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Best sub-$15 wines at LCBO?

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Hi,

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.

    2. Berringer White Zinfandel

      2 Replies
      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:

          VINELAND ESTATES RIESLING DRY V.Q.A.
          LCBO 167551 | 750 mL bottle

          Price: $ 13.85

          CLINE ZINFANDEL
          LCBO 489278 | 750 mL bottle

          Price: $ 13.40

          ARGENTO MALBEC
          LCBO 591693 | 750 mL bottle

          Price: $ 10.20

          TRIO SAUVIGNON BLANC*
          LCBO 678656 | 750 mL bottle

          Price: $ 12.95

          JABOULET COTES DU RHONE PARALLELE 45
          LCBO 332304 | 750 mL bottle

          Price: $ 15.15

          PINOT GRIGIO TRENTINO DOC SANTI SORTESEL
          LCBO 637603 | 750 mL bottle

          Price: $ 12.95

          MCWILLIAMS HANWOOD ESTATE SHIRAZ
          LCBO 610683 | 750 mL bottle

          Price: $ 12.45

          LINDEMANS BIN 65 CHARDONNAY
          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 Malbec...it 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.

                        CHAT-EN-OEUF
                        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: NovoCuisine

                      I'll check it out -- thanks.

                      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.

                          http://www.billysbestbottles.com/

                          1. re: new_chowhound_fan

                            Another irreverent wine fan is Alan Kerr of the Gang Of Pour.
                            http://www.gangofpour.com/kerr/index....

                            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 billysbestbottles.com 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

                          2. Vintages http://www.vintages.com/circular/wom.... has excellent "Wines of the Month" selections, now in the $20 range but a reliable introduction to a particular type of wine. The two reds in the link are pricey but very good.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: jayt90

                              Looks like a good site to bookmark and check on occasion -- thanks for the recommendation.

                            2. This might be going too low, but some Italian table wines I just can't get enough of:

                              Mezzomundo - $8.25
                              Farnese, Montepulciano D'Abruzzo - $7.50

                              ...I've seen this blue labled Farnese at many resto's as their house offering...

                              18 Replies
                              1. re: Recyclor

                                Farnese used to be my house plonk of choice. Drink it, cook with it, spill it... didn't matter. Then they started having some not so good years. Citra Sangiovese, for a whopping $7.25, is my current red house Italian plonk.

                                1. re: Googs

                                  Whoohoo! Hot tip!...thanks Googs I'll check that out!

                                2. re: Recyclor

                                  If it's good and it costs $8, that's good enough for me! I'll check the Farnese for sure -- thanks very much.

                                  1. re: Recyclor

                                    Definitly going too low. Those are big factory wines that use pretty crap quality grapes and actually taste bad (as in rank). Best to spend a coupla bucks more.

                                    There are some good cheapies imho tho: La Casona (something like that) Monastrell - Spain. Fuzion Malbec Shiraz - Argentina. Mysterio Malbec - Argentina. All under 10 bucks!

                                    1. re: Sui_Mai

                                      Funny. I find Fuzion wines to be completely undrinkable. I'll never understand why people think that just because it's cheap and popular that is has to be good as well.

                                      1. re: Googs

                                        The Fuzion that is out now, not as good as original debut. 2005 I think.

                                        1. re: Sui_Mai

                                          Tasting side by side, I much prefer Misterio for a malbec in that price range.

                                          1. re: Sui_Mai

                                            I tried Fuzion when it first came out and thought it was pretty good, for $7+. My SO immediately bought a case. By the time we were halfway through the case, I had lost interest. It may be fine for what it is, but for a few dollars more, I felt that there were better wines available. This has become more and more evident with each passing year. I find that the Fuzion wines are getting weaker by the year, while others, particularly Portuguese reds are improving by the year. My current fave, coming in at nearly $15 per bottle, is Jip Jip Rocks. It ... well, it rocks.

                                            1. re: 1sweetpea

                                              Under $10 ($8.95 to be precise) and Portuguese is my current house red plonk, Sogrape Vila Regia. It's definitely not case-worthy, but its reliable which all I really want in a plonk. That and being widely and constantly available.

