Put A Cork In It

Two of my favorite ways to recap my year and think about New Years Resolutions involve the AmEx bill and wine corks. At the end of the year, AmEx thoughtfully breaks down all your card charges and one can look through the bill and see how the year was (literally) spent. It’s not going to be very interesting this year.

The other started as an accident, with a small pile of corks after a dinner party, then I began saving corks from every bottle of wine that I drank from, and at the beginning of a new year, I bought a new vessel to display the corks.

This is the first year, and it’s full of Washington and Oregon wines. 2006 was the year I discovered Pinot Noir, and my heart will always belong to Domaine Drouhin and the beautiful wines Veronique Drouhin crafts in the Willamette Valley. Some of the corks have writing on them, indicating a particularly special event, some one’s birthday party, or the First of Summer Bonfire.
2007 is stratified like the grand canyon. At the beginning of the year there are Gruet corks, from a fantastic sparkling producer in, of all places, New Mexico, and then a broad band in the middle of Italian wines, from a 2-week exploration of Calabria and Sicily, and the summer region is full of Alois Legeder, who makes deliciously drinkable whites that are perfectly matched to lazy summer afternoons . At the top are more bubbles- prosecco, cava, champagne, from a series of holiday parties.

And this little guy holds 2008. Less over all, but more whites this year, and more bubbles. Sometime around April, I began drinking bubbles almost exclusively. I unconsciously decided that it was time to celebrate the little things, and then realized how well bubbles go with… well, everything. If you are worried about a wine and food pairing, leave the Pinot and the Chard in the cabinet and pull out the bubbles- asian food, Indian food, French or Italian, I even drank bubbles with a hamburger and fries at Taylor’s Automatic Refresher in St Helena, California and wasn’t disappointed. And my advice? Pass up the champagne and reach for the prosecco or cava.
Every cork tells the story of a meal with friends and family, and that’s always a good thing to remember. My New Year’s Resolution? To make sure to eat with more people that I love and that my 2009 cork jar overflow.
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