Saturday, November 06, 2010
Lenn Thompson Writes a Very Important Article in Vineyard & Winery Management October 2010 Issue
Lenn Thompson is one of the most important voices in East Coast winemaking today. His New York Cork Report has set the standard for region wine coverage on the internet. he has done something few have - set yup a successful wine magazine online. We don't always agree on things, but that never stops me from listening to what he has to say. Lenn's voice is an important one, and for those who choose at least not to listen, they are the ones who are missing out. Lenn is as passionate about wine as he his about his beloved Pittsburgh Steelers and his wife and child.
All the more important why you should read Lenn's new piece, "Imitation Isn't Always Flattering" in the October 2010 issue of Vineyard & Winery Management.
The piece is about how many American wineries, especially those on the East Coast, compare their wines to other wine regions - especially France and California, and how this is a trap. You can tell people all you want that your wine tastes like something from Burgundy, Bordeaux, or Liore Valley, but in the end, what East Coast vintners really should follow the advice of David Page of Shinn Estate, "Winemakers need to focus their attention on making wines that resonate the place where they are grown." I couldn't agree more.
East Coast wineries biggest schtick is to say hey, we're alot like them. It's a cheap point of reference. And it telegraphs to consumers, "Hey, we're not Hertz, we're the other guy. We're second best." Instead, we should be saying, hey, this is Maryland Terroir! Virginia Terrior! New York Terroir! And there ain't nothing else like it! And you can only get it here! I'll never forget when I had my first Catoctin Chardonnay or my first Jefferson Viognier or my first White Springs Estate Gewurztraminer, the first sip I had of Heart & Hands or Oa Summit Pinot Noir, or my first Sakonnet Fume Vidal. It's unique, and you can't find it anywhere else! Sell that!
Thompson writes, "Virginia viognier tastes like Virginia viognier. It's distinctive and delicious, and Virginia vinters should be proud of that." Here! Here! And coincidentally, I agree with Lenn, avoid oaked Virginia viognier. The stainless steel barrel Virginia Viogniers are some of my favorite whites in the world, along with New York state Gewurztraminers.
Now, I don't want to inflate Lenn's ego, anymore than I have to, but I really don't think there's been better advice from a wine writer to winemakers, since Frank Schoonmaker told Robert Mondavi to sell his wine using the varietal names instead of their corny French counterparts. Schoonmaker urged American Vinters to make "American wines" in his famous article, "American Names for American Wines." Now, much as I love Lenn, I'm not sure he's the next coming of Mr. Schoonmaker, who was one of the most influential and greatest of the wine writers of the 20th century, but I cannot stress how srongly, I think Mr. Thompson's clarion call should be heeded.
Great job Lenn, great job!.....but p.s. please lose the photo that was in the magazine with the hat! Looks like Rob Dyrdek drinking wine. The better one is up top.