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James Molesworth Praises Rooster Hill

Rooster Hill Vineyards had a special visitor last week ­ James Molesworth, one of the wine world¹s most respected critics.Molesworth, a senior editor for Wine Spectator magazine, stopped by the Penn Yan winery on Nov. 18. He spent time there touring the vineyards and thewine cellar, tasting wines from barrels and tanks, and trying to assess the winery¹s 2009 harvest, said co-owner Amy Hoffman. ³At Rooster Hill, Amy, Barry and the team aim high,² Molesworth said in a post that same day on Twitter. ³Low yields. Vinifera. And they prove it canwork in the FLX.² Barry Tortolon is the winemaker at Rooster Hill.Molesworth¹s visit and high praise came just five days after he and Wine Spectator gave a rating of 87 to Rooster Hill¹s 2008 Chardonnay. In his tasting notes, he said of the wine: ³This is stylish, with fig and pearfruit shaded nicely by a moderate toasty edge. Nicely done.³I was pleasantly surprised that our Chardonnay scored as well as it did because it had been bottled much later in the year than in past vintages,²Tortolon said. ³However, it has come together nicely and has been receiving some positive feedback from tasting room patrons.²Tortolon added: ³I enjoyed James Molesworth¹s visit and learned a great deal as to how our wines are judged against worldwide benchmarks, as hisscores are not given lightly. Despite this year’s growing season, I’m hopeful that Mr. Molesworth came away with the impression that there will still be some exciting wines to be found in the Finger Lakes region for the 2009 season.²In addition to the Finger Lakes region, Molesworth¹s ³tasting beat² includes Argentina, Chile, the Loire Valley and Rhone Valley, and South Africa. Hehas been with Wine Spectator since 1997 and a senior editor since 2004.Hoffman said Molesworth contacted her about a month ago and said he would like to visit Rooster Hill. ³It was an honor to have someone of his caliber in the wine world pay us a personal visit,² Hoffman said. ³His goal was to meet the people behind thewine and see for himself that we are doing what we say we are doing. He is not going to buy into smoke and mirrors, which I like. We have always hadthe philosophy that we will earn our way into the spotlight. No fancy gimmicks; let the scores and ratings speak for themselves.²Over the past few years, Hoffman said, Molesworth has acknowledged being ³very hard² in evaluating Rooster Hill wines. During this month¹s visit toRooster Hill, she said, ³he was very easygoing, pleasant and approachable, which made the visit more fun and relaxed for everyone. I expect he willcontinue to put our wines through tough critiques, so future scores will have real meaning.²Along with Rooster Hill, Molesworth visited several other Finger Lakes wineries during a two-day stay in the region last week.Rooster Hill Vineyards is at 489 Route 54. The last day of Rooster Hill¹s tasting season will be Saturday, Dec. 19, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Until then,the winery will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. The winery¹s tasting room will reopen in April for the 2010 season.

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