$15 or less
WHAT : Colio Estate Wines Cabernet/ Merlot 2002 (red) Rating: NNN
WHERE : North shore of Lake Erie
WHY : The year has just begun, so let's talk vintages. 2002 was an excellent year for Ontario, and this wine wears it well. A blend of Cabernet and Merlot, á la Bordeaux, it's got a robust kick that persists from first sniff to last swallow. Hurry up, because it looks like the 2004 is making its way onto shelves (which may also be good - haven't tried it yet).
PRICE : 750 ml/$10.95
AVAILABILITY : Limited quantities at regular LCBO outlets (product #432054)
WHAT : Guigal Côtes du Rhône 2003 (red) Rating: NNNN
WHERE : Côtes du Rhône, France
WHY : The summer of 2003 was a hot one in France, and that was good for many wines. If you want to taste a product of this vintage, try the always reliable Guigal. The 2003 Côtes du Rhône is like a great one-night stand: lots of pleasure during and no bad impressions after (unless you really overdo it). Drink it now or drink it later.
PRICE : 750 ml/$16.35
AVAILABILITY : Most LCBO stores (product #259721)
Sips and nips
WHAT : Cave Spring Indian Summer Riesling 2004 (dessert wine) Rating: NNN
WHERE : Niagara Escarpment
WHY : Back to Niagara and 2004. Good times, especially for Riesling. So how about one of those slender little bottles that beckon from the shelves? Picked after early frost to yield an ice-wine-type product, the Indian Summer is sweet, super-grapefruity and will probably age better than you or I.
PRICE : 375 ml/ $24.95
AVAILABILITY : Most Vintages outlets (product #415901)