$15 or less
WHAT : Concha y Toro Trio Merlot/Carmenere/Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 (red) Rating: NNN
WHERE : Rapel Valley, Chile
WHY : This stuff is highly drinkable and shows what intelligent blending can do. What's really interesting is how the small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon brings some backbone to the lushness of the Merlot and Carmenere. In that way, it's a successful good cop/bad cop wine. I confess - I drank it.
PRICE : 750 ml/$14.95
AVAILABILITY : At selected Vintages outlets as of April 29 (product #433920)
WHAT : Angels Gate Single Vineyard Gewurztraminer 2004 (white) Rating: NNN
WHERE : Niagara Peninsula
WHY : Are you one of those people who say things like "It's wine - you drink it. Whatever"? If that's the case, try a Gewurzt. This is a friendly introduction to this very distinctive style of wine. Any Gewurzt is going to hit you in the nose with a florid spicy bouquet. The Angels Gate backs it up with well-composed structure and flavour.
PRICE : 750 ml/$18.95
AVAILABILITY : At selected Vintages outlets as of April 29 (product #678409)
Sips and Nips
WHAT : Angove's Anchorage Old Tawny Rating: NNN
WHERE : South Australia
WHY : After the last World Cup you declared a boycott of all things Portugese until they promised never to blow another car horn, so now you're looking elsewhere for your fortified wine, aka port. Try the Angove's. It's even, mellow and has a full nutty finish. Not a typical summer drink, but that probably doesn't concern most port drinkers.
PRICE : 700 ml/$19.95
AVAILABILITY : At selected Vintages outlets as of April 29 (product #678672)