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December 01, 2009


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Won't the screwcap on the Paumanok Chenin Blanc "unblind" them?? Sorry I can't be there to help out...

Nice lineup. I wish there was better nationwide distribution of many of the New York wines. I can usually find one or two wines in even large stores in Atlanta.

Joe - In the Finger Lakes, they're getting much more aggressive about distribution. In fact, two of the top FLX wineries (Wiemer and Ravines) believe very strongly in a model that includes wide distribution. Too many wineries try to exist solely out of tasting room sales. That won't last forever. But the trickle of distribution is still a slow process and a steep hill.

Can't wait to see the winner. to be honest, I've never reviewed a NY wine. Us left coasters tend to be drowning in CA, WA, and OR. Will you be posting the prices when we see the winners?

Josh @nectarwine

Josh - Yes we will. We'll try to include information on where the "winning" wine(s) can be found, whether they're still available, and how much they'll cost. Some of these wines are standard releases; others are high-end, limited bottlings. But we'll provide as much info as we can for people who are interested. Cheers and thanks for stopping in.

Any plan to pick the best overall winery of the year?

Evan - good for you guys for undertaking this endeavor. Blind tastings to find the "best" wine is always a challenge but also incredibly useful. I just hope you have a hunk of sausage or maybe some warm gougeres to fight back the dreaded acid attack!
Happy to say that Ravines is now available in Mass and CT as well as NY, NJ and PA. It has been good fun showing the wines in CT and Mass and watching retailers and restaurant folks eyes roll back in their heads when you tell them that the wines are from the Finger Lakes.



Thanks for the comment. First, I'm thrilled that Ravines is in PA...so now I can tell my parents to get some. To this point, they've only been able to find Dr. Frank's wines in their local state store.

As for the tasting and this project, we're shying away from the word "best" as much as we can with it. "Best" seems so absolute and final...and we know very little is final or absolute when it comes to wine.

That said, we are confident that this process will result in us finding wines that we deem worth of "Wine of the Year" status on our site, which is the goal.

Thanks for reading.

On behalf of the 21 wineries of the Chautauqua-Lake Erie Wine Trail, please consider this your formal invitation to come and taste wines in western NY and PA! We'd be happy to arrange a formal tasting for you as soon as practical. We would understand if you might prefer to do this "incognito, but are sure that with whichever method you choose, that you will find some wines that are outstanding.

Jennifer S. Johnson

WOW...a load of Cabernet Franc there.

You know what would be nice is if you could name the best Cab Franc from all 4 regions, the best Merlot from all 4...etc...etc. Drink for thought for next year.

I find it interesting that Long Island White is Blanc heavy, FLX is Riesling, and Niagara is Chard Heavy.

Also, would love to see the Desert Wine portion expanded. I have grown to like desert wines and I have had a few, but none listed here. I know that there are more vineyards and wineries attempting this...so hopefully it will grow, just as my liking to desert wine has.

Lastly...and I have to get back to work now....but this would be cool..Is there a way of having a pick em tourney to see who wins. ;)

Great job guys...wish I could be a fruit fly on the wall that day...honestly!

Jennifer - I might more realistically have an opportunity to come visit and taste, as I not only live in Rochester, but have some family in Jamestown / Chautauqua. I appreciate the offer and I can promise you that either I will be there myself or someone from the staff will. Thanks!

Mike -

I think the breakdowns make sense for the reds. In the Finger Lakes, Cabernet Franc has shown serious promise under the right conditions. However, there is a small but passionate wave of Pinot Noir producers showing some impressive things, and we're discovering that Blaufrankisch might end up as the strongest red vinifera variety of all.

Cheers - we invited SI's Sportsman of the Year Derek Jeter to join us, but ultimately he only drinks Latour. Guess I should have figured, what with the Yankee budget and all.

Steve: We will not be picking "winery of the year" for the regions or for the state as a whole. Until we can come up with what we think is a good way to choose such wineries, we will avoid it. That doesn't mean we won't at some point though.

Jennifer: I just sent you an email, but yes, we'd love to expand our coverage into your region, so plan for at least one of us to get to you in the new year. I have family in the region as well.

Michael: We have at least 11 months to consider our categories for next year. I think this will be a great education for us as we step through the rest of the process. We'll learn from it and improve it for next year.

Lenn - Regarding Ravines wine in PA - don't send your parents running out to the store too quickly. I just checked the PLCB web site. At the moment, there is a nice list of Ravines wines, but only as SLO with a minimum order of a case. Hopefully some of the premium stores will bring some in.

Regarding other FLX wines in PA, I've seen two Red Newt whites in the premium stores in the Pittsburgh area - mostly their new Circle riesling.

Evan...too funny :)

If DJ was there, I would want to REALLY be a fruit fly on the bottle.

I could not help but notice that a number of the nominees from Long Island are aged wines. While the wines from the other regions are fairly new wines. From my prospective here in the Finger Lakes we have some very nice aged wines with the expert reviews to support that notion. Maybe in the future your editors will wander off the new wine trails upstate and include more aged wines from the other regions as well. It might make things a bit more interesting in the same way it will be interesting when the Long Island winners are annouced.

Steve - A very good and important point. Sometime shortly after the new year I'd like to spend some time with you and chat about the importance of older wines. Your portfolio is far different than most, and I mean that as a compliment. I've lauded the '03 Cab Sauv on this site in the past, which is just hitting stride now.

Until wineries in NY offer more aged wines, the perception won't change. That perception holds that NY wines are "drink now" wines, only showing minimal ageability at best. In one sense, it's hard to fault folks for assuming this - because most wineries don't offer anything but brand new releases. The message, even unspoken, is that consumers SHOULD drink wines now.

I wonder if Shaw and Lenz will come to be viewed in a similar light; that is, adherence to aging wines before release and educating consumers on the value of laying bottles down. Keep up the efforts, Steve - and I look forward to writing more about this issue soon.

Just let me know who gets the most bronzes.

What is the Hudson Valley in New Jersey now?

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