WHAT Aveleda Follies Alvarinho Vinho Verde 2006 (white) Rating: NNN
WHERE Monçao, Portugal
WHY Vinho verdes are best known to Ontario consumers as light, bright, cheap refreshers. But when made from the thick skinned Alvarinho grape, they can be fuller and more table-worthy, as is the case with this fragrant drinkable number. As OutKast (remember them) used to say, "So fresh and so clean."
PRICE 750 ml/$15.95
AVAILABILITY At selected Vintages outlets as of October 13 (product #59048)
WHAT Château Lamargue Cuvée Aegidiane 2003 (red) Rating: NNN
WHERE Costières de Nîmes, France
WHY Syrah and Shiraz are the same grape, but a French Syrah like this one has very little in common with a gregarious Australian Shiraz. Even with the addition of 20 per cent Grenache, this wine still exemplifies Syrah's uncompromising character: herby, fruity and (an odd but apt term) gamey. Good for breaking out of your red wine rut.
PRICE 750 ml/$20.95
AVAILABILITY At selected Vintages outlets (product #33993)
Sips and nips
WHAT The Balvenie 15-Year-Old Single Barrel Single Malt Scotch Rating: NNNNN
WHERE Speyside, Scotland
WHY It may be hard to imagine spending a C-note on a bottle of booze, but if you were to experience the seemingly infinite possibilities of this liquor as it unfurls across your palate, you might feel the expense is justifiable. A trip to Scotland? $2,000. Save your money and just go to the Balvenie.
PRICE 750 ml/$105.95
AVAILABILITY At selected Vintages outlets as of October 13 (product #366963)