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The Cork Club: December 2017 Selections

I’m not big on year-end reviews — I always prefer to look forward — but 2017 has been an interesting year — both in the wine world and in this country overall. I’ll leave it at that, I think. This month’s wines (well, one wine and one cider) align perfectly with this time of year. For both producers, these bottlings are the last of their kind, but both have big things ahead too.

If you’ve been in this club or read anything that I’ve written over the past few years, you know the saga of Southold Farm + Cellar. Upstart producer on the North Fork of Long Island founded by Carey and Regan Meador (Regan also makes the wines). They got some great coverage and quickly built a legion of loyal customers who loved their unique approach to wine and to Long Island. But, when local government made it difficult (impossible?) for them to fulfill their dreams on Long Island, they moved the whole operation to Texas, where Regan is from. Southold Farm + Cellar 2016 Horseshoes & Hand Grenades is a sparkling Lagrein from the Meador’s young vineyard in Southold — and it’s the last sparkling red Regan will ever make from Long Island fruit. It’s fresh and fruity with layers of earthy funkiness (in a good way). I drank a bottle while prepping Thanksgiving dinner this year. Only a little bit of this made it into distribution, so I’m psyched we were able to get it for you.

Several years ago, when I thought hard cider all tasted like the beer-replacement stuff you see at every grocery store or at every mediocre bar, I met Diane Flynt of Foggy Ridge Cider. She showed me what true, orchard-centric cider can be. She announced this fall that she’s going to retire from making cider to focus on her orchard, so this is the last “Serious Cider” that’ll ever be made. Foggy Ridge Serious Cider is made with a blend of traditional English cider apples like Tremlett’s Bitter and Dabinett and American cider apples like Ashmead’s Kernel and Roxbury Russet — and I think it’s a great introduction to serious cider (yes, pun intended). It tastes like apples, of course, but you’ll also find notes of stone fruit and citrus along with great acidity and tannins — which you may not expect in cider. My wife and I drank almost a case of this over the summer. It’s a great pre-dinner sipper with or without cheese and cured meats.

I hope you guys dig this wine and this cider as much as I do. We’ll probably sprinkle some cider into shipments next year here and there when I find delicious stuff that I think you’ll dig. I hope you have a great holiday season with your friends and family!

About Author

Lenn Thompson, a proud Pittsburgh, PA native, moved to Long Island more than a decade ago and quickly fell in love with the region’s dynamic and emerging wine community. A digital and content marketing and community professional by day, he founded NewYorkCorkReport.com in early 2004 to share his passion for the wines, beers and spirits of New York State. After running that site -- which became the premier source for independent New York wine commentary, reviews and news -- for 12 years, he launched TheCorkReport.us in late 2016 to add the wines of Virginia, Maryland, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Vermont and beyond to his beat. Lenn currently serves as the wine columnist for The Suffolk Times weekly newspaper and is the former editor of the Long Island Wine Gazette. He contributes or has contributed to publications like Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Beverage Media, Edible Brooklyn, Edible East End and Edible Hudson Valley. Lenn served on the board of directors for Drink Local Wine, and is the creator and founder of TasteCamp, an annual regional wine immersion conference for writers and trade. An admitted riesling and cabernet franc fanatic, he’s intensely passionate about eating local and the many local wine regions of America. Lenn lives in Miller Place, NY with his wife Nena, son Jackson, daughter Anna and their dog, Casey Lemieux Thompson.

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