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January 17, 2012

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I look forward to reading the results in Feb. Somehow the Standing Stone riesling has made it to the Pittsburgh area. I'll pick some up and try it.

I'd love to try some of the nominees from outside the Finger Lakes, but unfortunately, almost nothing from NY outside of the Finger Lakes makes it to the Pittsburgh area. And it's not like a lot of FLX wines turn up either.

Looks like the Long Island region was a little more hand picked.......not sure why as the Finger Lakes has the greatest concentration of wineries in the state.

Nothing from the Lake Erie area? Sad.

Dana: I share your frustration with lack of NY wines in Pittsburgh, but I'm actually involved in a small effort to work on getting at least a few more in...stay tuned.

Brian: I'm not sure what you mean by "more hand picked" but I'd love to hear more. Not sure that sheer number of wineries has anything to do with it though.

Art: I've tried for years to either find someone in Erie-Chautauqua or get my hands on wines from that part of New York. I've had next to no luck with those ideas. If you have any suggestions, I'm all ears.

Tough question. When I find myself in the area - only twice in the last three years after a hiatus of about a decade, I try to schedule a day of visits to the wineries. When I said "sad," I was thinking that the wines I tasted last summer and two summers before weren't as good as I remembered from ten years earlier. All I can think of is send a letter to the wineries and see who responds.

I think you did a great job on the Long Island section with the groupings and the selections. Almost every memorable wine I had is on the list. I guess for diversity sake I could quibble and would have liked either Bedell or Lenz's great gwertraminers, perhaps a red from Macari (merlot or Bergen Rd if they were qualified), or maybe even Mattabella Old World (if qualified), but then again, what to take off?

Art - A couple of years ago, I attended a tasting arranged by producers in that region. It was extremely educational and we selected a range of wines for our WOTY tasting. I also wrote an extended piece about the region's development. Unfortunately, I was later informed that my constructive critique (it was not a hit piece at all) made NYCR personae non grata in some of the wineries. That's their decision, if it's true, and we're always happy to taste wines from all parts of NY state.

Evan,

I noticed that this year, the white FLX nominees only include the riesling category. The separate category still makes sense to me, but I was wondering about the rationale of eliminating the "Non-Riesling White" category. Last year, I rather enjoyed the attention the category paid to the less-heralded whites of the FLX. Is this year's omission of non-riesling whites a comment upon their quality relative to the previous vintage? Or was some other thought process at work?
As always, interesting picks--particularly with the absence of cab franc from the red list. Your picks strike me as further evidence that it remains far too early to determine which red varietals have the most potential for the region.

Ryan - Astute observations as usual. I'll start with the reds... Next week I'll have a piece explaining the choices, and you've nailed it: it's a statement on diversity. The outstanding 2010 vintage is largely unreleased, so most of the reds hitting the market in 2011 were from what are generally considered lesser vintages. (That's not true for all varieties and all sites, but I think you know what I mean.) To me, this presented the ideal opportunity to lay out the regional exploration of red varieties. Each selection on this list is different. It was tough to exclude Cab Franc this year, but I have no doubt it will return next year. This list demonstrates that open-minded winemakers and hard-working growers are doing impressive things with a range of cool climate-dominant varieties. Teroldego!

Regarding whites, Lenn and I are adamant about not forcing a list for the sake of having one. That does not mean that there aren't high-quality non-Riesling whites released in 2011. However, most releases came from 2010, and many winemakers reported challenges keeping natural acidity and sugar in balance in flagship varieties like Gewürztraminer. On top of that, I confess to having wanted to taste more widely than I did in this category.

Steve: Funny you should mention those two wines -- they were two of my last cuts when I was paring down the list. A third gewurztraminer -- Anthony Nappa's Spezia -- also nearly made the list.

Fact is, there are always deserving wines that end up not making it because there are so many great wines in New York.

I like what Evan has done this year as well and it's important to remind everyone that our WoTY program is an ever-evolving endeavor. Categories and the like are fluid.

Surprising no pure Cab Franc's from Long Island (or Finger Lakes) are on this list.

Steve - I'm guessing it's a function of released vintages in 2011, and will be a rare occasion.

Steve: Evan is absolutely right. There were some cab francs on the short list, but ultimately, I thought the blends stood out most from the non-merlots released in 2011. You may never see a syrah or cabernet sauvignon on the list again -- at least until the 2010s are released.

As you well know, I'm a franc fanatic.

You should post your honorable mentions at some point.

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