                                              Wine snobs may say não to Portuguese wines, but I could hardly care less.

                                              1. re: Googs

                                                You can also find some decent plonk under $10 among the Sicilians.

                                                1. re: JamieK

                                                  Name names, Mr K. Name names!!!

                                                  1. re: Googs

                                                    Oh...somewhere in there is a bad Godfather joke...

                                                    1. re: Googs

                                                      oh crap, I guess I'm going to be sleeping with the fishes now. I had some white by Montalto in the summer that was okay, not great, just decent cheap plonk.

                                                    2. re: JamieK

                                                      I live with Sicilians. They all make their own for under $10 and I'm yet to find a good bottle.

                                                    3. re: Googs

                                                      As Senhor Simpson would say, dão!

                                                      1. re: Googs

                                                        Googs, have you gone to the next level with Vila Regia? There's a 2003 reserve one that is a few bucks more, but a few bucks tastier, IMO. I prefer this one, though we often have a few of the under $10 version around to serve as second and third bottles.

                                                        1. re: 1sweetpea

                                                          The whole sport of it to me is finding the under 10's. It's a true challenge. I've given thought to the upgrade, but each time I think Naaaaahhhh, why bother?

                                                2. re: Sui_Mai

                                                  I just found out that Monastrell is the Spanish name for Mourvedre - a biggie in Cotes de Rhone and other southern French wines which I love.

                                              2. I am sipping a glass of Tortoise Creek syrah, vin de pays d'oc, on the regular lcbo shelf and it's very good. Yes it's a screwtop (mon dieu!) but it's tasty and at $13.10, good value.

                                                btw, new chowhound, don't be surprised if this thread gets moved over to the wines board. welcome!

                                                5 Replies
                                                1. re: JamieK

                                                  I love screwcaps! So easy to deal with when there is a lot going on before eating.

                                                  1. re: jayt90

                                                    Oh, yeah, nothing wrong with screwtops, in fact they're the way to go. It just seems so unFrenchlike. That wine was so good too, mellow, nice balance, lots of berry without getting too sweet. Check it out -- Tortoise Creek, the bottle sort of looks Ozzie with its bright yellow labelling and tortoise art.

                                                    1. re: JamieK

                                                      Thanks for the tip Jamie, I will pick up a bottle today!! Sounds very nice.

                                                      1. re: JamieK

                                                        when i was at flat rock this summer, they were mentioning that they have had 0% return due to taint since they have used screwtops. later that weekend, at jackson triggs, our tour guide mentioned the same fact about flat rock, and noted how much cash it's likely saved them. no shame in a screw top, evidently!

                                                        1. re: JamieK

                                                          I had no idea there was a wine board, but I appreciate everyone going off-topic to help me out. I'll check out the Tortoise Creek.

                                                    2. Try the Jim Jim (The downunder dog) Shiraz 2006. Its a great value at $14.95 a bottle I seem to recall Robert Parker Jr giving it a 90, how can you go wrong. The Vintages store on Dundas had a few bottles when I was there tonight.

                                                      Good Luck

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: Food4201

                                                        Just about any brand of Montepulciano d'Abruzzo for a red.

                                                        Trebbiano - white

                                                        Good, reasonable, sturdy, no nonsense wines for everyday drinking with meals.

                                                        The Rothschild family doubtlessly will not lose any sleep over them, but they make most meals into pleasnat and civilized occasions.

                                                        1. re: Food4201

                                                          I work pretty close to Yonge & Dundas, so I guess I know what I'm doing on my lunch hour tomorrow...

                                                          1. re: new_chowhound_fan

                                                            Sad to say, but the LCBO at the Atrium is one of the best in the city (downtown). The selection, while currently pretty good, is not what it was say, 15 years ago. That said, their Vintages selection is pretty broad, and will give you a decent price spectrum. At that location, look to South African, Portuguese, and Spanish for best values.

                                                        2. I find that most of my favorite whites fall under the $15 point anyway! I find I splurge on my red and am happy with numerous whites...
                                                          any suggestions for a great red under $15?

                                                          6 Replies
                                                          1. re: burlgurl

                                                            I really liked a South African I tried the other day, Oracle Shiraz..$10.95

                                                            1. re: burlgurl

                                                              Any Perrin or Jaboulet family Cotes de Rhone is very dependable year in and out.

