$15 or less
WHAT: 20 Bees Chardonnay (white) Rating: NN
WHERE: Niagara Peninsula
WHY: 20 Bees is Canada's first attempt at what Europeans call a wine co-op, where growers work collectively to produce wines. Nineteen Niagara growers contribute grapes to create four different wines. The Chardonnay is medium-bodied, with pears dominating the nose and palate. Not bad for a debut.
PRICE: 750 ml/$12.95
AVAILABILITY: At most liquor stores (product #4705)
WHAT: Cantina di Negrar Le Roselle Ripasso Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2003 (red) Rating: NNN
WHERE: Veneto, Italy
WHY: This co-op started in 1933 and has over 200 contributing growers. The description of how this wine is made exceeds the length of its name. Suffice it to say, it's a real go-to bottle: cherries, refreshing, clean and dry, not too hard to find and will match most meat dishes.
PRICE: 750 ml/$15.95
AVAILABILITY: At selected liquor stores (product #620831)
Sips and Nips
WHAT: Crown Royal XR Rating: NNNNN
WHERE: Gimli, Manitoba
WHY: Where do I begin? Could it be the overwhelming creaminess when it's drunk straight? Could it be the rye-driven spice tasted after dilution? Could it be the super-limited blends of old barrels from the Waterloo distillery that burnt down in 1992? If you answered yes to all of the above, then you've tried it already. Heavenly!
PRICE: 750 ml/$175
AVAILABILITY: Very limited quantities at selected Vintages outlets (product #27045)