THe COrk Club February 2020: The Delicious Diversity of New York SParkling Wine

I’ve partnered The Cellar d’Or , and incredible shop in Ithaca, NY to create a one-of-a-kind wine club that delivers some of the most delicious and unique wines from the Eastern United States right to your door. 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 — from producers you’re probably not going to find anywhere else. 

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I never really know when the official cut-off is for when it’s no longer ‘okay’ to say “Happy New Year” but considering this is the first shipment of 2021, I’m going to say it regardless: Happy New Year!

This year, the guys at the shop and I decided to change the club up a little bit. Instead of shipping out two bottles of wine every month, we’re doing four bottles every other month. The initial reason was just logistics – a lot of members (including me) were already doing it this way. It’s easier for the shop to do the packing six times a year versus twelve and it also saves members a little money on shipping.

But, as we were talking it through, I realized that this would enable me to expand upon the idea of a theme for each shipment. We’ve done two wines from the same winery or two wines of a similar style from two very different regions.

Now that I have four slots to fill for each shipment, the possibilities are nearly endless!

I decided to kick off the new setup in a celebratory way: bubbles. More specifically, four very different sparkling wines from New York.

If you’ve been a member of this club for very long, you know that I’m a champion for diversity in Eastern wine. Yes, I could send you rieslings and cabernet francs every month, but what makes the wine regions of the Eastern United States so special is the fact that so many grapes lead to so many delicious wines here. That diversity is on display in this month’s shipment even though they are all sparkling wines.

First up is perhaps the most uniquely delicious sparkling wine I’ve tasted in some time – Fossenvue Winery 2018 Diamon Petilland Naturel. There is a good chance you’ve never tasted a wine made from the Diamond grape before (it’s not all that commonly used for wine) but even if you have, this is a completely different expression of the cross of Concord and Iona grapes. Zesty, hugely aromatic and super-fresh, it really lends itself to the pet-nat style of sparkling wine. Even if you’re not typically a fan of “weird” grapes, I think you’re going to dig it.

Second, we have our second pet-nat of the box: Channing Daughters Winery 2019 Gewurztraminer Petillant Naturel. I don’t taste a ton of sparkling gewurzt, but man I fell for this one a few months ago when I presented it during a virtual tasting I hosted. The grape’s bright, aromatic nature shines through with subtle sweetness and fun, frothy carbonation. CDW makes a great lineup of pet nats that is worth checking out.

For our third wine this month, I decided to go with something from Dr. Konstantin Frank, which has been producing sparkling wine (formerly under the Chateau Frank label) for longer than most in the Finger Lakes. The Dr. Konstantin Frank 2016 Brut is actually sold out now (we were lucky to get some of the last few cases) but it’s made from the traditional grapes of Champagne – chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot meunier – using the same winemaking techniques used in Champagne as well. This is just classic Finger Lakes sparkling wine. It’s all pears and apples and citrus with a great backbone of acidity.

Last but certainly not least is another Champagne-method wine, but from the North Fork of Long Island. The Lenz Winery 2014 Cuvee is 100% pinot noir and is in my personal top two or three sparkling wines from Long Island. It’s richer with some red berry flavors layered with toasty, nutty notes. All with great freshness.

I really hope that you enjoy the new format. We’re already working on April’s picks (because when we announced these wines on Facebook, we had a surge in new members but had to scrounge to get more of each wine!). Cheers!

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