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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Sparkling Pointe 2016 Brut and Ravines Wine Cellars 2015 Maximilien

Before I get into this month’s wines, I just want to take a quick sentence or two to first thank you for being a part of this club in 2019 (and for many years for many of you). I hope that you enjoy drinking the wines as much as I enjoy picking them. I think there were a lot of uniquely delicious wines this year – and trust me when I tell you that is going to continue in 2020. 

Okay, enough of that. Let’s get to this month’s wines. 

You know me. I like to find wines that are outside the norm. I like to challenge myself (and you too) to drink wines maybe you’d not normally try or maybe push you to try different wines during different times of the year.

I just get frustrated by all of the cliches in the wine world. There is too much to explore and too much fun to be had. 

That said, we’re going pretty classic this month. This duo has the winter holidays written all over it. 

We’ve included Ravines Wine Cellars quite a bit over the years, but I think this is the first time we’ve ever included something other than winemaker Morten Hallgren’s benchmark dry riesling. You probably don’t think about Bordeaux blens when you think about the Finger Lakes. I know I don’t, but this blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc is more benchmark-type stuff from Hallgren. Ravines Wine Cellars 2015 Maximilien offers ripe dark cherry and blackberry flavors are accented by hints of savory herb, tobacco and just a little sweet oak. Drinking roast beast to celebrate the holidays? here’s a great wine for that. It’ll do the job for mom and dad as they put presents under the tree too if you celebrate Xmas. 

You wanna talk about cliche – here is some sparkling wine for New Year’s Eve. Cliche or not, bubbly is delicious any day of the year and this Sparkling Pointe 2016 Brut is a classic methode champenoise sparkler from New York’s only sparkling-only producer. I tend to prefer leaner, more-focused sparkling wines (as opposed to the richer, more autolytic styles) and this wine hits my palate perfectly. Fresh, crisp and clean, I recently took a bottle of this one to our local BYO restaurant and it was a refreshing foil for my salad and my wife’s chilled seafood appetizer. It’d also be a great way to ring in the New Year. Or have next to a big holiday breakfast with family – but I beg you, please don’t put orange juice in it. Please. 

As always, let me know what you think of the wines, happy holidays and happy New Year!

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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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