Urban Wine Club, The Hottest New Subscription

Who doesn’t love wine? Do you sometimes feel like you’re in a rut, sipping the same familiar vintages week after week, month after month? With your job, family, and friends filling your schedule, there just isn’t enough time to do the research to figure out what different wines might be worth trying and then hunting them down.

What if you could enjoy new wines each and every month tailored to your taste and price preferences? And what if you could have all this without ever leaving the comfort of your home and have wine delivered right to your door?

Welcome to the Urban Wine Club! The brainchild of The Cork Stop’s wine director, Frank Stamos, the club makes enjoying new wines year round easy, worry-free and affordable.

Why Join?

Flexibility. Urban Wine Club offers several subscription options. You can choose deliveries of three or six bottles twice a month, once a month or every three months.

Value. Three-bottle deliveries cost $59, or $19.67 per bottle. Six-bottle deliveries are $109, a savings of about $1.50 per bottle. Either way, your Urban Wine Club subscription delivers the best wine available for the money. Note that these prices include shipping, handling, and delivery charges.

Express yourself. The bottles you receive are selected just for you. Subscribers fill out a short personal wine profile consisting of 10 questions that help determine the type of wine drinker you are.

Convenience. Subscribers do not have to be concerned about missing deliveries or wasting valuable time waiting for the FedEx truck to show up. Club drivers will hand deliver your wine to you at your home or workplace at the specified day and time. What could be easier?

Expertise. Your personal sommelier, Frank Stamos, is a certified wine specialist with 20 years of experience. He has been a brand portfolio manager for importers in New York and Massachusetts. Frank was a partner and beverage director for Meze Restaurant Group in Charlestown, MA, receiving numerous accolades and awards for his impressive and distinct wine lists. He also worked for Legal Sea Foods as a beverage manager alongside Master of Wine Sandy Block.

Social. As a subscriber to the Urban Wine Club, you get access to wine seminars conducted by Frank. They can be held at The Cork Stop or at your home, business or any other venue. Seminars combine information and tasting. They are a great way to share your love of wine with friends, family, and co-workers.

Great product. The Cork Stop strives to offer only products from smaller wineries around the world that practice organic farming and have very little intervention in their winemaking methods. That philosophy carries over to the Urban Wine Club. As a subscriber, you can be assured that you are not only getting an unbeatable value but supporting winemakers who are passionate about producing high-quality wines naturally.

Are you ready to join one of the fastest growing, hottest wine clubs?

How to Join.

Everything you need to know to get started is on our website http://urbanwineclub.co/

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Love, Wine, and Chocolate on Valentine’s Day

For many couples, friends and families it wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without sharing a glass of red wine along with a traditional box of chocolates. Below are some guidelines for wine lovers who also love chocolate.

Dark chocolate.  Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon are the best choices. Either pair beautifully with the heavy bitterness of dark chocolate. The varieties being produced in Australia are especially appropriate, but any full-bodied Shiraz or Cab with intense tannin and jammy tastes will do the trick. Remember: Bold is beautiful.

Milk chocolate.  Is someone you love a fan of the mild, sweet, creamy taste of milk chocolate? If so, head for the Pinot Noir section of your local wine shop. Look for the budget friendly choices that are coming out of New Zealand. Their quality rivals the fine Pinots being produced in the Pacific Northwest.

White chocolate.  Fans of white chocolate will appreciate a lighter wine. Spanish Cavas are stupendous for the occasion and one of the best values out there. Either a sweet or dry works nicely. So why not try one of each for a tantalizingly private tasting.

Try not to pinch pennies when it comes to wine. Fortune magazine writer Daryna Tobey offers some recommendations for those times when the price point is no problem. The names alone are worth the money.

Marchesi Antinori 2012 Solaia Toscana IGT. This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Cabernet Franc from Tuscany sells for an impressive $325.

Dal Forno Romano 2009 Amarone della Valpolicella. The luxurious red for the Veneto region of Northeast Italy will set you back $450.

2012 Red Wine Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend. This $285 offering from Ovid Vineyard in St. Helena, California, belongs among the world’s elite.

If your special someone loves both wine that stands out from the crowd and saving money, you’ll earn extra points with these two selections:

2009 Alta Vista. This Malbec blend with 20 percent Cabernet Sauvignon is produced in Mendoza, Argentina, by a French family that operates wineries around the world. Well worth its $90 price tag.

Three Sticks 2013 Pinot Noir. Durell Vinyard on California’s Sonoma Coast offers this top-notch Pino for a song ($65).

Can’t get your hands on one of these? Head to The Cork Stop for a quality wine that’s sure to make a blockbuster statement.

If a top-shelf wine is out of reach, consider something with a label made with love in mind from this list compiled by greatwines.com. (Also, check out our recent post titled “How the Best Wine Labels Seduce and Sell.”)

– Sexy Wine Bomb, a red blend from California.

– 2011 Eroica Riesling, from Washington state.

– Sultry Cabernet Franc, by Williamson Wines of Sonoma County, California.

