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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We all need great wine in our socially distanced, working-from-home-if-we-are-lucky lives. At least I know I do. I’m not sure if I’m drinking more wine, but I’m drinking at least a glass or two more nights each week than I was before we all started living this quarantined life.

If you’re drinking more wine (or wine more often) now like I am, please consider buying it from your favorite local wineries. They really need our help right now.

Let’s not dwell on the scary craziness we’re all experiencing right now though. Instead, let’s talk about the two terrific wines I picked out for this month’s club.

We’ve included some Barry Family Cellars wines in the club in the past, including wines from winemaker Ian Barry’s fun, fresh sparkling wine line. This time out, I wanted to focus on some of the interesting blends in his portfolio.

First, we have Barry Family Cellars 2017 Pastiche, a blend of 36% chardonnay, 36% gewurztraminer and 29% riesling fermented in a combination of large-format French oak and stainless steel tanks. When I tasted this with Ian late last summer, it was this wine’s texture that stood out. The acidity is both juicy and gritty – sort of in a perfectly ripe pear sort of way. The fruit flavors run the gamut – pear, peach, pineapple, and citrus – everything you’d expect given the grapes that went into it. With such a high percentage of gewurzt, you might expect the floral notes to be a bit more overt, but they are subtle and bring a pretty complexity.

Barry Family Cellars 2017 Four-Track Demo is a blend of 41% blaufrankisch (kudos to Ian for not calling it Lemberger), 33% merlot, 21% cabernet franc and 5% cabernet sauvignon. Thanks to 30% whole cluster fermentation, there is bright, fresh juiciness here that makes this a great wine for the transition to warmer weather. It’s not just a fruity gulper though. The cherry and plum fruit flavors are accented by savory spice and earthy notes too. This is a red that punches above its weight.

That’s it for this month. I hope everyone is staying home, staying safe and making the best of this tough situation. Open the good stuff. Cheers.

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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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