The New York Times Magazine profiles Enologix (free subscription required), the company that analyzes wines-in-process to help winemakers deliver a wine that scores 100 points on the Wine Spectator or Wine Advocate rating scale.
Living in Sonoma County (and enjoying our locally-grown wines), it was hard to read this quote from Enologix founder, Leo McCloskey:
If you're in Sonoma, you have to rearrange Mother Nature to match the beauty of Napa and Bordeaux,'' he said. ''Napa cabernet is the only New World wine ruler that's being used internationally. Sonoma is an also-ran.
It's a little ironic, since Enologix is based in Sonoma (city and county). Also interesting are the names of some clients: Beaulieu, Benziger, Diamond Creek, Merry Edwards, Niebaum-Coppola, Ridge, St. Francis and Sebastiani.
But given that distributors, retailers, and consumers rely heavily on ratings, a 90+ score makes a real difference to a winery's bottom line. It's wine-as-art vs. wine-as-business.
(Update - upon reading the quote a little more carefully, I can see that McCloskey appears to be saying "Sonoma Cabernet is an also-ran. That may or may not be true, and I know that I'm not expert enough to comment on it. Still, whatever happened to just taking pleasure in what a wine has to offer?)