The Cork Club: August 2020 Selections – Uniquely Delicious Wines from Marin Brennan

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 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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This month’s wines are why I love doing this club – and why I hope you love being members. Simply put, unless you visit Bedell Cellars’ second, seasonal tasting room The Taproom at Corey Creek, you aren’t going to get your hands on these wines.

As you can probably guess from the name, the wines at Corey Creek are served primarily from kegs. Bedell Cellars assistant winemaker Marin Brennan makes the wines and she does so with serious experimental flair.

For the first time, Brennan and head winemaker Rich Olsen-Harbich decided to bottle some of the wine as well so Corey Creek visitors can take them home and not have to drink them immediately (the wines are available in growlers as well).

Fewer than 100 cases of each were bottled and in addition to the wines I picked for this month’s club, Brennan made a carbonic malbec and a partially skin-fermented pinot grigio. I really enjoyed them all when I tasted them at the winery recently with Brennan, Olsen-Harbich, and my friend and colleague Carlo DeVito. Not only are they all delicious, but I always appreciate wines that are outside the norm.

This month’s first wine is Brennan’s 2019 White Cabernet Franc. You’ve probably had a white pinot noir or maybe a white merlot, but there isn’t a lot of white cabernet franc around. With moderate alcohol (12% abv), bright acidity, fresh berry flavors and a subtle savory edge (I mean, this IS cabernet franc after all), it’s just so perfectly suited to the season and seasonal foods. And, if you can hold onto a bottle (or go buy more) I think this is a great Thanksgiving dinner wine. Only 87 cases were bottled.

Long Island malbec can take on this wonderfully unique tropical fruit quality and that’s on full display with Brennan’s 2019 Malbec Rosé. Only 60 cases were bottled and again – you don’t see much malbec rosé in the East (or North America for that matter). Floral with berry fruit and those hints of tropical fruit, this was maybe my favorite wine of the four Corey Creek bottlings. Unique is always interesting, but unless the wine is also delicious, I don’t care that much. This wine is both, for sure.

That’s it for this month, everyone. As always, I hope you enjoy the wines. We have more deliciousness coming next month.

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