Bruce’s Pick: 2016 Bulliat Beaujolais Village, $14.99.

Every year about this time (late Nov.) the Beaujolais that gets all the press is the Nouveau....the fresh new harvest that is always released the 3rd Thursday of November. And every year this event reminds me of all the more serious "year-round" Beaujolais that are available and that we stock in the store. 

My wine pick is not one of the top Crus--the ten single villages allowed to don their own name on the label (of which we feature dozens), but a middle-range Beaujolais from a defined geographical area encompassing all those villages. This example exhibits the characteristics that I look for in a mid- level Beaujolais: soft approachable red fruit with a fresh finishing lift and subtle floral notes. It is not complicated, but it is oh soquaffable...what the French call "gueulant".  The Crus, such as the Morgon from this same producer, is more dark fruited, full bodied and more age-worthy.

So enjoy the Nouveaus for what they are--a celebration of the new harvest--but don't mistake them for the real deal, a serious wine worthy of your attention.

Karlee’s Pick: Pierre Gimmonet et Fils 1er Cru Blanc de Blancs Cuvee Fleuron Millesime 2008

Put this wine on your to-do list before the end of the year and celebrate the closing of 2018 with a delicious bottle of ten year old vintage champagne. This millesime 2008 was striking from the moment it was poured, as an exceptionally frothy bubble layer formed above the delicately sparkling, golden-hued wine. The nose had some notable citrus zing, the palate had wonderful lemon curd, pastry, and toasty notes with the lightest hint of something savory. It finished with big acid mellowed by a lingering tartness. Celebrate the season by popping some of this delicious bubbly!

Barry’s Pick: 2016 Gurrieri Frappato $25.00

Here is a lovely red wine for the holiday season. Made from 100% Organic Frappato grapes, this wine is sure to please anyone who can appreciate a wine of elegance and finesse.  The fruit is beautifully fragrant, with intense notes of bilberry, blackberry, raspberry, and aromatic floral tones. On the palate it remains fresh among the sweet and fine tannins, and the acidity lifts the fruity character up, giving depth and complexity to a wine whose weight is as light as a feather. Expressive with food, or on its own, this Frappato will drink wonderfully for the next several years. Cheers!

Kent’s Pick 2016 Les Hauts de Milly Bourgogne Blanc $15.99

Our wine buyer Barry has got to be getting a bit a palate fatigue after all of the importer and distributor tastings he's been to in the last year.  It's hard work tasting all those wines!  One of Barry's great finds this year are wines from Domaine Henri Defaix a burgundy producer that owns vineyards in both Chablis and Rully.  Their entry-level Les Hauts de Milly Bourgogne Blanc is a great value, that over produces for its price.  The fruit for the wine come from vineyards in the Cote D'Auxerre a little bit south of Chablis.  The wine was aged for 10 months in stainless steel tanks.  On the nose the shows crisp citrus of grapefruit and lime.  The palate shows fresh lime, lemon, and a nice streak of minerality all supported by a racy acidity.  Great by itself, or pair it with chicken or seafood.  So if you're looking for a baby Chablis in Bourgogne blanc's clothes, this is the wine for you.

Kathy’s Pick: 2015 Chateau de La Noblesse Bandol Rouge, $25

Bandol, an appellation of the Provencal coast, the predominant grape is Mourvedre (Montastell), which also happens to be one of my varieties. We just picked up this great little wine and I was impressed on how approachable it was, as the usual thought is that Bandol usually need time to age a bit. This wine spends 18 months in barrel, which is a requirement of Bandol rouge. Deep purple, this wine has a really intense, smoky, meaty, earthy and even chocolate-like aromas layered with ripe black fruit and licorice. It has a velvety texture with big yet soft tannins. It’s drinking very well now, but could be cellared for up to 10 years.

Bob’s Pick: Nugan Estate, Single Vineyard, “Scruffy’s Shiraz,” 2015, $13.99

First thing you need to know about this Shiraz is that it is NOT from The Barossa.  Not that The Barossa is a bad place for Shiraz, I love em.  But their tendency there is big big muscular fruit driven Shiraz.  If that’s what you’re used to drinking this one will surprise you.  And it will surprises you by its finesse and depth of character.  Yes there are Shiraz fruits (blackberry, blueberry, dark cherry), but they are warmly cloaked with Provence herbs and briar.  With an alcohol level just above 14% it isn’t over hot or sweet like a higher alcohol wine might be.  This Hunter Valley Shiraz drinks more like a Northern Rhone but at a great price. Enjoy. 

Kent’s Pick: La Vieille Ferme Sparkling Brut, $14.99

I can’t believe it’s already November, and the holidays will soon be here! With that in mind, I made my wine pick this Reserve Sparkling Brut. La Vieille Ferme is the value brand made by the Famille Perrin of France who are responsible for consistently producing some of the top wines from the Rhône region (think Chateau Beaucastel). The wine is made from 100 percent Chardonnay and is aged on the lees, which helps give it roundness and texture.

This sparkler has a lovely freshness on the nose and shows lemon, apple and brioche. On the palate, it offers peach, lemon, green apple, and like the nose, it finishes with a touch of brioche. There is no question that this is a great value in sparkling wine and is perfect for holiday celebrations.

Kathy’s Pick: 2016 Copain Pinot Noir Tous Ensemble, $30

I have tried some of the higher end, single vineyard wines from Copain, so when this entry level was presented to us, I was thrilled to see one of their wines that I could buy on a more regular basis.

This is Copain’s first offering from Sonoma, and it is just as nuanced and elegant as their other wines. It offers aromas of rose petal, plum skin, and fresh raspberries. Ripe cherries and orange peel also present themselves on the palate that’s marked by a silky texture and lingering finish. Perfect for that Turkey dinner coming up in the near future.