2009 Glen Ellen Cabernet Sauvignon, California; $6
Glen Ellen always delivers quality and taste at an affordable price point. This wine starts with a terrific nose of black cherries and vanilla spice. It leads into jammy red fruit flavors and notes of plums and white pepper. The finish has layers of raspberries, oak and vanilla bean, along with the jam-like notes from the mouth. This is a terrific wine with grilled beef or with hamburgers off the grill. It also works perfectly with pasta dishes with tomato sauces. You will be hard-pressed to find quality like this in a $6 bottle of wine.
Rokk Citrus Vodka, Sweden; $14
This is a newcomer in the vodka market with a very clean design and an even cleaner taste. Aromas of sweet, ripe lemons and key limes hit the nose as soon as you pour it in the glass, and these develop as they follow into the mouth. The flavors are distinct with the lemon notes playing the most prominent role in the tasting experience and lingering nicely on the finish. If you like a slightly sweet citrus vodka, then this is a true winner. It's perfect for mixing or simply on the rocks. It would be terrific in lemonade, tonic or with your next cosmo.
Lain Bradford is a wine writer and reviewer who has achieved his first level master sommelier certificate and is working toward his Certified Wine Educator degree. He only writes about beverages that are available in South Carolina and Georgia. Follow him on Twitter under the name "winereview."