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As much rose and white wine as I’ve been enjoying all summer long, the last several weeks – quite sticky/warm ones, we all agree – I’ve dipped my toe in the red pond more and more. I’ve found a renewed affection for Nebbiolo in particular (La Kiuva, Devorville, etc.), a light-skinned Italian red grape with an I-can’t-stop-smelling-it rusticity and a bout of structure that makes it a grill-lovers dream. I’ve also had a blast revisiting the big, bold reds of Washington State, and dabbled in Pinot Noir from the worlds most prized area, Burgundy, as well as Oregon and California.
When you go out to eat, do not be surprised if you have to ask for an ice bucket to chill your red down to actual “room” temperature. If you get a dirty look, throw one back. Sadly few restaurants have enough foresight (or the facilities?) to ensure red wines are served at the optimal temperature. (Sometimes you may even see the wine bottles high up on shelves or racks behind the bar – where hot lights are adding a little extra not-so-welcome ‘magic’ to the wine.) At home, all you need is 30 minutes of fridge time; so when you walk through your front door after work, grab your bottle of choice and stick it in the fridge. Then putter around, opening mail, letting the dog out, putting away your CVS purchases, etc. 30 minutes will be gone in a second, and your wine experience will be delightfully happier for it.
I’m going to break with tradition today and start from the bottom up (i.e. with my question of the day): What do you do with your corks?
I started out with a drawer, moved on to a fish bowl, supplemented with a giant, glass brandy snifter and – as of this weekend – have upgraded to a serious, 18″ high, glass mason jar. When I started saving my corks several years ago, I saved them because I wanted to remember certain bottles of wine I quite enjoyed. Then it became a habit and all corks became part of my collection. Then when I was on the wine trail out west, my brother and I started asking for corks at the various wineries we visited. Once we even found a bag of them hidden somewhere and he proceeded to take handfuls of them off their hands and stuff them into my decent sized hand bag. That’s when I knew I had crossed over.
Now that I’m in the industry professionally, I have the idea that I’ll soon be equipped to make cool things with my corks. I have need for new trivets, for example. I also could use a 3″ x 4″ door mat, a message board, a serving tray, some coasters…. the list could go on endlessly. My challenge is two fold, however. First, I lack the creative genes my nieces are so lucky to have. When it comes to arts & crafts, I’m not at all endowed; (I even struggle with food presentation, which is a talent I really wish I had given my passion for food/entertaining). Second, I’m not yet at the point where I have enough corks (frighteningly) to make more than one item. A girl can only drink so much!
Peering around on-line here and there overtime, I’ve bookmarked some pretty cool cork art/stuff. Check out Fistera Studio to see how they managed the rug. Or pay a visit to Gabriel Wiese’s website to see what he’s managed! Furniture… who knew? The possibilities truly are endless for the creatively enabled. The only item I’ve ever managed was a cork wreath for my brother (same one referenced above), and it now hangs in his home wine cellar (I appreciate his priorities!). I wish I had a picture. That wreath is probably a foot in diameter and took me about 5 hours to put together using wire (wrapped around each cork) and two needlepoint hoops. My fingers were fairly raw afterwards from working the wire.
I’m not sure why I’m so happily obsessed with my corks. Perhaps it is because they are a dying tradition? Perhaps it is because they each have a story? I’m not going to over-think it, as I’m apt to do being a Virgo and all. Suffice to say, if you’re in the Boston area and know of some cool places I can go to pick up a cork item or two, I’d appreciate your comments!