$15 or less
WHAT : Out of the Box Merlot (red)
WHERE : Niagara
WHY : It's doubtful that many people are getting rich in the Ontario wine industry, and you can't blame a business for taking advantage of any trend that might improve the bottom line. But are cheesy-looking boxes containing weak wine really going to help? FYI: the Merlot is the best of the four Out of the Box products.
PRICE : 1,000 ml/$12.95
AVAILABILITY : At most LCBO outlets (product #16287)
WHAT : Segura Viudas Aria Estate Brut (sparkling white)
WHERE : Penedes, Spain
WHY : Here's a great wine for getting drunk on. It's deliciously fruity and very gulpable in a champagne kind of way, with a pleasing poof!-where'd-it-go? finish. For a perfect third date, try candlelight and a bottle or two of Aria. You'll both be hitting the high notes.
PRICE : 750 ml/$17
AVAILABILITY : At selected LCBO outlets (product #311241)
Sips and Nips
WHAT : Mill Street Tankhouse Ale
WHERE : Toronto
WHY : Some microbreweries, in their efforts to embody quality and individuality, end up with eccentric, unbalanced beers. Tankhouse avoids this pitfall. It is aggressively hopped, but the quality of the malt keeps everything even. An eminently drinkable ale from the Distillery District.
PRICE : 12x355 ml/$22.20 including deposit
AVAILABILITY : At the Beer Store