Cork Club April 2021 Selections: An Exploration of East Coast Cabernet Franc

When the folks at The Cellar d’Or and I shifted this club from two bottles every month to four bottles every other month, I knew that I wanted to do an all-cabernet franc four-pack. It’s my favorite red wine grape, after all.

I knew that I wanted to represent as many different regions as I could, and I wanted those regions to be the main difference between the wines – so all from the same vintage. Given the challenges many East Coast regions faced in 2018, that meant finding wines from the 2019 vintage.

In the end, I was able to get these four wines:

One of them is pre-release. One is a small, tasting room-only production. But I was able to convince one winery to sell us some before anyone else gets it and wore down the other until they made this club their only wholesale account. The other two were a bit easier to get, but no less special.

I truly could not be happier with this set of wines or more excited to share them with you. I think it’s a true deep dive into what cabernet franc is and can be in the AVAs represented – Finger Lakes, Hudson River Region, Virginia, and North Fork of Long Island.

Each of the wines is made in a way that embraces and enhances the unique deliciousness that is cabernet franc. You won’t find long-term aging in new, high-toast oak here. There isn’t a cabernet sauvignon wannabe in the lot.

What you will find is a series of wines that express the place they were grown with a purity that is perhaps more possible with cabernet franc than any other red grape in the East.

I’m not going to include my own tasting notes here. I don’t want to put flavors or impressions in your mind before you taste them. I really want this to be an exploration – a journey through East Coast terroir.

Ideally, you’d open all four and taste them side-by-side, but with in-person gatherings still not the norm, I understand that you may not be able to do that. Do try to drink them as close together as you can, though. I think it’s worth the effort. And let’s face it, drinking some of the best cabernet franc being made in the United States today isn’t that much of a chore, is it?

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I’ve partnered The Cellar d’Or , an incredible wine and cider shop in Ithaca, NY to create a one-of-a-kind wine club that delivers some of the most delicious and unique wines from the Eastern United States right to your door. 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 — from producers you’re probably not going to find anywhere else. 

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