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: July 2019

July 2019 Cork Club
Early Mountain Vineyards 2018 “Young Wine” Chambourcin and 2018 Blaufrankisch Petillant Naturel

If you’re anything like me, you drink way more white wine (and rose) this time of year. It’s hot out. We’re eating fresh, summer produce. It just makes sense that wines that refresh and slake out thirst fill out glasses more often than not.

This month, I’m really excited to share two red wines with you that perfectly match those same criteria. Yes. Red wines.

Early Mountain Vineyards in Madison, Virginia has quickly become one of my go-to wineries in the East – both for terrific examples of East Coast standards like cabernet franc, chardonnay and Bordeaux-style blends but also for more-experimental wines. This month’s picks fall into the latter category.

First we have Early Mountain Vineyards 2018 Red Petillant Naturel. Made entirely from Blaufrankisch, there is an earthy, peppery edge here to a nose dominated by ripe black cherry and high-toned purple flower aromas. The supremely juicy, focused palate offers more of the same with terrific acidity and just a little black cherry skin tannin grip. As it warms just a little, there is an intriguing savory/umami note that emerges that brings complexity to a finish that is a little yeasty and minerally.

For this month’s second wine, I went with Early Mountain Vineyards 2018 “Young Wine” Chambourcin. Chambourcin is a French-American hybrid grape that is pretty prevalent on the East Coast. I’ll be honest — it’s not my favorite red hybrid by a long stretch, but if more of them tasted like this, it could be. Made via whole cluster carbonic maceration, it’s uber-fresh and fruit-forward with a mouthfeel that is defined more by punchy acidity than tannin (it takes a light chill beautifully). This isn’t a wine to ponder. It’s a wine to drink with enthusiasm with friends and family.

Both of these wines are ideally suited as summer barbecue libations. Chill them, open them and enjoy them with everything from sticky barbecued chicken to burgers to pork ribs to grilled lamb and even leaner beef cuts. These are fun wines that beg to be enjoyed without pretension or stress.

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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