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January 22, 2009

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I was musing a bit about the gewurtztraminer scores. Hardly worth a post on its own, but here are my thoughts:

I simply think it's much "safer" to break out of the 89 ceiling with gewurtztraminer rather than riesling. It seems that gewurtz is produced in few places in the U.S. and is hardly produced in mass quantities. In addition, it does not completely define the Finger Lakes as a region. The wine is still very much a small production speciality product.

The wines deserve the score, of course, but more importantly these scores don't threaten the greater editorial balance of the FL being a "second-tier" region. The staple wine of the FL, riesling, is still very much stuck in the sub-90 range because that wine both defines the region and is available in abundance from places like Washington.

It all sounds a bit conspiratorial, but it also fits the pattern. I find it hard to believe that dozens of sampled rieslings crowd into the 88-89 range with no standouts, but out of only a handful of sampled gewurtztraminers a few are annointed as slightly better than the others. In the latter case, it just makes sense. In the former, one can only wonder why at least a few rieslings cannot be seen as standouts amidst a very successful group.

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