Welcome to The Cork Club. I’ve partnered with a great wine and cider shop in Ithaca, NY – The Cellar d’Or – to bring the best and most interesting wine from the East Coast and Midwest straight to your door. It’s pretty simple. I pick two wines each month that never exceed $60 total before shipping and they are shipped directly to you. These aren’t bin ends or mass-produced, factory wine garbage. These are real wines, made by real people. These are the wines that I’m drinking myself and most excited about — from producers you’re never going to get anywhere else. 

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The Cork Club: June 2019

Two delicious wines from Fjord Vineyards

I don’t get to trade tastings as much as I used to. For one, my work and family schedules just don’t afford me much time to get into New York City for them. I also don’t enjoy them all that much. Speed tasting at a dozen tables or more over the course of an afternoon just isn’t that interesting to me. No one really drink wine that way. It’s not fun. Seriously.

But I do always try to attend NY Drinks NY — the rare New York winery-focused tasting put on by the New York Wine and Grape Foundation. It’s an opportunity to see people I don’t see often enough, taste new releases and make some discoveries along the way.

This month’s wine picks are a direct result of this year’s event – though we’ve included a previous vintage of one of the wines before.

For a variety of reasons, the Hudson River Region AVA has struggled to garner the attention from the greater wine community that the Finger Lakes and Long Island already have. But with an open mind and just a little knowledge of where to go, you can find some delicious, distinctive wines in the region. Both of this month’s wines qualify.

Founded in 2013 by Matthew Spaccarelli (whose family owns nearby Benmarl Winery) and his wife Casey Erdmann, Fjord Vineyards is at the forefront of vinifera wine production in the Hudson Valley. Matt, who makes the wines, is making the kinds of wines that I just love drinking. Period.

First up this month is the Fjord Vineyards 2018 Albariño, which will be familiar to long-time members as we included previous vintages a few years ago. The 2018 is super-fresh and crisp with juicy white grapefruit, faint peach notes the telltale saline edge that Albariño often brings. This is an incredible summer wine that can be enjoyed by itself on the beach or by the pool, but it’ll also shine with early summer produce and seafood.

You know that I’m a cabernet franc fanatic – and Matt has a couple good ones available right now. In the end, I went with the Fjord Vineyards 2016 Cabernet Franc because he made it without any added sulfites. I’m not big on “natural wine” but I appreciate experimentation and that Matt is pushing the envelope of what is possible. He only made 65 cases of this dark-berried red with nice savory edges and lively acidity. Enjoy it with come grilled chicken or even pork.

As always, I hope you enjoy the wines. Let me know what you think!

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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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