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The Chronicle Express
  • Wine Spectator discovers the Finger Lakes

  • Wine Spectator magazine is featuring the Finger Lakes Wine Region in the Jan. 31- Feb. 28 issue of the glossy periodical with a closer look at some of the latest products from the area. See an interview with News4New York at the link in the story below.
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  • Wine Spectator magazine is featuring the Finger Lakes Wine Region in the Jan. 31- Feb. 28 issue of the glossy periodical with a closer look at some of the latest products from the area.
    In the magazine's first formal tasting report on the Finger Lakes, Senior Editor James Molesworth takes a deep dive into what the magazine calls "this emergent wine region."
    Molesworth talks about the Finger Lakes in the News4 New York interview.
    Molesworth focuses on the challenges that winemakers faced in the 2011 harvest and how they produced a quality vintage from a rain-soaked harvest.
    In the 12 months before writing the article, Molesworth reviewed more than 325 Finger Lakes wines in blind tastings in the magazine's New York office. Two-thirds of those wines received ratings of 85 points or higher on the magazine's 100-point scale. Of those, 28 wines earned outstanding ratings of 90 or more points. (See the alphabetical listing of the scores at www.winespectator.com/022813).
    Molesworth writes that what makes the area shine are its Rieslings, which are known as dry, crisp, taut and fresh-styled with flavors ranging from slate and lime to peach, jasmine and green apple. Other varietals deserving of praise are cool-climate wines like Pinot Noirs.
    Four wines produces in Yates County are included on Molesworth's list of the top 10 wines from the Finger Lakes, and five wines produced in Yates County are on his list of 10 top values in the Finer Lakes.
    A free alphabetical list of the Finger Lakes wines Molesworth tasted can be found at www.winespectator.com/022813.
    Wineries and wine organizations submit wines to the magazine for tasting throughout the year. Tastings are set up when a significant number of peer wines are on hand, explains Molesworth.
    As the magazine's expert on the Finger Lakes (in addition to Bordeaux and South Africa), Molesworth last visited the Finger Lakes Region in early October 2012. He tries to visit the region one to two times per year. His article introduces the region to affluent readers across the Continental U.S. who are between the ages of 35 and 50.
    The article concluded: "As the region's steadily growing ranks of winemakers gain experience, homing in on the best grapes and vineyard sites, the Finger Lakes is quickly becoming an excellent source for quality and value. It's time for serious wine consumers to take notice."
    Referring to the region as "emerging," Molesworth points to its strengths — that winemakers have narrowed down what is working for them, moving away from natives and hybrids toward vinifera, in particular aromatic whites, like the Rieslings that are becoming more widely recognized world-wide.
    Page 2 of 2 - In his more recent visits to the Finger Lakes, Molesworth says he's seeing more attention paid to the product in the vineyard, and the results are showing in the bottles of wine, but he adds "There are some (wineries) that are under-equipped." He says the area benefits from strong resources of a major university with an enology program, but the whole "middle" infrastructure — from the quality of the equipment in the winery to the supplies of bottles and corks — could be improved.
    He also recommends paying more attention to site selection for cultivating grapes. "They need to focus on where the good spots are, where the conditions are ideal for grapes, and wean away from 'all things for all people,'" he says, pointing to the Hermann J. Weimer winery in Himrod as an example where the focus has been narrowed to a few choice products.
    Finally, he says, it's just a matter of time before the entire region gets a boost from a prominent investment from an old world wine region, similar to activity that is happening in Washington State, where Tuscan and German winemakers have partnered with Chateau Ste. Michelle in the production of premium wines. "When will someone do that in the Finger Lakes?" he asks, adding that he's holding out hope others in the industry will see the relatively inexpensive land in the region and the potential here.
    Some final advice for Finger Lakes wine industry insiders is to work harder at getting wines distributed outside New York State and in New York City. He says once wine drinkers in Chicago and other major cities begin to see two to three bottles of Finger Lakes wines on restaurant wine lists, they will begin to take notice of the region.
    Wine Spectator is billed as the world's leading authority on wine. Anchored by Wine Spectator magazine, a print publication that reaches more than 3 million readers worldwide, the brand also encompasses the Web's most comprehensive wine site (WineSpectator.com), mobile platforms, and a series of signature events.
    Wine Spectator examines the world of wine from the vineyard to the table, exploring wine's role in contemporary culture and delivering expert reviews of more than 15,000 wines each year.
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