doesn't seem to fear telling the public about them. I feel that would be useful to NCF's quest.

                                    1. re: Googs

                                      My problem with Stimmel is over-editing, or his fear of printing a bad review. Almost everything he reviews is rated 89-91.
                                      Now magazine has a similar policy.

                                      There are lots of stinkers out there, and no reviewers to point them out!

                                      1. re: jayt90

                                        As you probably already know, ratings are relevant to the price of the wine. An 89 10 buck bottle doesn't drink the same as an 89 60 dollar bottle.

                                        Now mag for wine reviews??? Really??? It never would have occured to me. No offense meant. Just never would do it myself.

                                        All that aside, if critics did review the stinkers there would be no space left for the good ones. Stinker is, of course, relevant too. If my friend likes Partager, I'm not going to tell them they're wrong. It's what works for them. I'll always bring my own wine to their place though. No need to make them feel bad about their choice.

                              3. re: millygirl

                                Let me second millygirl's suggestion. The website is an ideal starting point for those just getting into wine appreciation. Billy Munnelly zeros in on mainly lower-priced wines available at the LCBO stores in Ontario. He writes clearly, wittily and without pretension, and has pointed me over the years to lots of finds (as well as a few duds, but then, his batting average is still pretty high). You'll do well to tap into his website every now and then. You can also get some good tips from the wine columns in the National Post (on Saturdays) and the Toronto Star (on Wednesdays, if I recall correctly). The wine columnist in the Globe and Mail, while authoritative, seems to write mainly about wines above your price preference.

                                1. re: juno

                                  Wow that's a great site! I've been wondering the new Yellow Tail Rose and his comments are "super candy sweet" - that answers my question! thanks