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The deal

Waimea Pinot Noir 2009

($22.10 in Quebec, product No. 10826447) boasts good varietal character. The medium-bodied red from New Zealand is crisp and tight, with bright raspberry-strawberry notes and hints of herbs and spice. Try it with salmon, pork tenderloin or duck breast.

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The splurge

Altair Sideral 2005 ($26.10 in Quebec, No. 10692830) is a Chilean blend of cabernet sauvignon with 13-per-cent carmenère. The herbal carmenère quality peers through its succulent plum, chocolate, spice and smoked meat, finishing with tight acidity.

The domestic

Township 7 Merlot 2007 ($24.99, is full-bodied, smooth and velvety, with luscious blackberry-blueberry, chocolate and caramel and firm tannins. It should age well for four to six years. Try it with steak.

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