What to do with a leftover cork
After you've pulled the cork out of the wine you enjoyed with dinner, do you throw it away?
If you're like me and a lot of my wine-loving friends, you probably feel just a little funny about this. For all their faults (as discussed in our Nov. 1 edition), there's something comforting about the cork. Its natural quality and simplicity seem reassuring, and it's just the right size to roll in your hand while the wine waiter goes through his ritual. And when it's imprinted with the winery name or logo, it can be an instant souvenir of a memorable occasion.
So, no, I don't throw away my wine corks, and I'll bet you don't, either. I toss mine into a plastic grocery bag that hangs on a nail, and from time to time I think about making something out of them.
The last time I actually did that was almost a decade ago, but the result still gets daily use in our household: Our wine-cork bulletin board (pictured above) not only holds telephone numbers and notes, it's a permanent reminder of some of the wines we enjoyed during the '80s; and I didn't have to be Martha Stewart to make it.
From a local home-supply store, I purchased a 16-by-24-inch sheet of particle board, an 8-foot length of 3/4-inch wood molding, and a large bottle of carpenter's wood glue. In the only difficult part of the process, I sawed the molding at 45-degree angles (as in the upper-right corner of the photo) and made a frame, which I glued to the board. Then it was just a matter of choosing corks of similar size and glueing them into the frame in alternating directions, as shown. I used carpenter's glue for this purpose because it's relatively slow to set, allowing plenty of time for corrections, but makes a tough and permanent seal after about 12 hours' drying time.
With a piece of wire nailed on the back for a hanger, the job was done ... and one of these days I'll take the thousands of corks I've been saving and make a few more bulletin boards as gifts.
What's your favorite use for a wine cork? Cat toys? Holiday wreaths? Send me E-mail at email@example.com. I regret that the growing circulation of the "Wine Advisor" makes it difficult for me to reply individually to every note, but I'll answer as many as I can; and please be assured that all your input helps me do a better job of writing about wine. Please feel free to get in touch if you'd like to comment on our topics and tasting notes, suggest a topic for a future bulletin, or just talk about wine.
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A Classical Chianti
Actually it's a Chianti Classico, but the principle is the same. In Chianti, as in many of the legally defined Italian wine regions, the vineyards that lie in the central portion - in this case, north of Siena and south of Florence in Tuscany - are believed to produce the most traditional examples of the wine of the country and thus add the adjective "Classico" to the regional name. It's a clear, dark ruby in color, with ripe black-cherry and spicy oak aromas, "classic" Chianti indeed. Full, fresh tart-cherry fruit flavors are framed with soft tannins and tart, lemony acidity. Black fruit and zingy acidity persist in a long finish. Clean and fresh, enjoyable now, but this is one Chianti that will reward time in the cellar. U.S. importer: F.W.I., Rutherford, N.J. (Nov. 26, 1999)
FOOD MATCH: Good match with an autumnal dinner of duck sausage with fennel tossed with brussels sprouts in a little butter.
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Vol. 1, No. 45, Nov. 29, 1999