                                                              Cairanne is my personal fave (LCBO Vintages will have Perrin's)

                                                              1. re: burlgurl

                                                                Burlgurl,
                                                                Check out the Argentina section of the LCBO. We like the Malbecs several mentioned earlier in this post. Lately we've been into FuZion Shiraz/Malbec for $7.95 as our "house red". I also picked up a Chateau Timberlay Merlot/Cab 2007 from Bordeaux for about $16 that I am very excited to try this weekend.

                                                                1. re: South Carolina Girl

                                                                  The Fuzion is our house red too. With that flavour, you can't beat the price.

                                                                  1. re: JamieK

                                                                    yup...same here...and love its a screwcap. Anyone tried the Fuzion reserve or whatever its called...they've launched a 12.95 reserve blend....which given the old Fuzion tasted better than the current Fuzion ...may be the old fuzion in new bottles...or not... confuzed ?

                                                                    1. re: Minister of Kebab

                                                                      I like the FUZION ALTA RESERVE MALBEC, LCBO 135475, $ 9.95

                                                                      Also the like the Sparkling Fuzion, only thing is it comes in a gift pack with the Shiraz Malbec for $19.95.

                                                              2. The Toronto Life Eating & Drinking guide currently available for $10 also has a wine guide, with many recs under $15. I'm pretty ignorant about wine as well, but a couple of bottles I already like are on the list... maybe some winehounds can weigh in on whether these are good recs. I'd like to know too since I am planning to use this guide to help me branch out a little in my wine selections.

                                                                1. Castillo de Almansa ($12), Los Molinos ($14), Bersano Barbera d'Asti ($12), Roodeberg ($12) for reds. My cheap and cheefuls for a weeknight stew or pasta.

                                                                  Henry of Pelham chardonnay and riesling (Both ca. $13), Cave Springs riesling, an Ontario pinot gris whose producer I forget, because my Friggin' LCBO doesn't carry it anymore.

                                                                  9 Replies
                                                                  1. re: hungry_pangolin

                                                                    h. pangolin, et al. - any thoughts on the Inniskillin '04 riesling compared to those other two?

                                                                    1. re: Chester Eleganté

                                                                      To be honest, I can't call to mind the Inniskillin 04 specifically at the moment. I will say this, however. In the <$15 range, I don't think that Inniskillin is as good as its competition. Cave Spring and Henry of Pelham, at the same price, have been more consistant and better quality over the last five years, at least.

                                                                      1. re: hungry_pangolin

                                                                        That's cool, thanks. It's the Inniskillin Riesling Reserve VQA Pre, to be more specific.

                                                                        Anyone partial to the Kim Crawford or the Nederburg for Sauvignon Blancs?

                                                                        1. re: Chester Eleganté

                                                                          For dollar value, I'd say the Nederberg is better. They're both pretty good. I should have mentioned Nederberg SB in my original posting, because I do pick it up every once in a while. I do a schnitzel with anchovy, capers and white wine, and the Nederberg SB is the perfect match.

                                                                    2. re: hungry_pangolin

                                                                      Yes, Roodeberg!

                                                                      1. re: hungry_pangolin

                                                                        I agree, Henry of Pelham Riesling is very enjoyable. Also love the Cave Springs Chard Musque but I believe this to be over $15.

                                                                        1. re: millygirl

                                                                          Now hitting closer to $20, I believe.

                                                                        2. re: hungry_pangolin

                                                                          I'll try to grab one or two of these but I think my hands are going to be pretty full with all of the great recommendations by everyone -- out of the above, what's your fave?

                                                                          1. re: hungry_pangolin

                                                                            LCBO is the shits with local wines unless they're HUGE.

