Friday, February 13, 2009

Forget 89 points--how about unrated wines?

This blog is about finding wines that are good, even great, that didn't score so well with the mainstream critics. How about a wine that's never been scored at all? When I was in Washington this summer visiting my parents in Walla Walla, I stopped in to visit a few wineries along the way. One of those was Hedges in the Red Mountain AVA, Washington's hot new AVA that's producing some of the best wines in the state. But Pete, Hedges' winemaker, said they don't go in for those blockbuster wines. They want to make wines that work with food and reflect the Red Mountain terroir. A few years ago, they made the decision to stop sending their wines in for scoring.

As a writer I'm always on the lookout for ideas, and a seed of an idea was planted here. I went home and pitched the story to Portfolio, and it published today. At first I wondered if I could find other wineries that, like Hedges, had made the decision not to submit their wines for scoring. It turns out I had more sources than I could use, and plenty of stunning wines to choose from for the sidebar.

The reasons aren't what you might think, like the wines are bad and the winemakers were afraid of a low score. Instead, many winemakers don't submit on principle, or else as a deliberate business decision. Read the story to find out more.

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