$15 or less
WHAT : Likan Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 (red) Rating: NNN
WHERE : Central Valley, Chile
WHY : Are you embarrassed to show up at a gathering with your wine in a juice box? Well, you shouldn't be, because Likan (pronounced lee-can) has nothing to apologize for. Medium-light and quaffable, it's short on surprises. For most people that's a good thing. And check the low price.
PRICE : 1 litre/$11.95
AVAILABILITY : At most liquor stores (product #665349)
WHAT : Cline Syrah 2002 (red) Rating: NNNN WHERE : Sonoma, California
WHY : Here's a great wine for the budding connoisseur. Open it up and do the sniffing thing. Yeah, tar at first, but keep sniffing. There's something... maybe chocolate... maybe pepper. Now taste it. It's really good, eh? Really smooth. Not sour at all - and there's all these spice-type flavours. See? That's how you become a wine snob.
PRICE : 750 ml/$27.95
AVAILABILITY : At selected Vintages outlets (product #955435)
Sips and nips
WHAT : Eagle Rare 10 Year Old Single Barrel Bourbon (whisky) Rating: NNNN
WHERE : Frankfort, Kentucky
WHY : If you can ignore all the US of A horn blowing on the back label and rather florid graphics on the front, this is one mighty fine bourbon. Less smoky and more brandy-like, it's a really great after-dinner sipper. Very full for the experienced bourbon-fancier but rounded and mellow for the initiate.
PRICE : 750 ml/$59.95
AVAILABILITY : At a limited number of liquor stores (product #604785)