$15 or less
WHAT: Mukuzani 2002 (red) Rating: NNN
WHERE: Kvareli, Georgia
WHY: Georgia (the one south of Russia, not Tennessee) has been making wine for about 5,000 years. Between minor disruptions like the Mongol invasion and the Soviet empire, the Georgians have made the Sapaveri grape their leading red variety. Here it offers a balanced, food-friendly sipper. And is most excellent label for looking, no?
PRICE: 750 ml/$ 12.95
AVAILABILITY: At selected Vintages outlets as of January 20 (product #013979)
WHAT: Delheim Shiraz 2003 (red) Rating: NNN
WHERE: Stellenbosch, South Africa
WHY: Only 1 per cent of all of South Africa's wine-growing land is black-owned, but that exceeds the percentage of Canadian vineyards owned by aboriginals, and SA's industry and government are attempting to correct past apartheid-era abuses. So why not enjoy this ripe shiraz that acknowledges its lean French origins on the way to a more New World style?
PRICE: 750 ml/$19,95
AVAILABILITY: At selected Vintages outlets as of January 20 (product #959080)
Sips and nips
WHAT: Innis & Gunn Limited Edition Beer 2005 Rating: NNN
WHERE: Edinburgh, Scotland
WHY: Here's one for the beard-stroking beer boffin. Brewed under contract at the esteemed Caledonia brewery and then aged for 107 days in oak bourbon barrels, this limited-edition 7.2 per-center ain't no Budweiser. Strong flavours and a cidery tweak give it Belgian-style complexity. Excellent for contemplative sipping, or try it with some Stilton.
AVAILABILITY: At selected liquor stores (product #16337)