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Why pay more?

In this week's column, Vin dishes on bargains to be had at the LCBO
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Every month, the LCBO has a “Limited Time Offer” program with sales on items across its whole range of product from beer to coolers to spirits to wine, including offerings in its Vintages category. There are often weekly specials, too

With wine, you will find reductions anywhere from one to three dollars. If you limited your purchases to just those sale wines, you could, over the course of a year, save two or three hundred dollars, depending on your consumption. 

You could also keep your eyes open for wines being de-listed, sometimes by the LCBO as a whole, sometimes just by a local store. In this case, savings generally run about 20 per cent, though it can go higher. 

You can keep track of the LTOs by checking the LCBO website; however, the de-lists may require “in-store vigilance.” 

WiseOwlWise Owl Sauvignon Blanc 2017, $2.50 off at $12.75
Wise Owl Sauvignon Blanc 2017, $2.50 off at $12.75, is typically New Zealand in style, with passionfruit and lime and gooseberry flavours.

La Petite Hitaire Blanc Cotes due Gascogne, $1 off at $8.95 is a great buy from France. Made from lesser-known grapes – Ugni Blanc, Columbard, Gros Manseng – it is definitely a hot-weather white, with crisp citrus flavour and a touch of peach or apricot.

Fazi Battaglia Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, $2.50 off at $9.95, has long been available in the LCBO in its distinctive green amphora shaped bottle. Lemony flavour, some minerality and a tell-tale bitter almond note characterize this dependable white.

Wolf Blass Yellow Label Chardonnay from Australia is also $2.50 off at $13.70. It will appeal to those who like a tropical spin, as this has nuances of pineapple, peach and melon along with a creamy texture and touch of smoke.

In Rosés, Eastdell from Niagara is $1 off at $12.95. Though it is off-dry with 20 grams of sugar per litre, this blend of Riesling and Gamay has a crisp finish that pulls everything together. Expect red berry fruit and cranberry.

For a Fizzy, we have the Cono Sur Sparkling Rosé from Chile, $2 off at $12. Made from Pinot Noir, it suggests strawberry/cranberry on the palate with a touch of earthiness on the finish. Crisp with a good line of bubbles, it is both celebratory and a good food match with salmon off the barbecue.

ChapoutierMariusChapoutier’s Marius Rouge Pays d’Oc, $2 off at $11.95
With red wines, Chapoutier’s Marius Rouge Pays d’Oc, $2 off at $11.95, over-delivers with depth and complexity. A blend of Grenache and Syrah, it has some savoury herbal notes to accompany its smooth texture and red berry flavour.

Wyndham Bin 555 Shiraz from Australia, $1.50 off $13.75 is all about the fruit –jammy and smoky –with a touch of peppery spice. It is uncomplicated, but delicious.

Italy’s The Wanted Zin, $2 off at $12.15, is a Primitivo masquerading as its twin, California’s Zinfandel. As with some Zins this is on the higher end of the sweetness scale for red wine at $17 grams of sugar per litre – but if it’s the style you like, here is a bargain. Last year, The Globe and Mail described it thus: “attractive for the price, this is smooth, full-bodied and accessible, with plump stewed fruit, blueberry and raisin flavours on a rounded, sweet core infused with baking spices and toasted coconut.”

With the July 21 Vintages Release, we can continue to search out bargains under $15.


Peter and Peter Feinherb Riesling 2017, $13.95, from Germany’s Mosel region is off dry, with a slight tickle on the tongue that is common to this style. Pear and honey are suggested on the palate with lemon-lime citrus and a flint-like note bringing resolution on the finish.

ChateauSaintNaborCoteChateau Saint Nabor Cotes du Rhone Blanc 2017, $14.95
Chateau Saint Nabor Cotes du Rhone Blanc 2017, $14.95, is predominantly Roussane. The Wine Enthusiast gives it an 89, saying “this invigorating dry white wine offers crisp gooseberry and grapefruit flavors juxtaposed by hints of wax and honey. It's elegant, with a lean, mineral finish.”


If there is any further need to observe Rosé’s rise, we just have to note the appearance in Vintages of examples in the $30 and $40 range. That said, there continues to be very affordable wines for us to enjoy.

Ken Forrester Petit Rosé 2017, $12.95 from South Africa’s Western Cape is “an alluring, aromatic wine with prominent strawberry and raspberry notes riding a crest of fresh, zesty acidity”, says Vintages. The John Platter Guide calls it “light, juicy, and gluggable!”

Chateau Bellevue La Forêt Rosé 2017, $14.95 from Southwest France received this review from Natalie MacLean: “Love the salmon-clementine hue in the glass. Aromas of small strawberries, raspberry and citrus spice. Mouth-watering and juicy. Amazing price for this quality”


Quinta do Espirito Santo 2015, $12.95, from Portugal boasts a Wine Enthusiast 90 – “Ripe, impressively rich…with deep tannins, spice and layers of black fruits.”

For other bargains in reds, we have to push the limit up a dollar.

Finca El Origen Reserva Estate Malbec 2016, $15.95, from Argentina displays ripe plum and cherry fruit with vanilla spice and mocha notes and an integrated texture marked by long smooth tannins.

TabaliPedregosoTabali Pedregoso Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, $15.95
Tabali Pedregoso Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, $15.95, from Chile is “voluptuous but gentle on the palate” and “offers nicely ripened fruit and rich spices that want lasagna.” 90 – Descorchados.