$15 or less
WHAT: Fortant Chardonnay 2005 (white) Rating: NNN
WHERE: Languedoc, France
WHY: Skalli has been producing these French wines with their simplified varietal names for over 25 years, and while lovers of all things French and traditional probably abhor them, you shouldn't. It's a reasonably priced, pleasant, balanced, everyday quaffer.
PRICE: 750 ml/$10.10
AVAILABILITY: At selected liquor stores (product #256560)
$15 or less
WHAT: Castillo de Almansa Reserva 2003 (red) Rating: NNN
WHERE: Almansa, Spain
Here's a bottle that punches above its weight, as they say in boxing circles. Aggressive, with nice touches of tobacco and spice, really demanding food like a spicy beef chili. Again, easy to find and well priced. And if you like it, you can buy the 1.5 litre and share it with your friends.
PRICE: 750 ml/$11.10
AVAILABILITY: At selected liquor stores (product #270363)
WHAT: Flat Rock Pinot Noir 2005 Rating: NNNN
WHERE: Niagara Peninsula
WHY: The September 1 Vintages release features Pinot Noirs, and its nice to know that we've got a tasty little one being made just down the road. Pinot is one of only three varieties that Flat Rock grows, and this one, with its savoury herbal bouquet and elegant structure, is ready to drink now.
PRICE: 750 ml/$19.95
AVAILABILITY: At selected Vintages outlets as of September 1 (product #1545)