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.

Dave’s Pick: 2016 Delas Côtes-du-Rhône, Saint-Esprit, $12.99

There was a bit of controversy surrounding this wine. It received a remarkable (for the price) 95 points from the English magazine Decanter. That is a publication for which I have great respect, and find that their taste in wine typically matches mine. But then a co-worker who knows my palate, warned me that it was made in a bigger style that he thought I might not like.

Well he was right about the bigger style, but wrong about my not liking it. A richly aromatic wine filled with heady dark fruits—plum, blackberry, currant—along with touches of anise and spice. This is a medium to full-bodied wine offering cherry and berry fruit flavors, with a silky texture and a creamy finish. Light, ripe tannins add grip, while bright acidity adds balance. Yes, it is rather big, but also well-structured and well-balanced, which is what won me over.

Bruce’s Pick: 2016 Weingut Knoll, Loibner-Wachau Grüner Veltliner, $27

I drink a fair amount of entry level Grüner (you know, the liter bottles for $12-13 bucks). It’s one of our “refrigerator whites” at home, but heading into fall I wanted to try something a little more serious. I picked this particular version because it was from a known, quality producer, one of the best growing regions, and a recent highly regarded vintage. The vintage itself is characterized by delicate fruit-driven aromatics and fresh acidity, but quantities were reduced drastically by frost and hail.

I think what I especially like about Grüners is their savory character. Yes, there are subtle notes of Asian pear and quince, but the fresh snap pea, white pepper and hint of all-spice lead to a less fruit-driven impression, but an overall balance that leaves them very food friendly. This is a very impressive example that exhibits those characteristics in spades. While Grüners are very versatile at the table, I like to recommend them particularly with pork dishes and shrimp dishes, especially shrimp scampi. Come to think about it, it could well be the garlic and butter in that dish that brings out the best in Grüner. Why not step out of the box and give it a try?

David’s Pick: 2012 Notre Dame de Cousignac Châteauneuf-du-Pape $28

A seventh generation winemaker, Raphaël Pommier tend’s his family’s certified organic vineyards on the right bank of the Rhône River in the Ardeche region. The chapel of Notre Dame de Cousignac, built in the 7th century, lies in the midst of the vineyards. The Pommier family bought the property in the Napoleonic era, cultivating both wine and silk back then. Now a part of the Ogier group, Raphaël sources grapes for this Châteauneuf from organic estates. Vinified in stainless steel tanks, it is aged for 12 months in a mix of cement and stainless. It offers lightly tart red fruit aromas, along with licorice and a bit of spice. The round, ripe, red berry and plum fruit flavors are backed by touches of creamy cocoa and leather. Fine, mostly resolved tannins come through on the finish, which is marked by balanced, food friendly acidity. Would go great with roast chicken, roast beef or game, winter squash or baked pasta dishes.

Kathy’s Pick #2: 2017 Cep Sauvignon Blanc, $24

We were fortunate to be able to get five cases of this small production wine, made by Peay Vineyards in California. Cep means vine stock in French, and the emphasis is on making wines that express the Peay family vineyard’s personality, but at about half the price. Grown organically, this wine’s alluring nose emphasizes tart, green fruits (kaffir lime and other sour citrus), with savory notes of fennel, thyme, mint and tarragon. The fruit flavor on the attack confirms the lime in the nose, adding lime pith and roasted lime nuances. The mid-palate has salty and mineral notes as well as a hint of floral sweetness. The acidity is fresh throughout making the wine crisp and focused with a clean finish. Another one to try while it’s still available.

Kathy’s Pick #1: 2013 Silverado Sangiovese, $24

Sometimes, in the vast warehouses of our distributors, wines get lost or buried, and if you’re lucky, there are some real gems to be found. That is the case with this wine. I happened to see it in one of their price books, so I tried it, and it so impressed that we bought the last two available cases. Being a 2013 vintage, this wine has had time to develop some character: the tannins have smoothed out, leaving a silky, delicious wine. A blend of 90 percent Sangiovese and 10 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, it has aromas of cherry, dried cranberry and white pepper, with crushed herbs, cedar and earthy notes making an appearance. A balanced wine with bright acidity and abundant fruit, it has a broad mid-palate with a lingering finish. I encourage you to try a bottle before it’s all gone.

Bob’s Pick: 2015 Adelsheim Willamette Valley Chardonnay, $17.99

I really want to like domestic Chardonnay, but the sweeter, oakier, big and buttery California Chardonnays are just not my style. Where there is new hope, however, is out of Oregon, but it has taken a while. In its developmental stages the nascent Oregon wineries were certain that, because they grew great Pinot Noirs like Burgundy, they could also grow wonderful Chardonnays. But, they went about it a bit wrongly to start. What they did was bring up cloned vines from California—it’s not that far away. Unfortunately, the Chardonnay vines that thrived in the hotter climes of California, in Oregon, too often made lean, overly acidic wine. Frustrated, but not beaten, David Adelsheim (of Adelsheim Winery of course) had a bit of Wiley Coyote genius moment, and in 1984 went to France to bring back some Dijon Clones. Oh yeah. Cool climate to cool climate; it worked. True to the grape’s heritage they decided against new oak barrel ageing and full malolactic secondary fermentation. The impressive result is a crisp, clean Chardonnay, uncluttered by manipulated flavors, but accented with apple brightness and hints of lemon zest. More food friendly than cocktailable, this is a wine to open your evening along with those light nibbles or with chicken or fish with lighter sauces. If you are a fan of French Chardonnays, this is your baby too, and at a more domestic price!