$15 or Less
WHAT : Vendange Chardonnay 2004 (white) Rating: NNN
WHERE : Northern Central Valley, California
WHY : It costs less than $7 (although you get less than a full bottle) and it's perfect for backpacking to a picnic where it will chill on ice faster than you can say "difficult to recycle." A little bit of peach/pear flavour and a little bit of crispness balanced in a quiet, if undramatic, manner.
PRICE : 500 ml Tetra Pak/$ 6.90
AVAILABILITY : At most liquor stores (product #621565)
WHAT : William F`vre Chablis Champs Royaux 2005 (white) Rating: NNNN WHERE : Burgundy, France
WHY : Here's a crazy type of wine. It's from France, it comes in a glass bottle and doesn't have any animals on the label. What next? Chablis is the original Chardonnay. Blended from various Fèvre vineyards, the Champs Royaux starts bright and acidic and then opens up smoothly. Yum.
PRICE : 750 ml/$19.80
AVAILABILITY : At selected liquor stores (product #276436)
Sips and Nips
WHAT : Dow's Late Bottled Vintage Port 2000 Rating: NNN
WHERE : Douro Valley, Portugal
WHY : Did you know that Quebec is responsible for 80 per cent of all port consumption in Canada? Hello, Ontario, what are we, a bunch of rubes? Try some Dow's. Reasonably priced, it's a good introduction to the pleasures of this contemplative post-prandial.
PRICE : 750 ml/$16.80
AVAILABILITY : At selected liquor stores (product #613927)