                                                                          2. in my mind, you don't need to go any further than our own backyard for some great affordable wines - beamsville/niagara do it pretty well, as you can read in this old post of mine : http://www.chowhound.com/topics/433004
                                                                            as for specifics, depends what you're looking for...i could go on for a while consdiering i rarely pay more than $12 for a bottle myself....
                                                                            for whites: i tried a whack of rieslings at the food and wine show today that floored me. RELAX and BLACK TOWER rieslings from germany were really good, and are under $12 at the LCBO. the vineland estates was pretty nice too. my partner tried the MIKE WEIR chard and liked it, and i think he said it retailed for $15ish.
                                                                            for reds: again, for pinots/gamays, look no further than niagara. HENRY OF PELHAM 2005 GAMAY is a stunner, as is FLAT ROCK 2004 PINOR NOIR if you can find it. i stand by the PELEE ISLAND BACO NOIR as well. these are all great wines for thai/spicier food, red meat or poultry. for international, there's an Argentinian called TRIO - by CONCHA Y TORO - a red blend that stands up nicely to meats, etc. and i can't get off SANGRA (de?) TORRES from Spain. most of the Spanish Tempranillos tasted great at the wine show today.
                                                                            that's a primer - i'll think on it some more and no doubt think of dozens more...

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: LemonLauren

                                                                              I'm mostly looking for reds, and I've heard one or two others recommend Trio so I'll definitely check it out -- thanks.

                                                                            2. I just tried this wonderful Riesling, it is the Birchwood Gewürztraminer/Riesling and it has a fruity aroma with honey, pear, apple and lychee, very nice! And its about 10.75. Good luck!

                                                                              1. Thanks to Chris Waters, I really enjoyed these at the wine expo:
                                                                                Hungaria Grande Cuvee Brut - bottle fermented $11 sparkling
                                                                                and
                                                                                Montes 2007 sauvignon blanc (Chile) $14 - gorgeous sweet syrupy smell, but acidic, white peach aperitif taste

                                                                                1. A coulple of weeks we tried a wine that I have not seen before in the LCBO and loved it. (I think it was 17.00). It is an Ozzie Shiraz called RED KNOT!

                                                                                  1. Surprised that there hasn't been any mention of Cono Sur from Chile. They offer a 1500ml Cab/Shiraz and a Cab/Merlot for $14.05 (prefer the Cab/Shiraz). I'm sure everyone can figure out the math; a 750ml bottle for $7. For an all purpose quaffer it has impressive depth for the price. They also have a Sauvignon Blanc at the same price and size which is okay but nothing special.

                                                                                    1. Get a copy of today's Globe & Mail. Beppi's article is about exactly this.

                                                                                      BTW I can recall when the bargain hunt was for bottles under $10. This isn't a generation gap thing as in "I remember when I was young..." This is price creep. Much about that in today's piece as well.

                                                                                      1. Chardonnay, under $15 at lCBO:
                                                                                        Naked Grape (Unoaked),
                                                                                        and Spinelli (Terre di Chieti - Italy)

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: cocolou

                                                                                          Santa Carolina, Barrica Selection, Syrah...wonderful!! I think they may have a couple of bottles left. We tried it last week, and next day ran back out to get more. It's that good!

                                                                                        2. i have a new one....
                                                                                          a tetrapack aussie shiraz called Kelly's Revenge - $10.20 for the tetrapack, a real steal and a nice spicy, full-bodied read

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: LemonLauren

                                                                                            We had the Kelly's Revenge white, and it was pretty good also.

                                                                                          2. Reds:
                                                                                            Casillero Del Diablo Carmenere. (my all time fav.)
                                                                                            Their Merlot is good as well.
                                                                                            Henry of Phelam Baco Noir
                                                                                            Inniskillin Pinot Noir- spot on with herbed roasted chicken & potatoes.

                                                                                            Whites:
                                                                                            Santa Carolina Chardonnay
                                                                                            Wolf Blass Chardonnay
                                                                                            Jackson Triggs Sauvignon Blanc
                                                                                            Fetzer Fume Blanc.

                                                                                            Dessert Wine:
                                                                                            Orion Cabernet Franc Port- available only at the wine rack. Served this last New Years Eve with a vanilla bean mousse cake with chocolate ganache. It was out of this world!!!

                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: PlayWithYourFood

                                                                                              I'd second Casillero Del Diablo Carmenere. I'm not a big fan of the other Casillero Del Diablo wines (the Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot are the others that I tried), but the Carmenere is really nice. I find that its pretty versatile but still tastes interesting.

