$15 or less
WHAT: Pascual Toso Merlot 2004 (red) Rating: NNNN
WHERE: Miapu, Argentina
WHY: One of my main reasons for recommending this new arrival is to encourage you to go buy it so the LCBO will continue to keep it in stock. It would be a shame for a wine of this quality, at this price, to be discontinued. Friendly, inviting flavours backed up by some serious structure.
PRICE: 750 ml/$12.95
AVAILABILITY: At selected liquor stores (product #35188)
WHAT: Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 (red) Rating: NNNN
WHERE: Napa, California
WHY: Cue old movie music: I thought I'd tasted 'em all and spat 'em all out, but Beringer was different. It smelled great -- cedar and cocoa -- and it tasted even better. It said, "Hey, you purple-toothed spittoon jockey, I'm here and I'm delicious. I hope you can afford me." Then it gave me a couple of bracing slaps of acid and tannins, and I was in love.
PRICE: 750 ml/$39.95
AVAILABILITY: At selected Vintages outlets (product #352583)
Sips and Nips
WHAT: Creemore Springs Traditional Pilsner Rating: NNNN
WHERE: Creemore, Ontario
WHY: There was much wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth when big, bad Molsons bought out little old Creemore, but if the new Pilsner is anything to go by, it seems Big Brewther is letting the micro guys do their thing. Lots of flavour, lots of finish. It says "deluxe microbrew" all the way.
PRICE: 473 ml/$2.55
AVAILABILITY: At most liquor stores (product #53686)