$15 or less
WHAT : Chateau de Gourgazaud 2005 (red) Rating: NNN
WHERE : Languedoc, France
WHY : At the price, this is quite a cerebral wine. It's got elements of spice, fruit and licorice and that pleasing smell of a butcher's shop, which is different than the smell of meat. It's not garrulous; it's not a backslapper. So sit down, listen to it, consider its opinions. Gourgazaud will convince you.
PRICE : 750 ml/$12.25
AVAILABILITY : At selected liquor stores (product #22384)
WHAT : Château Moulin de Curat 2003 (red) Rating: NNN
WHERE : Bordeaux, France
WHY : It's hard to resist the allure of old-fashioned French labels, with their indecipherable terminology and renderings of drafty châteaux. It's even harder to resist when the wine's this good and comes in at under $20. Medium-light in texture but with lots of focused flavour. For now or next year.
PRICE : 750 ml/$18.95
AVAILABILITY : At selected Vintages outlets (product #653162)
Sips and nips
WHAT : Plymouth Gin Rating: NNNN
WHERE : Plymouth, England
WHY : Ah, the days are getting longer and the pants are getting shorter. Gin-and-tonic season is just around the corner. Go easy on the mix, because you don't want to drown out the bright, fresh, coniferous qualities of this primo stuff. Plymouth rocks.
PRICE : 750 ml/$25.15
AVAILABILITY : At most liquor stores (product #540682)