I Tried 5 Of The Cheapest Wines At The LCBO & There's One I'll Definitely Buy Again
One of them is a hard pass.
This Opinion article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.
If you, like me, just want a cheap bottle of wine to celebrate the arrival of the weekend, I've got you covered.
I recently set myself the task of finding some of the cheapest wines at the LCBO, and to do my research, I went to the site and did the time-honoured move of clicking "Sort by: Price (low to high)" and went from there.
I'm more of a white wine drinker than a red drinker (red either makes me fall asleep or cry depending on how hormonal I am) and so my criteria for this taste test was to find the cheapest bottles of white in the standard 750-millilitre bottle.
As it turns out, there are quite a few bottles you can get for under $10, but unfortunately, the LCBO near me at Bloor and Dundas West was out of some of them, so I settled for picking the cheapest options I could find that were available in store.
I was pleasantly surprised by three of them and low-key upset at two of them, and overall, it was a pretty chill way to spend a Saturday night with my boyfriend.
Join me on this boozy journey, will you?
Santa Carolina Sauvignon Blanc
Santa Carolina Sauvignon Blanc from the LCBO.
What It Tastes Like: This Chilean wine tastes like my undergrad, and not in a fun nostalgic way. I went to school in Montreal and picking up the cheapest bottle you could find at the dep (the Quebec equivalent of a corner store) while heading to the pre-game was a rite of passage, but a pretty terrible-tasting one.
Not only was this bottle the most expensive out of all the options I picked up, but it was definitely the worst.
"Lightly yeasty, grapefruit and savoury aromas followed by those of green apples and herbs; ripe citrus flavours," says the LCBO of this beverage, and I'd have to disagree.
It tastes kind of sour, but almost like it's trying to approach the realm of sweet and has an unpleasant minerally aftertaste. I'm not one to say no to a glass of wine, but I'd walk away from this one.
Julia Florista White
Julia Florista White from the LCBO.
What It Tastes Like: This Portuguese white blend has a pretty label, but that's about the most complimentary thing I can say about it. It has a neutral taste and doesn't really coat the palate with a discernable flavour after you've swallowed, so it kind of feels like you're drinking water.
It also smells quite alcohol-y, despite it being 12.5% ABV— like, it kind of smells like a gin at 20% ABV and left a mineral feeling in my mouth, which wasn't unpleasant but wasn't pleasant either. If it was put in front of me, I'd sip away at it but might not reach for a second glass.
Mare Di Sirena Pinot Grigio
Mare Di Sirena Pinot Grigio from the LCBO.
What It Tastes Like: I'm a sucker for mermaids so I had high hopes for this Italian wine. Things got off to a weird start when I struggled to open the screw top lid due to the metallic part breaking weirdly (as you can see in the picture) and scratching my palm, but for the sake of the readers, I persevered and managed to get it open.
It smelled a bit like nail polish remover, which was concerning, but thankfully had a fairly pleasant taste. It has a buttery flavour that tastes more like a chardonnay than a pinot grigio but without the aggressive floral notes that you sometimes get in the former wine.
"This classic pinot grigio shows flavours of citrus, white peach and a hint of pear," says the LCBO. "A crisp sea-spray mineral note leads to a clean, refreshing finish."
I would absolutely buy this again, but it's not necessarily one I'd take as a hostess gift if I was visiting a friend, as taking a bottle that costs under $10 just feels... wrong.
Alianca Vinho Verde
Alianca Vinho Verde from the LCBO.
What It Tastes Like: This Portuguese wine is delightful and has a vaguely carbonated feeling to it that reminds me a bit of sparkling wine.
"Pale straw yellow colour; fresh, pronounced aromas of green plum, minerality and grapefruit; comes across as extra dry with intense and focused fruit and mineral flavours, crisp acidity and spritzy citrus finish," says the LCBO of the offering, and I agree with all of it.
I definitely got grapefruit notes and enjoyed the sharpness of the acidity, and while this was my boyfriend's favourite wine of the night, it comes in second place for me for one reason: it's just a tad too sweet for my liking!
Toro Bravo Verdejo Sauvignon Blanc DO La Mancha
Toro Bravo Verdejo Sauvignon Blanc DO La Mancha from the LCBO.
What It Tastes Like: You should never judge a book by its cover or a wine by its label apparently, as I totally thought this was going to taste bad just based on that dopey-looking bull.
This wine is just really dang pleasant. While it doesn't have a noticeable aroma, it has a lightly citrus taste and a lingering mouth feel after swallowing.
The LCBO recommends pairing this with pork, fish or tapas, and while I agree that would be delicious, this is a wine that feels like you drink it while you're sitting on the floor and doing your makeup and listening to Taylor or while you're dancing in the kitchen and cooking up dinner.
Just overall a nice crisp white wine to sip away at while enjoying your evening, and by far my favourite of the ones I tasted.
So there you have it, folks! For about $10, you can totally pick up a decent bottle of white wine at the LCBO, because life is too expensive to be spending $30 on getting a bit of a buzz. They're a little hit or miss, but hopefully this guidance helps you pick the right beverage for your palate.
Maybe next time I'll try some red wine and see how things go. Stay tuned!
Narcity does not condone the overconsumption of alcohol. If you're going to drink alcohol, please do so responsibly and only if you're of legal age.
These prices are confirmed at the time of publishing, but they can change at any time. Taxes and fees may not be included.
- I Tried 6 Hot Sauces From Canada's Grocery Stores & 1 Of Them Is A Stand-Out Winner (PHOTOS) ›
- I Compared 5 Grocery Store Cheeses & One Canadian House Brand Was A Clear Winner (PHOTOS) - Narcity ›
- I Compared 5 Canadian Beers From The LCBO & 2 Left Me Feeling Unpatriotic (PHOTOS) - Narcity ›
- I Compared Diet Coke In A Can, Bottle & Fountain Drink & There's A Clear Winner (PHOTOS) - Narcity ›
- I Got The Scoop On Dairy Queen's Fall Blizzards & 1 Of Them Is Simply Too Powerful (PHOTOS) - Narcity ›
- I Compared 6 Apples From A Canadian Grocery Store & The Winner Took Me By Surprise (PHOTOS) - Narcity ›