$15 or less
WHAT : Montpellier Syrah 2003 (red) Rating: NNN
WHERE : California
WHY : How's this for down-market? An LCBO Vintages offering made by the Bronco Wine Company, a California bulk producer known for it super-cheap Two-Buck Chuck. Montpellier may not impress the family label snob, but it's a very drinkable dinner-party red. In the States it's a real bargain at about $7 U.S. Here, it's a solid buy.
PRICE : 750 ml/$12.95
AVAILABILITY : February 4 at selected Vintages outlets (product #672436)
WHAT : Chateau Reynella "Basket Pressed" Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 (red) Rating: NNN
WHERE : McLaren Vale, South Australia
WHY : Chateau Reynella claims to be Australia's oldest winery, and its experience shows in this Cabernet. The bouquet brings lots of diversion, with coffee and a touch of grassy-minty action. These elements carry into the flavour, yielding complexity and satisfaction. Put it down your throat or in your cellar.
PRICE : 750 ml/$29.95
AVAILABILITY : February 4 at selected Vintages outlets (product #976399)
Sips and nips
WHAT : Graham's Six Grapes Reserve Port (fortified wine) Rating: NNNN
WHERE : Portugal
WHY : Graham's Six Grapes (did you know that's my Mafia nickname?) is the sort of drink that could bring port back into fashion. It's not expensive by port standards, and with its swarthy liquorish qualities playing off its sweet blend of wine and brandy, it will have you repairing to the library faster than you can say "nuts and Stilton."
PRICE : 750 ml/$18.95
AVAILABILITY : February 4 at selected Vintages outlets (product #208405)