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August 09, 2006

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I don't want to sound overly crass..But I must say, I think the WA has had its day. When I teach classes full of 20 & 30-somethings, I almost never get a question about Parker specifically. I do however, get 'score' questions quite frequently. I think much of today's wine-buying public doesn't care where the score comes from. For example, Joe/Jane Wineconsumer sees a 90/4-star shelf talker and stops to look at the wine. I doubt s/he cares if it's from Parker, Spectator or the local paper. Naturally, people want to buy a good wine - and shelf talkers 'aid' (or mislead, but that's an entirely different topic) them in their decision.

Personally, I think entirely too much cyber-ink is spilled over Parker/WA. I predict over the next 3-5 years, with the democratization of media - including wine media - consumers will be purchasing wine based on reviews from hundreds of sources; rather than just a handful of sources.

amen.

Lenn,
First- Long time no speak. I have found a few wineries in the Sunshine State that you should never review in your 50/50 column.

Second- Congrats on the bundle of grapes on the way (I am speaking of the baby). You may want to ask for samples in the 375ml format now that you have lost a tasting partner for a while.

Third- "Yes, Schildknecht's review of the region is a milestone, but it's an early milestone in the overall timeline of Long Island wine..."
How right you are. We cannot forget that the LI wine region is only 33 years old. We are zygotes when compared to the other "noble grape" producing regions. Hundreds and in most cases thousands of years of research, trial and error and dumb luck have gone into the viti/vini practices that we know today. Our great-great-great-great grandchildren will look back in retrospect at David Schildknecht's review as we look back at the articles by Lucilus Junius Moderatus Columella. Who probably used the I-C Roman point scoring system.

I do feel David has a point about riesling and chardonnay. Do not get me wrong, LI Chard has become something I crave (especially since I am now in a state without any). And who would say no to a refreshing FL riesling or decadent dessert wine, but NY is Young! NY has a great working knowledge of the varietals that have been produced for the past 30 years but that is it. Many are experimenting, with huge success, with other noble varieties and only time will tell if they can be consistent year after year.

Look at Bordeaux who after the Roman's influence, war and classification laws they are still learning by continuing to replace malbec, one of the 5 grapes allowed by law in their blends, which they have been using for hundreds of years. Pretty soon we may see a change in the Meritage Association's law governing American blends. Which grape will take its place? Only Time will tell...

- a displaced Long Islander

To Beau's point above that "entirely too much cyber-ink is spilled over Parker/WA" - well, not just cyber, but real ink as well. I wrote a letter to Decanter basically saying, "if you don't want Parker in the spotlight, STOP TALKING ABOUT HIM." You can read the letter here:
http://vineviews.grandcruclasses.com/2006/03/whining_about_p_1.html

And, I generally agree that the up and coming wine drinkers of the world, or at least the US, like scores but don't really care where they came from. But is this better or worse than following one critics scores?

I think any article on NY wines is a good thing. But I also think it is realistic to not score too many 90's yet. This is positive because it will keep the winemakers striving for beter things.

As far as Parker, he does have quite a following. You may be right about the 20 & 30 somethings, but are they his market?? Parker's main focus has always been the high end part of the market. 20 & 30 somethings can't afford Ch Latour or Hermitage. I think beau is right that WA will become less of an influence over the next five years. I stopped buying the WA, I did noyt think some of his scores matched with my palatte.I wish people would stop taking scores so literally...I like to see someone rate something 85 or above in my price range, and then I try it.

enough ranting...ed

About two weeks ago I visited Vintage New York in NYC and tasted a bunch of the better NY wines. I really wanted to like them. But no. I came away thinking that the WA ratings were too high. And, I felt the prices were too high for what you get. It was a limited sampling, so I can't really make a broad conclusion, but I was not encouraged. :(

I hope Jack looks at this and responds because I am curious about which wines he tried and what he found disappointing. Was it because of wine style,i.e. they were too acidic, they were too tannic, they weren't tannic enough, they were underripe, they were overripe? Or did he feel that there were flaws in the winemaking?
He echoes common complaints that LI winemakers hear, but always in that vague way. What specific complaints does he have, so that the wineries can determine if it is possible to make a wine that appeals to him?

Ben, I sent Jack an email asking the same thing this morning.

Sadly, Vintage NY doesn't always have the best that Long Island has to offer, so I'd hate him to base his LI experience solely on that.

Jack...more importantly...why didn't you let me know you were in the area?!?

2005 Dr. Konstantin Frank Dry Riesling Finger Lakes $18 Pretty dry. 1—2
2004 Hermann J. Wiemer Riesling Finger Lakes $22 Very German-like. 1—2+

2004 Schneider Cabernet Franc Le Breton Long Island $27. Smooth. 2+?
2003 Schneider Cabernet Franc Roanoke Vineyard Long Island $40. Hmm? 1-3?
2002 Paumanok Assemblage Long Island $43. 2-3

(The numbers at the end are my Bottles Desired score. Less than 3 means I won't seek the wine out.)

I was most disappointed with the two whites; having forever read how great these NY rieslings are. They're not bad values, but there's quite a lot of better white wines for the money.

As for the reds, the two Cab Francs didn't say Cab Franc to me, and the Loire reds I buy are superior. Perhaps summing it up, this small(!) sampling of wines lacked some personality and complexity.

Many of NY's Hudson Valley Wineries don't receive large recognition because they are mostly small family owned operations. But there are gems waiting to be found by those willing to visit and taste!

Vinuous regards,

Jonathan Hull
Applewood Winery
http://www.applewoodwinery.com

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