November’s bottles were picked for you by Cha McCoy, a certified sommelier and the owner of the Communion — a brand new wine shop in Syracuse that was sparked by McCoy’s event series of the same name. McCoy's selection is about wines made for gatherings — the ones we find ourselves at just as the air starts getting crisp and the leaves turn. Whether we’re huddling around a potluck spread with friends or feasting over a Thanksgiving meal with family, these wines are made for enjoying with your nearest and dearest this holiday season. They’re accessible yet varied, with something for everyone (from your sauvignon blanc-loving auntie to the guests begging for fuller reds) to love. Read about each below.
- Mary Taylor, Pascal Biotteau Anjou Blanc | Loire Valley, France; white, chenin blanc: This grape has much diversity and is a sommelier's secret weapon for pairings. Expressions of dried apricot with lines of minerality run through this. Plus, it’s a great option for sauvignon blanc lovers who are looking for an alternative for their holiday meal. You’ll love this with a rich and creamy mac and cheese.
- Altos de Montanchez Vegas Altas Orange | Extremadura, Spain; skin contact, cayetana, pardina: The duo behind Altos de Montanchez is helping to show that Extremadura can produce all styles of wines, including this one here with a touch of earthiness, plus some stone fruit and pear notes. I love this wine with a holiday ham because the acidity is a perfect way to help offset the meat’s richness.
- Karatta “The Great Cabsy” | South Australia, AU; red, cabernet sauvignon, shiraz: This delicious, big blend is the wine to add to the table for the roast beef and lamb lovers. And everyone else will love the fresh acidity that keeps the wine from becoming too heavy. This wine is from the oh-so-tiny Robe region in Southern Australia, which is home to only 10 wineries. So not only will you get the chance to sip on a wine with juicy blackberries along with some warm baking spice notes, but you’ll get to experience an up-and-coming region.
- Jelu Estate Pinot Noir | Patagonia, Argentina; red, pinot noir: No one can go wrong with a solid pinot noir at the table for their holiday dinner. The Southern Hemisphere gets little love for pinot but there are some hidden gems from sub regions like Patagonia, which provide great acid for the diversity of food that will be served at your next holiday meal. For the perfect pairing, sip this wine while dining on your grandmother’s famous collard greens seasoned with smoked turkey.
- Lurbira Garnacha | Navarra, Spain; red, garnacha: This project is named Lurbira after the “Earth Goddess” in the ancient religion of native Basque people; and to symbolize the commitment both parties feel to the land. This is a ruby-colored natural wine that is dark berry fruit-forward and brightly acidic. There are medium tannins and notes of vanilla.
- Domaine Médeilhan Mas de L'Oliviere Chardonnay | Languedoc-Roussillon, France; white, chardonnay: This chardonnay shows notes of flowers and stone fruits on the nose, with a palate of pear and bright fruits, finishing with a lovely creaminess. This is a delightful addition to your dinner table, or an infallible host gift.
- Mandrágora Vinos De Pueblo, Tragaldabas | Sierra de Salamanca, Spain; red, rufete, tempranillo: Sierra de Salamanca is a region known for making red wines similar to something you might find in Burgundy, but with the native grape, rufete. And like a red Burgundy, this has fine-grained tannins and a mouthwatering acidity. It’s also silky and wonderfully balanced, with notes of cherry and raspberry. Serve as a pre-meal snack with your favorite cured meats.
- Old Westminster, Salt | Maryland, USA; skin contact, gruner Veltliner, chardonnay, albarino: Salt is a blend of mostly skin-contact gruner Veltliner, with a little chardonnay and albarino. This is bright and juicy with fresh acidity and those mouthwatering saline notes that will have you saying "pass the salt!"