At this pensive time of year, contemplate a bottle of the 2008 Aquinas Pinot Noir ($22). The burgundy-hued wine is food-friendly with body and soul. You'll find plummy notes, plus a hint of vanilla. Aquinas comes from Don Sebastiani & Sons, Napa Valley.
DS&S also offers the 2009 The Crusher Rosé of Pinot Noir ($10), which sounds pretty blunt. But it's a juicy wine with summery berry and plum qualities and, to suit this season, a bit of cranberry. The Crusher also is a trifle floral, thanks to some viognier.
The name of the producer's 2007 B Side Cabernet Sauvignon ($30) suggests another aspect of Napa. Here, the flip-side is berry-driven and travels as much to Bordeaux as to California. Either way, it definitely goes with beef stew, during the upcoming holidays or those a few years away.
If, instead, you're looking for Bordeaux at a respectable price, the 2007 Blason d'Issan ($25) will do. This ripe, plummy red is the second label of Chateau d'Issan. Not a great vintage, but a flavorful, lively wine.
LONG ISLAND WINE OF THE WEEK
For something different in advance of Thanksgiving, there's the ever-versatile Wölffer Estate Big Apple Wine ($11). It works chilled with a little sparkling water, and is tasty enough to pair with a slice of apple pie. The apples were grown by the Halseys at their White Cap Farm orchard in Water Mill. You can use it as a condiment, too.