                                                                                              1. re: Froster

                                                                                                I went with Billy's suggestion of TERA D'ALIGI 04 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, (Italy) for $11.95 to bring to the family Christmas dinner. Has a DVD attached to the neck of the bottle proclaiming it the "Red wine of the year 2007". We'll have to see!

                                                                                                1. re: looniePincher

                                                                                                  I tried the Terra D'Aligi over Christmas and I have to say that this wine is amazing for the price. WOW, the whole family thought I was busting out some crazy expensive wine. I am shocked that this list does not have more wines from this house. Also, they have their under $8 line called Spinelli. Try Spinelli Montepulciano or better yet their sangiovese and get back to. I promise you, they are a steal!

                                                                                                  1. re: Lonergan

                                                                                                    Don't know if this is across the board, but it looks like the Peterborough LCBO is de-listing Terra D'Aligi. It was on the sale shelf this week for $9.50. I bought 6 bottles - there were a few more left.

                                                                                              2. re: PlayWithYourFood

                                                                                                Henry of Pelham Baco Noir 2005. Other years not even close. Must be 2005 for that one.

                                                                                              3. Here's the Star's year end round-up of plonk. A very good list I'd say although I would vehemently disagree with choosing any Fetzer wine.
                                                                                                http://www.thestar.com/living/article...

                                                                                                1. Hi K,

                                                                                                  I like the Barefoot Merlot...it's around 10 bucks . . . It's pretty tasty

                                                                                                  SB

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: snackboy

                                                                                                    i can't believe that no one has mentioned Chateau Des Charmes, that's pretty sad. most of their varietals come in under $15 and are consistently rated amongst the top by John Szabo, James Chatto, David Lawrason et al.

                                                                                                  2. Hi there, yeah I am new to this finding bargains thing but I have to say that for an under $15 wine, Terra D'Aligi or the Spinelli Sangiovese are a must have. How these guys are able to hit these prices are beyond me. Let me know what you think.

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: Lonergan

                                                                                                      Based on a few recommendations above, I bought a bottle of the Terra D'Aligi....just sipping it right now and I must agree. For the price, it is well worth it. Very enjoyable, everyday house wine.

                                                                                                    2. My current faves under $15, and IMO could easily be mistaken for $18 wines:

                                                                                                      Red: El Burro Garnacha $12.85 - very nice Spanish red for the price - has a very decently long spicy finish

                                                                                                      White: Leaping Horse Chardonnay $11.75 - lovely tropical notes and lemony zesty finish.

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: JackInTheSun

                                                                                                        I tried El Burro for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and I concur, for the price it is a pleasant surprise.

                                                                                                        Only a Vintages selection, unfortunately, so limited availability, but for a white, I suggest from Hungary the St Donatus Irsai Oliver, similar to a muscat, about $12.

                                                                                                      2. Now that I have half a case safely squirrelled away, I can highly recommend the Amberley 2003 Shiraz from Vintages...it's from Margaret River region in western Australia and is just so flavourful! Just under $15.

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: Food Tourist

                                                                                                          Not that this list is missing any suggestions, but someone brought over a Chilean tetra pak wine the other day...Likan. the Cabernet, it was quite nice.

                                                                                                          My general approach for sub-$15 wine buying involves going to a big LCBO with a big Vintages (e.g. summerhill or queens quay in TO) and scanning the aisles for a "strike price". Normally end up in the south of France (languedoc), italian or californian sections. Usually I'm going to someone's place for dinner/drinks and actually looking for a label that catches my eye and, when brought to my host's place, looks more thoughtful than a Wolf Blass or some mainstream stuff like that. This approach is probably repugnant to wine purists, but it usually works and is fun.

                                                                                                        2. I found I needed to find a wine critic with the same palate as myself. After much comparing I find David Lawrason and Natalie Maclean match my tastes.
                                                                                                          Natalie does a review of Vintages releases here.
                                                                                                          http://www.nataliemaclean.com/wine_pi...

