Seasonal Wines at Down the Rabbit Hole


We profiled Suzy McDonald wine store in Sayville just before she switched out her inventory to keep up with the seasons. Keep track on her Facebook page.

McDonald converts one-third of her white wine inventory to reds and heartier whites in September, because customers prefer deeper hues for autumn, to complement the changing colors of the leaves. She introduces roughly 15 to 20 new reds for the new season, including:

Domaine du Bagnol Cassis Blanc (Marsanne Ugni, Blanc, Clairette Blanc) Cassis, France $26.99

Fresh as a daisy and as demure as one, too. The Bagnol Cassis Blanc is a stunning wine with a pale straw color and delicate bouquet sure to please any palate. Cassis was first planted in the 12th century, and the vineyards were developed on the north, east and southeast slopes that surround the village, which sits immediately on a little bay on the Mediterranean. You can almost smell the maritime influence in this elegant sipper. On the nose you can get hints of chamomile and Meyer lemon blossom. Across the tongue, a mouth pleasing shot of lemon peel, fleeting moments of lavender and a satisfying finish of lacy sea salt. Prepare your baguette, because if you lean back and close your eyes, you’d swear you were amid the lavender fields somewhere between the vineyards and the beach with just a bit of sea spray powdering your nose!

Brosé Rosé (Syrah) Monterey, Calif$23.99

The Brosé Rosé is a must have for autumn. As the leaves begin to fall, we instinctively turn our backs on the white wines and rosés that have served us well all summer and forge headlong into brisk fall reds. The Brosé is for those making their own Indian summer. It has mouthwatering notes of hibiscus tea, watermelon, raspberry, and to ease you gently into fall flavors, luscious pomegranate. This is the perfect wine for the first leaf fall and will remain a stellar standby all the way through Thanksgiving! Incidentally, this wine is the viticultural lovechild of Long Island native, Artur Podniesinski. As if you needed another reason to, as the tagline commands, “pound it.”

Charles and Charles (Cabernet and Syrah) Columbia Valley, Wash. $16.99

What can be said about the Charles and Charles red? Well, only that it is made by two of the best winemakers in Washington State, who don’t like to toot their own horns, but they are kind of a big deal. Both are accomplished winemakers that consistently top charts in wine review magazines. But that really isn’t what the Charleses concern themselves with. They want to make sure you have a good time—and boy do they succeed. Their goal is to share their abundant skills with the world and produce a wine for every day that makes every day feel like a special occasion. Notes of black cherry, mocha, fine Cuban cigar and black currant practically leap from the glass, and though this wine is beyond affordable, it is by no means cheap. Wildly out-tasting its price point, the Charles and Charles blend will have you cheating on the over-loved Napa Valley cab without so much as a second glance. Value, virtue and darn good vino!