$15 or less
WHAT : Jackson Triggs Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 (red) Rating: NNN
WHERE : Okanagan, British Columbia
WHY : This one sneaks in just under the $15 mark, but with its richness and tannic backbone it could easily compete with many pricier wines. While it's ready for drinking now, it could also be drinkable in the future. Aging a wine isn't easy if you live in a bachelor apartment, but maybe you know somebody with a dark corner to spare.
PRICE : 750 ml/$14.95
AVAILABILITY : At selected liquor stores (product #665257)
WHAT : The Crossings Sauvignon Blanc 2004 (white) Rating: NNNN
WHERE : Marlborough, New Zealand
WHY : A good New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc can satisfy disparate groups of wine drinkers. The keen palate attack will perk up most snobs, but the NZ style is usually a little more forgiving in the pucker department, so novices can enjoy it as well. The Crossings does the trick, balancing between the fresh and the lush with a good zip on the finish.
PRICE : 750 ml/$17.95
AVAILABILITY : At selected Vintages outlets (product #672394)
Sips and nips
WHAT : Alberta Premium, Canadian Rye Whisky. Rating: NNN
WHERE : Calgary, Alberta
WHY : Rye whisky can be a bit of a misnomer these days, but Alberta Premium claims to be the only Canadian whisky made with 100 per cent rye. This is not to say that other Can-drams are inferior, but this pure rye does perform well. It's a finely focused whisky that really opens up with a drop of water. Nice price, too.
PRICE : 750 ml/$21.25
AVAILABILITY : At most liquor stores (product #984)