                                                                                                          I currently on the hunt for this:

                                                                                                          YALI RESERVE CARMÉNÈRE 2005
                                                                                                          Chile | Viña Ventisquero
                                                                                                          VINTAGES 48306 | 750 mL | $ 11.90

                                                                                                          1. Within our circle, we've been reaching for the Cono Sur as of late: Viognier for whites, Merlot or Pinot Noir for reds. $10 or so a pop. Even better deals are the $14 1500mL blends.

                                                                                                            Also, the new Fuzion from Argentina (70% Shiraz, 30% Malbec) has been absolutely blowing through the LCBOs as of late at $7.45. As of the moment, the only stores in the city with appreciable stock left (prolly just got in an order) are the Atrium on Bay, Yonge south of Steeles, and Yonge and Hwy. 7. Crazy burn.

                                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: Chester Eleganté

                                                                                                              Hi Gang,
                                                                                                              Thought I'd give this topic a fresh bump and get the discussion going again.

                                                                                                              I'm looking for your favorite reliably good RED wine under $15-$20 a bottle that's ready to drink now, and prefereably has a big round full flavour with lots of fruit and tannins, perhaps ones that are good with tomato sauced pasta and/or grilled beef. Merlot and beaujolais need not apply. :-)

                                                                                                              Anyone?

                                                                                                              1. re: TorontoTips

                                                                                                                While I am no wine expert, I have truly fallen in love with the 2007 Cline Zinfandel, which is $14.00 at LCBO. Only problem with the wine is that it can be a little hard to find. My local LCBO says they have 53 bottles, but none on the shelf or in the back apparently (I asked).
                                                                                                                I do believe that the wine fits you askings for a "big round full flavour with lots of fruit and tannins"

                                                                                                                1. re: camp1980

                                                                                                                  Perez Cruz Cab from Chile in VIntages $14.95

                                                                                                                2. re: TorontoTips

                                                                                                                  El Burro Garnacha.
                                                                                                                  trust me. tastes like a $20+ bottle of wine. let it breathe for 30 min or so.
                                                                                                                  Perez Cruz also is nice, but it becomes excellent if you let it breathe for 1-2 hrs.

                                                                                                                  1. re: TorontoTips

                                                                                                                    Wow, lots of great suggestions, and good advice, too!

                                                                                                                    I'm not afraid to spend a few bucks if the result is worth it, so I'd eagerly take your advice in the $15-$20, $20-$25, and higher categories. Same criteria - large, full-bodied reds, lots of sruit, lots of tannins.

                                                                                                                    Cheers!

                                                                                                                    1. re: TorontoTips

                                                                                                                      you also will have better success if you get Garnache or garnache blends. tends to be really juicy and you can find great value.
                                                                                                                      El Burro is a garnache

                                                                                                                    2. re: TorontoTips

                                                                                                                      I'm late to the party (as usual!) but the new Fuzion Alta (pure Malbec, no Shiraz) is IMO much tastier than the regular Fuzion (which I kind of hate now), and well worth the extra $2. (If you can find it, that is.) I love Vina Tarapaca's Carmenere so much that I barely want to recommend it, given that it's already hard to find, it gives big, smooth, deep flavour, all for $12.95. Agree with with Sam_1's rec below for JLohr 7 Oaks Cab Sauv -- a bit pricey for me for everyday drinking, but really very good.

                                                                                                                  2. Recently, my high-value go-to has been Chateau Ducla $14.95
                                                                                                                    http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/pro...

                                                                                                                    It's a sexy Bordeaux (2006). Really earthy with a hint of pencil shavings. Big fruit on the palate. Definately worth a try.

                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: Hondapendragon

                                                                                                                      Ssshhh about the Chateau Ducla. Oh well. At least I stocked up when it came out.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Googs

                                                                                                                        I know, I thought very carefully before I decided to share it with everyone here... but I figure it's good karma.

                                                                                                                    2. While not a specific recommendation, I’ve got a suggestion. One of the resources that I’ve used to help me is a reference book written by a local Ottawa wine writer, Rod Phillips, who lists the “The 500 Best Wines in the LCBO” annually. I’m going out to pick up my 2010 version toady. Not only wines under $15 – but a good resource with lots of solid recommendations for lower-priced bottles.

