$15 or less
WHAT: Little Yering Chardonnay 2005 (white) Rating: NNN
WHERE: Yarra Valley, Australia
WHY: While smart, attractive and reasonable people may be hard to take, these same qualities in a wine are to be embraced. Little Yering has bright fruity flavours and a very balanced touch of smooth oak. Made by well regarded Yering Station, this Chardonnay garners votes for most likely to succeed.
PRICE: 750 ml/$12.95
AVAILABILITY: At selected Vintages outlets as of January 6 (product #024331)
WHAT: Thirty Bench Riesling 2005 (white) Rating: NNNN
WHERE: Beamsville, Niagara Peninsula
WHY: By Ontario standards, 30 Bench's 25-year-old vines are ancient. From these deep roots come high-quality, small-yield wines. The Riesling delivers a whiff of diesel - and that's a good thing. Mix it up with the wine's fruity/honey qualities and you've got enticing table-worthy complexity.
PRICE: 750 ml/$17.95
AVAILABILITY: At selected Vintages outlets as of January 6 (product #024133)
Sips and Nips
WHAT: Anselmann Ortega Trockenbeerenauslese 1999 (dessert wine) Rating: NNNN
WHERE: Palatinate (Falz), Germany
WHY: "Noble rot" is undoubtedly the best wine term going. It describes the highly desirable process of mouldy grapes (botrytis-affected) yielding up intense, sweet dessert wines. This Ortega has wonderful down-on-the-farm elements like grasses and autumn apples surfacing above the sweetness.
PRICE: 375 ml/$32.95
AVAILABILITY: At selected Vintages outlets as of January 6 (product #909960)