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: September 2019

The Cork Club: September 2019 Selections from Hosmer Winery and Fulkerson Winery

Last month, I had the distinct pleasure of once again serving as a judge for the New York Wine Classic – a wine competition colloquially referred to as the Oscars of New York wine. It was my second time in as many years.

Over the course of a day and a half, I tasted roughly 200 wines from across New York State. You can view the winners here.

It’s an incredible opportunity for me to taste a lot of wines that I’d normally not get to taste and it’s fair to say that these wines wouldn’t be in the club this month if I hadn’t tasted them while judging.

Did I agree with every “Best of” winner? No. I think it’d be weird if I did, actually. We all approach wine from our own points of view and while consensus was achieved on many of the winners, there were certainly some disagreements. I did, however, vote for both of this month’s wines. One won its category. One didn’t. But I’m excited to have you drink these.

First up in Hosmer Winery 2018 Sauvignon Blanc, which won “Best Sauvignon Blanc” during the competition. I’ve been really (really!) hard on Finger Lakes sauvignon blanc over the years. To me, it never tastes like it really gets ripe. I don’t know if Hosmer has a unique site, if climate change is affecting things or if winemaker Julia Hoyle just has a way with the grape — but this wine stood out for me even during the first round. Juicy and fresh with great acidity and all of citrus-melon-peach fruit you could ask for, it’s a fine example of New York sauvignon blanc. I actually thought it was one of my favorites from Long Island.

This month’s other wine, Fulkerson Winery 2017 Zweigelt, was one of my favorite wines from the whole competition. It ultimately lost out to a far bigger and brawnier Long Island petit verdot in the “Other Red Vinififera” category, but there is no denying that this fresh, juicy red turned many heads during the Classic. It makes the case for more experimentation with this Austrian variety in the Finger Lakes – and is the perfect red to transition from summer to fall.

As always, I’d love to hear what you think about the wines.

Next month, we have something pretty special in the works – so stay tuned!

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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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