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.
First — I hope everyone is healthy and doing well. Particularly for all of you parents and teachers out there, I hope back-to-school season has going at least reasonably well. It’s been hectic here, but we’re making it work. Good wine certainly helps.
This club has changed and evolved quite a bit over the years, but of late I’ve tried to either pick two wines from the same producer, or from the same AVA or made with the same grape. I do that because I want to be a bit more educational with the club and I think it maeks for fun side-by-side drinking.
This month’s shipment doesn’t have such an interesting thread running through it. But it does have a theme: Delicious Rose.
I taste quite a bit of rose every year and after the challenging 2018 growing season (and the wines that came from it) just about every 2019 rose I tasted was at least drinkable and many of them were outstanding.
You might be wondering why I waited until September – after summer – to pick two roses. That’s just me being a bit contrarian and even a bit dictatorial. I drink rose all year round and you should to. It’s my go-to wine for Thanksgiving and it’s even if it’s not your thing in the winter months, it’s great for the transition to fall. And these are two of the best ones I tasted this summer.
First up is Hosmer Winery 2019 Rose of Cabernet Franc. It’s 84% cabernet franc and 16% blaufrankisch (I refuse to call it lemberger). It’s a beautiful, pure pink color with a nose of fresh red summer berries and only the most subtle savory, herbal notes to remind you that it’s cabernet franc. The acidity is super-fresh too.
And, as dry rose has become more important in the Finger Lakes, the prices have grown along with it, making this sub-$17 example a great value too.
This month’s second wine is Early Mountain Vineyards 2019 Rose, a wine that is consistently one of the best roses coming out of Virginia – and the East Coast, honestly. Made using a blend of 65% merlot, 26% cab franc, 7% syrah, and 2% petit verdot, there is a bit more complexity here, with notes of peach and flowers joining bright red berry fruits and mouth-watering acidity. If you love rose, Early Mountain is a winery you need to know. Actually, if you love wine, Early Mountain is a winery you need to know.
That’s it for this month. As always, let me know what you think of the wines! We’ll have more deliciousness coming your way next month!