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July 21, 2009


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These comments do not surprise me, and as you know similar sentiments have been expressed about Finger Lakes rieslings and other varietals.

It all comes down to matters of perception and marketability, however, and I'm beginning to formulate a bit of an ecnomic theory about how wine is valued. Double-blind tastings might satisfy a statistically insigficant body of wine nerds, but such considerations do not a business make.

While it's always nice to hear positive things about Long Island wines, keeping things in perspective, as you suggest, is indeed very important. First, consider the source: Appellation America is a group of essentially amateur wine lovers who like to scribble a bit. They hardly make up a trustworthy or credible body of qualified and educated wine enthusiasts. Few are season wine writers and I would venture to guess that even fewer have ever ventured onto Long Island's North Fork or Sagaponack, so their opinions and awards are not based on any comprehensive tasting or study of Long Island Merlots, which range from the sublime to the flabby and forgettable. Plus, unfair as it may be, a majority of the wine writing hoi polloi don't take the varietal all that seriously in the first place and wouldn't be caught dead drinking "any f**king Merlot."

Lenn - thanks for posting this. We happen to think this tasting was quite important as it was one of the first organized tasting events of Long Island wines conducted in California. This concept was put forward by the Long Island Merlot Alliance and was open to all producers on L.I. I'm confident it would have been an even stronger showing had there been more entries.

Ron, with all due respect, I disagree with your comments and I think its time to watch another movie.
In the words of the famous wine critic John Cleese, most of the wine-writing "hoi polloi" you describe "wouldn't know the difference between Bordeaux and Claret." ;-)


Applause for your comments. And thanks for the compliments regarding Paumanok's Merlot.

I went to the web site and I caught the following sentence:
"Appellation America is an online publication that provides a comprehensive source of information on North American wines and wineries; third-party evaluation of wines, through its unique Best-of-Appellation program;..." How can they call this "Best of Appellation program" when they clearly have not reached out to understand the Appellations they are reviewing and not reaching out to most of their producers? It seems more like, as Rich stated, that they responded to an initiative from LIMA. That contradicts a bit their proclaimed desire to be a "comprehensive source". How "comprehensive" can it be when they do not include more than 75% of the Merlot producers?

Yet Rich states that this was open to all. If so I must not have read some significant mail, or my memory is worse even than I think it is.

Either way this is yet another validation that our merlots are quite good. Many of your fellow bloggers said so. The proof is in the sales though and I do not think any LI winery is hoarding wine.

The Wine Advocate also rated many Merlots including ours as high as 92. And they are not known to have a LI bias.

As to blind tastings, we had a very successful one in 2005 where LI wines came ahead of several great Bordeaux and CA wines. It is well documented for any one who wishes to read about it. We will be happy to host another based on a similar format.


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