– Cuvée les Amours, a Pino Blanc from Hugel &Vils of Alsace, France.

– 2011 Château Calon-Ségur, from Saint Estephe in the Bordeaux region of France, has an elegantly simple outline of a heart enclosing a very romantic type font in pale red.

– Desiree, from Rosenblum Cellars in Alameda, California.

– Fourplay, a blend of “four” Sicilian red grape varieties.

Still uncertain on how to find the perfect wine? The Cork Stop offers two suggestions from the Loire Valley of France to get you started:

Tuffe 2013. This wine from Château du Hureau is considered one of the best drinking Cabernet Francs at its price point.

Domaine Richou 2015. This is a balanced, mineral, crisp Chenin Blanc with plenty of citrus.

Pair whatever wine you choose with some extra effort and creativity to guarantee a Valentine’s Day to remember. For instance, instead of paying for a wine subscription service, choose 12 bottles yourself and deliver one every month in person. Many wine stores offer discounts on 6 or 12 bottle purchases.

Happy Valentine’s Day!
The Cork Stop

By Audrey DeSisto

Why Wine With Hot, Spicy Food Is a Cool Idea

With Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day upon us, there is a pretty good chance you will be eating out in the next few weeks. And with winter settled in, food with some heat is likely to be on the menu. Whether it’s a football party with finger food or a romantic four-course repast at an upscale restaurant, spicy cuisine is a comfort food for many people at this time of year.

While ice cold beer is typically the drink of choice for hosts and guests, wine lovers should take heart. With some basic guidelines and a little imagination, wines can be deliciously paired with favorite dishes from some of the world’s hottest cuisines.

The Basics
Well-chosen wines can actually enhance the flavors of dishes that are hot or spicy, sweet or sour, bitter or rich with butter and other dairy ingredients. A dry, spicy vintage complements the heat of the meal, while a sweeter wine offers a pleasing contrast for the palate. Remember that your choice of wine should be based on the dominant flavors of the food, not on whether it contains beef, chicken, pork or seafood, or is vegetarian.

Avoid wines with a strong oak taste and high alcohol content. The oak can overpower flavors, oversimplifying the complexity of the dish. A high alcohol level can make hot dishes seem even hotter.

Fruity aromatic off-dry wines are a good bet. They have a mild sweetness and go well with many Asian cooking styles. Off-dry wines contain some residual sugar from the production process, which contrasts with and balances the hot flavors.

While white wines may seem the logical choice to accompany spicy hot food, don’t overlook the crisp, lighter red varieties. Stick with those that have lower levels of alcohol and tannins.

Pairing up
Let’s take a look at some popular spicy cuisines and wines that go well with them.

  • Mexican and Tex-Mex: Sauvignon blanc. While the taste of this white wine can vary significantly depending on the climate where it was produced, Sauvignon blanc from France’s Loire Valley and New Zealand is known for being crisp, elegant and fresh. If the dish contains meat, opt for the fuller-bodied Fumé Blanc label. Robert Mondavi Fumé Blanc is a reliable choice.
  • Indian and Middle Eastern: Shiraz, Grenache. Food from these areas features earthy brown spices such as cumin, coriander, cardamom and fennel. These two red wines have a slight spicy taste that will complement and define the variety of spices commonly used.
  • Thai and Chinese. Riesling. Riesling has just a touch of sweetness and a low alcohol content. It does a good job of smoothing the harsh edges of powerful chiles while enhancing the sweeter recipes that use sweet and sour and coconut-based sauces. It’s all you need to know about what to serve with these popular Asian cuisines.

Other options to consider include Zinfandels, Pinot Gris, Pino Grigio, Rosés, Gewürztraminers, and sparkling wines and champagne.

In the store
You are confronted by store shelves bursting with fine wines from all over the world, and the pressure is on. How to know which would be perfect to serve with a plate of Arroz con polo or bowl of tom yum goong?

If you are lucky enough to live near a wine specialty shop with a knowledgeable staff, don’t hesitate to ask questions and listen to suggestions. Below are three quality choices available at the Cork Stop.

  •  Riesling Feinherb. Später-Veit is a 17-acre vineyard in the village of Piesport in Mosel, one of 13 designated wine regions in Germany. It specializes in Riesling and produces at least five varieties.
  •  Lamoreaux Landing Riesling. Closer to home, this winery has been operated by the same family for three generations on the east shore of Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York. Lamoreaux Landing also produces Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Gewürztraminer, Muscat Ottonel, Grüner Veltliner, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir,
    Merlot, sparkling wines, and ice wines.
  • Seigneur de Fontimple Vacqueyras. Vacqueyras refers to red, white and rosé wines from the parishes of Vacqueyras and Sarrians in France’s southern Rhone Valley.
  • Ponzi Pinot Gris. Ponzi Vineyards has grown Pinot Gris grapes since 1978, The winery is one of about 300 located in the 150-mile-long Willamette Valley of western Oregon, a region famous for world-class Pinot Noir.

And while you’re being creative, why not spice up the winter with a spicy food wine tasting party?

By Audrey DeSisto