                                                                                                                      It’s a handy reference because of its size and the manner in which it is organized. It lists the wines’ stock numbers and price and has a description, rating and a few lines to write your own observations. I certainly don’t always agree with Mr. Phillips, but I’ve tried many a reasonable wine which I would not have otherwise found. For some reason, I almost always agree with his glowing recommendations of just-over$15-reds, sparkling wines and port. Don’t tend to like his recommended whites as much but I’m still trying to find my way through the whites.

                                                                                                                      On my own I’ve found that the Santa Carolina Chilean wines already noted are good quality and value. The reliable, but not terribly inspiring French Veille Ferme is always drinklable and a new one that is much to my liking is an Austrailian shiraz “The Lackey” from Kilikanoon.

                                                                                                                      1. Though I have never been caught up in the whole Malbec craze, the 2007 Bianchi Famiglia Malbec is a steal at $14.95.

                                                                                                                        This is a big red, very juicy with lots of red fruit. It is however smooth with a very nice long supple finish to it. If you try this and then try Fuzion you will understand and appreciate where you extra $7.00 is going. Fuzion is okay for its price, but it doesn't compare with the more refine wines coming out of that Region.

                                                                                                                        http://www.lcbo.ca/lcbo-ear/lcbo/prod...

                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: JPJ

                                                                                                                          They currently have a Berenger for under $10 and it is quite nice..i have found it at numerous LCBO's, and when you decant it, it gets even better. And for $10 you cannot go wrong. The

                                                                                                                          1. re: MiniMom

                                                                                                                            If you're looking for something a little bit different that will come as a surprise, check out:

                                                                                                                            BODEGAS CASTANO LA CASONA MONASTRELL
                                                                                                                            LCBO Item # 143743

                                                                                                                            This wine recently had a limited pre-release in the GTA and it sold out 90% between Wednesday and Sunday across all stores. It's now regular list. This wine costs ***8.95***. I've been lucky enough to have a lot of good wines in my time, so I'm under no illusion that this wine is more than a really solid house wine, but at the price point and a few minutes of decanting I think it drinks better than the vast majority of the Argentine Malbecs that are making their way onto this list. And at $8.95 it can't hurt to give it a whirl.

                                                                                                                            It comes from the "forgotten" wine region of Yecla in Southeastern Spain. The grape is Monastrell, or as les francais call it, Mourvedre (heavy component of my fave CNduP).

                                                                                                                            Enjoy!

                                                                                                                        2. Hey gang!

                                                                                                                          Great suggestions and great advice too! (I'm never sure about when to drink, how long to let it breathe, decanting, etc.)

                                                                                                                          Since you're all so good, how about some suggestions in the $15-$20, $20-25. and $25+ categories? Same criteria - ready to drink, big bold reds, full-bodied with lots of fruit and tannins and style.

                                                                                                                          Cheers!

                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                          1. re: TorontoTips

                                                                                                                            I would suggest the J Lohr Seven Oaks Cab Sauv in the $20-$25 range ($21.95 at the LCBO). From their website: "Aged in oak for more than a year, this densely coloured red is packed with intense aromas of black cherry, blackcurrant, cedar, vanilla, and spices. Full-bodied and sweet-centred, this Cabernet will beautifully complement braised beef with a mildly spicy sauce."

                                                                                                                            Delicious.

                                                                                                                          2. A very good Cote du Rhone is being released this Saturday (Nov 21) at $15:

                                                                                                                            2007 Domaine Galevan "Paroles de Femme" (LCBO# 125930)

                                                                                                                            The previous vintage was excellent QPR, fruit dominant medium bodied with sufficient complexity and balance to compete with wines $10 more. The 2007 vintage is reputed to be one of the best vintages ever for Southern Rhone. I expect this vintage to be even more fruity but maybe somewhat less complexity. This wine is worth buying by the case at this price. This was my party wine for the summer.

                                                                                                                            1. Cawarra cab-shiraz blend is right around the $10 mark, and is good - too good.
                                                                                                                              t

                                                                                                                              1. Trapiche Cabernet Sauvignon. The dirty little secret of the wine crowd. Under $9 and delicious.

                                                                                                                                1. Cline 2007 Syrah = best wine for $14.95.