I've spent most of the last month or so out at the new Binny's locations, doing computer stuff, mostly. It has been pretty exciting seeing the new stores, and even more exciting meeting and working with the people both the employees and customers. We're very fortunate to have such a great team.

  My time away also meant that when I finally did get back to the office, I was overwhelmed with all the new wines that have hit Binny's shelves.

  It is now that special time of year where in exactly one month from now, I will look back and kick myself for having not started shopping early. Retail stores will soon change their radio stations for the season. I guess that also means it's time for some holiday-ish wine recommendations. If you're a last-minute kind of person (as I am) then you haven't even figured out the specifics of the Thanksgiving menu, not to mention the wine to serve with dinner. With that in mind, here are some New and Notable (and affordable wines), holiday style:

  Traditionally, white German varietals like riesling and gewurztraminer are an easy pairing for Thanksgiving. For something a little different, try other whites with just a hint of sweetness. I was really impressed with the 2008 Feital Auratus, a white blend from Portugal. With just a touch of sugar, this plush white shows notes of mellow fruits like banana and melon and remains full on the palate. This is a great value at $15.

  For a surprisingly nice sparkling wine, try the new LaMarca Prosecco. The nose hints at sweetness, but there's plenty of acidity to give this lightly fizzy wine good snap, and a sort of sweet-tart quality. Bubbles can work throughout a meal, and can refresh your palate after lots of heavy food.

  Any meal with only white wine is missing something. It's good to focus on wine that won't get in the way of lighter meats, so avoid reds that are too austere. Zinfandel is a common choice. For something different, try the 2008 Juan Gil Wrongo Dongo, a Monastrell (Mourvedre) from Jumilla in Spain. It's full of easy, ripe fruit, and offers hints of spices while staying easy to drink. Plus, they changed the label with this new vintage, and it's less ... um ... tacky. Another interesting red that's new to Binny's shelves is the 2008 Clayhouse Malbec one of just a handful of domestic malbec (though I'm sure you'll see many more in the coming years). This red offers fresh acidity to balance with the raspberry, dried cherry and cranberry fruit common in malbec, and will keep the wine lively when paired with heartier, heavier foods.

  Don't forget about dessert wine on Thanksgiving! If I'm going to be napping anyway, there's nothing better than a glass of sticky with my post-feast pie. Port is great, but for a less pricey alternative, check out the new De Krans Tawny Port from South Africa. It's sweet, with autumnal spices like cinnamon stick and nutmeg and molasses, with light raisin fruit. It's a great stand-in for a more expensive Tawny Port, and a wonderful way to finish off the holiday dinner.


  So enjoy the holiday, enjoy the food, enjoy the wine. And the people. And I hope to see you at Binny's.