$15 or less
WHAT: Hardy's Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 (red) Rating: NNN
WHERE: Southeastern Australia
WHY: Let's talk acidity. Recall the tingle in lemonade or the bite in vinegar - that's acidity. In wine, these acids balance the potential sweetness of the grape. This Cabernet has lots of cherry ripeness, but its acidity keeps it from being "flabby." Not too shabby at the price.
PRICE: 1,000 ml/$13.95
AVAILABILITY: At most liquor stores (product #24612)
WHAT: Louis Jadot Bourgogne 2003 (white) Rating: NNNN
WHERE: Burgundy, France
WHY: If you think wine's just for drinking, perch your proboscis over this Chardonnay. Breathe in and enjoy an interplay of scents that somehow combine to evoke a beautiful autumn day in the country. No guff. And its touch of oak and smooth mouth-filling qualities will send your palate as well as your schnozz into reveries.
PRICE: 750 ml/$19.95
AVAILABILITY: At most Vintages outlets (product #933077)
Sips and nips
WHAT: Canadian Club Classic Whisky Rating: NNNN
WHERE: Windsor, Ontario
WHY: Back in the 1800s, Hiram Walker started making CC. To facilitate his distilling business, he built the community of Walkerville. Imagine... an entire little city built just for whisky. Drink some of this deluxe, mellow, smooth and very affordable hooch and dream of what it must have been like to live in Walkerville, the town that was made of booze.
PRICE: 750 ml/$26.45
AVAILABILITY: At most liquor stores (product #126466)