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September 08, 2009

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I had a chance to try the Dr. Frank's--it was amazing.

There are a handful of wineries making some unique products such as these and I'm excited about them. I wish they were slightly cheaper but I understand it's a lot of labor and in limited supply.

Trivia: back when Scott Harvey made a Sonoma TBA Riesling for Santino in the 80's, he had to convince the authorities that "TBA" stood for "Totally Botrytis Affected" before they'd give the label a pass. Times have clearly changed..

Joel - Great story! You'll note, of course, that TBA doesn't appear on the label in this case; it's just used colloquially. But I suppose even getting the term "trockenbeeren" is a step forward...

Jason - Translation: "I wish I had more money to spend on wine." Me too, man, me too...

Seriously, the subject of price has been a hot topic on this blog for months. In plenty of cases I think prices are too high. In this case, having seen the massive amount of labor and resources to produce a relatively small amount of wine, I understand the reasoning.

I wouldn't necessarily say "I wish I had more money to spend on wine" versus "I hope wines are always priced in a way that is reasonable and obtainable."

I think the subtle difference is that the latter statement reflects my desire to spend just enough money to obtain the quality range I seek. I don't want to overspend for mediocre or even good wines. Excellent wines should be priced in a way that allows for a careful choice, not an outright sacrifice.

I do believe that the market will usually bear this out, however. I've seen some anecdotes about French and California prices coming down precipitously, and I don't think it's just the economy so much as prices skyrocketed over the past few years.

In the case of these wines, maybe they're at the right price point and maybe they're not, but I do agree that they should be priced to reflect their craftmanship.

It will be very interesting to see how these wines sell at those prices -- in the Finger Lakes.

I occasionally hear, when Finger Lakes folks talk about Long Island wine prices "People up here just won't pay those prices people pay down there."

Now I guess we'll see, as Jason says, what the market will bear.

Two things to keep in mind here...

First, similar style/quality wines from Germany actually cost much more than $100 per bottle (talking about the riesling TBA here).

Second, when the CFO of LENNDEVOURS Enterprises (that'd be Nena) tasted these wines over the winter, she said we're buying some upon release.

Evan, The Pinot Gris BA will be our Anniversary Wine to celebrate the 20 year anniversary of the opening of the ARWC tasting room, With this in mind we will most likely release that wine in 2010.

Peter - I blame your head winemaker for getting it wrong! ;)

Being someone who has helped sort grape by grape for a TBA Riesling in 2008, I can tell you that the contents in those bottles are priceless.

Botrytis sort of pokes holes in the grape skin and dries out the berries. The tight clusters of riesling and vignoles contribute to Botrytis infection, and the right amount of moisture is essential. Too much botrytis and your grapes are gone, but with just the right conditions, you've got something magical. Kudos to Johannes for recognizing this potential.

The sour, "vinegarized" grapes are likely infected with acetic acid bacteria, something that would just LOVE to get in and multiply in a slow fermentation (39 Brix puts an awful lot of osmotic stress on yeast). I'm sure JR is right when he says that one sour berry could spoil the batch.

I tasted some of this wine from the tank (they were pouring it for FREE?!?!?!) and it was remarkable. If you can't part with a Benjamin, the "Berry Selection" was really great, too.

I think the subtle difference is that the latter statement reflects my desire to spend just enough money to obtain the quality range I seek. I don't want to overspend for mediocre or even good wines. Excellent wines should be priced in a way that allows for a careful choice, not an outright sacrifice.

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