The Cork Club: November 2017 Selections Fossil & Till 2016 Riesling Pétillant Naturel | Macari Vineyards 2017 "Early Wine" Chardonnay

Did you know that I have my own wine club? I do! I’ve partnered with my friends at The Cellar d’Or in Ithaca, NY to bring the best and most interesting wine from New York and beyond straight to your door. We call it “The Cork Club” and I pick two wines each month that never exceed $60 total before shipping. These aren’t bin ends or mass-produced garbage. These are the wines that I’m drinking myself and most excited about — from producers you’re never going to get anywhere else. Sign up today!

The Cork Club: November 2017 Selections

I’ve long said that the “art” of pairing wine with food is overrated. But as we head into the holiday season, every food and wine magazine (and website) is ready to tell you precisely what the “perfect” wine is for your Thanksgiving dinner. I’ve written these stories myself but stopped two years ago. You don’t need so-called experts to tell you what wine you should pour with whatever food you have in front of you.

Eat good food. Drink good wine. Do both with good people. You’ll be happy.

That said, I do still write about the wines I’ll actually be drinking on Thanksgiving — and both of this month’s wines will be there. I guarantee that.

First is a frothy sparkling Riesling from a producer you might not know: Fossil & Till 2016 Riesling Pétillant Naturel. If you’re not familiar with Riesling Pétillant — often shortened to pet nat — it’s fairly straightforward. The wine is bottled before primary fermentation — the fermentation that converts the grapes’ sugars into alcohol — is complete, capturing the carbon dioxide produced as primary fermentation finishes inside the bottle. The lees (dead yeast cells and grape remnants) are typically left inside the bottle and the resulting wines tend to be lower in alcohol, less aggressively carbonated and sometimes even cloudy compared to méthode champenoise wines. Pet nat is very hot right now and it’s easy to understand why. The wines are just plain fun to drink.

Made with fruit grown in in a single vineyard on Seneca Lake, the 2016 shows bright stone fruit and green apple qualities with nervy, almost electric acidity. This isn’t a wine to ponder. It’s also not a wine I prefer in a Champagne flute. I drink wines like this right out of my every day white or red wine glasses.

This month’s second wine will  be much more familiar to more of you: Macari Vineyards 2017 “Early Wine” Chardonnay. You read that right — 2017. This will be your first taste of the new vintage. Inspired years ago by the jungwein (young wine) of Macari’s consulting winemaker Helmut Gangl’s homeland, Austria, head winemaker Kelly Koch has really dialed this wine in in recent years. It crackles with acidity and offers aromas and flavors of lime, green apple and citrus blossom. There’s a gentle sweetness here, but all that fresh acidity helps it finish dry. This is a favorite in my house every year. I’m sure we’ll be ordering our first case soon.

I hope you enjoy the wines and have a happy Thanksgiving!


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