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: February 2019

This month’s shipment features not one but two wines from one of the rising stars of Finger Lakes wines – and it doesn’t even include the wine winemaker Benny Riccardi is probably best known for.

Riccardi launched Osmote Wines just a few years ago, focusing primarily on expressive and distinctive chardonnay. The chardonnay is good. Really really good, actually. But, when I tasted through Riccardi’s new releases recently, I was even more intrigued by his take on two wines you know I tend to favor – sparkling wine and cabernet franc.

This sparkling wine, which I’ll tell you more about in a minute, is super-low production. Painfully low. But, the fine folks at The Cellar d’Or were able to procure just enough to send out to you. They are a great partner in this club. You reap the benefits.

That sparkling wine, Osmote Wines 2018 “This is Pet-Nat” Cayuga White Pet-Nat is made with Cayuga White, a hybrid grape developed at nearby Cornell University. Brisk, citrusy and frothy, it makes the case for more Cayuga sparkling (I’ve only tasted a couple before this one). Think lemon-lime with a tart bit of green apple acidity.

Chill it well, open it over the sink and drink it with friends. Don’t over-think it. Celebrate it.

I know that some of you might get tired of all the cabernet franc I put in the club. I really wasn’t going to include one this month – but then I tasted Osmote Wines 2017 Cabernet Franc and I knew I wanted to share it with you. It has the punch, bright fruit you get with carbonic maceration (half of the harvest fruit was fermented this way) with layers of woodsy spice and a stem-y savory edge. It’s lighter bodied than many East Coast cabernet francs but it’s not short on flavor intensity. The finish is like spiced cranberries and shows nice acidity and just a little skin tannin grip. The bottle I tasted didn’t last long – it was a struggle to save enough to re-taste it after 24 and 48 hours open like I always do.

That’s it for this month. I promise no cabernet franc next month – but I make no promises for April!

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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