Wine Picks

Shari’s LCBO Online Pick – AERENA Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

I was lucky enough to try the very delicious AERENA Red Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 recently. This is an outstanding example of California Cabernet Sauvignon. And at $23.70, it is great value! Cabernet Sauvignon is a signature varietal from California. There are many great examples, however few are below $30 a bottle.

AERENA Cabernet Sauvignon Red Hill 2017 | California | 750 mL alc 14.5% | sugar 2 g/ L* | LCBO +978477 | $23.70
*this is a dry wine and this is my estimation of the sugar g/L

Quite often I find Cabernet Sauvignon from California, particularly when they are below $30 a bottle, to be heavy, sweet and overoaked. AERENA Red Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 is outstanding! It is a lively, delicious, balanced and refined, dry red wine worth searching out! It has forward, fresh, rounded aromas with raspberry and cherry flavours that follow with a soft, fresh, integrated smooth red cherry finish. You can pair this with aged cheddar and barbecued steak or grilled portobello mushrooms.

Although AERENA Red Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 is available at LCBO, it is part of the Destination Collection Program. LCBO developed this restrictive and virtually unknown program to increase the selection of wines via their extensive retail network. Specific LCBO locations were selected and designated for this program. There is a section in the specified store for wines exclusive to that shop from a particular country. For example, there is a store designated for wines from Greece, another for Chile, one for Germany, etc. Orders of wines for this program are small at 30 cases. This wine, from California, was purchased explicitly for the California Destination program, so it is only available at the Destination Store for California wines, located at the 401 and Weston Road. The only store you can buy AERENA Red Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 is at this LCBO location, also known as Crossroads. 

The saving grace of this program, for consumers, is the ability to purchase bottles online via the LCBO website. Select the Buy Now option to order AERENA Red Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 and have the wine delivered directly from the warehouse to a store of your choosing.

In January, Lettie Teague from the Wall Street Journal wrote an article about great value red wines of true varietal character, lively acidity and fruit unsmothered by oak and relatively low in alcohol. She said, the 2017 Aerena Red Hills Lake County Cabernet Sauvignon was a lush, powerful wine so well balanced its 14.5% alcohol didn’t seem over the top—perhaps because it’s made by superstar winemaking consultant Aaron Pott, a Cabernet whiz. Mr. Pott turns out Cabernets that cost as much as $215 a bottle for his Napa clients.

I spoke to the agent who represents this wine in Ontario. He says, this is really good wine and an excellent value. It is made by Blackbird Vineyards, my Napa supplier, and has a score of 91 from

I completely agree! I hope you will search for it and give it a try before it disappears.



In summary, the LCBO’s Destination Collection Program has two channels.

Certain LCBO retail stores are assigned to the Destination Collection Program. This means specific stores have a section within the store for alcoholic beverages from particular countries/regions or representing specific categories. The second channel allows for bottles assigned to the Destination Collection Program to be purchased online via the website. Select the Buy Now option to order and have the wine delivered directly from the warehouse to a store of your choosing.

The positive element is an ever-changing selection of wines is available through the Destination Collection Program. Often there are gems to be found! Quantities purchased are no more than 30 cases per product, so if you see something you like, stock up!

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