$15 or less
WHAT: Trio Cabernet Sauvignon Blend (red) Rating: NNN
WHERE: Maipo Valley, Chile
WHY: Here's a curl-up-by-the-fire/radiator/space heater kind of wine. This blend of Cab. Sauv., Cab. Franc and shiraz - hence Trio - at 14.5 per cent makes its presence felt. Lots of swarthy flavour punch. The best of Trio's family of blended wines.
PRICE: 750 ml/$15.05
AVAILABILITY: At selected liquor stores (product #433912)
WHAT: Ascheri Barbera d'Alba Fontanelle 2005 (red) Rating: NNNN
WHERE: Piedmont, Italy
WHY: This wine comes from the north-east Piedmont region, a varietal powerhouse that also produces Barolo and Barbaresco. Made from the Barbera grape, it's light in texture, with assertive flavour. A great starting point for those who want to get serious about Italian wine.
PRICE: 750 ml/$17.95
AVAILABILITY: At selected Vintages outlets (product #982462)
Sips and nips
WHAT: Reyka Vodka Rating: NNN
WHERE: Reykjavik, Iceland
WHY: This Icelandic tincture has several factors working in its flavour: incredibly pure water, lava rock filtering and a small-batch still. These pristine conditions lead to a very clean, smooth-sipping vodka. Chill it and swill it.
PRICE: 750 ml/$35.15
AVAILABILITY: At selected liquor stores (product #24406)