$15 or less
WHAT: Maculan Cabernet Sauvignon (red) Rating: NNNN
WHERE: Veneto, Italy
WHY: With his dedication to innovation and quality, Fausto Maculan is apparently carrying the entire Breganze region on his back. The delicious results can be sampled in this relatively affordable example offering lots of dark cherry flavours and good grip. It's unfiltered, so use a decanter or jug.
PRICE: 750 ml/$14.95
AVAILABILITY: At selected Vintages outlets as of August 4 (product #987701)
WHAT: Celler Piöol Sacra Natura (red) Rating: NNNN
WHERE: Catalonia, Spain
WHY: Piñol's combination of five different Spanish and French grape varieties equals an enjoyably bold blend. Starts with an uncompromising bouquet and follows through with big flavour and structure. Serve with assertive dishes like spicy grilled sausage. Organic.
PRICE: 750 ml/$21.95
AVAILABILITY: At selected Vintages outlets as of August 4 (product #30171)
Sips and Nips
WHAT: Mumm de Cramant Grand Cru Champagne Rating: NNNNN
WHERE: Champagne, France
WHY: Welcome to The Classics, the LCBO's haute hooch marketing program for special-order, limited-quantity, expensive wines like this champagne made from 100 per cent Chardonnay grapes grown in Mumm's own vineyards. Its soft effervescence and minimal yeastiness make room for bright, beautiful flavours to shine through with lasting clarity.
PRICE: 750 ml/$95
AVAILABILITY: www.vintages.com and in very limited quantities at the Summerhill Vintages (product #680587)