Palmer Vineyards makes good New York wines

March 17, 2014

I am constantly searching for great wine produced in New York. Recently I sampled a Sauvignon Blanc that hit most of my points of interest. Palmer Vineyards SB 2013 is top flight, reasonably priced, complements seafood and is a great summer sipper. It’s located in Aquebogue on North Fork, the eastern tip of Long Island, an American Viticultural Area since 2001. North Fork shares a characteristic of lower Delaware, since it is surrounded on three sides by bays, the sound and the ocean. Many contend this geography allows Vitis vinifera to thrive. The moderating influence of the water reduces the heat in Delaware and moderates the cold New York temperatures on Long Island. Those who wish to read all there is to know about Vitis Vinifera can go to One caveat please! You must finish the balance of the paper, ads and all, before using the link. I bribed the NSA to compromise the hard drives of any who move precipitously. (Just kidding. Admiral Rogers and Gen. Alexander, please use your drones and electronic intercepts to keep an eye on the ever political and dangerous Dennis Forney instead. His weekly Barefootin’ is written in code.)

Back to Palmer SB. Pale straw-colored, it opens to a complex bouquet of citrus, green apple, gooseberry and grapefruit accented by hints of mineral and lemon peel. On the palate, honeydew, kiwi and lemongrass ride a balanced (fruit and acidity, completely dry), medium-bodied profile through a clean, long finish. If you have your local wine store bring this in, I would suggest ordering a mixed case of Palmer wines that includes four SB 89 points; four barrel-fermented Pinot Blanc 2013, pineapple, oaky, butterscotch, 87 points; and four 2010 Reserve Chardonnay, 86 points. You should be able to get this case for less than $144 and still allow your hardworking wine store agent to earn a fair profit. This is not Aussie Palmer.

Anna Lee Iijima, who does a nice job reviewing German and Long Island wine for Wine Enthusiast, loved the Palmer 1999 Gewurztraminer. If it is still available, substitute for Chardonnay. Due to our ridiculous wine laws and rules, lobbied by certain folks who were allegedly involved in chicanery under the former lady governor’s regime, you may be forced to employ Jean Lafitte or USPS to obtain this case.

How about a decent Pinot Noir under $20? Dr. Konstantin Frank Old Vines PN 2011 shows a bouquet of roast nuts, cherry, chocolate, tobacco and clove. On the palate, blackberry, plum, apple, nuts, and loam prevail through its long, structured finish. Slightly tannic, medium body, 89 points. I’ve seen it advertised at $15.99. A good QPR up to $20.

I saw a great article on Washington state wines. I have not vetted the wine yet but trust the messenger, Greg Dal Piaz, As in all things, trust but verify.

I joined Outlet Liquors’ mail list. I was informed they are having a warm-up for St. Paddy’s Day by sampling 2 Gingers Irish Whiskey Sunday, March 16.

This could be dangerous, but I’m sure it will be fun. Nothing promotes humor and a good fistfight like a bunch of Irish mollydookers (left-handed fighters) and a bottle of whiskey. As a preview, I gathered a bunch of McDonalds, Magahas, Donaghues and Reillys and sampled a wee dram or two of 2 Gingers, 80 proof, $16 for a fifth. Amber-tinged gold, the aromas were toasted barley and a wee touch of raisin. Finishes with nut, grain and honey flavors. Ice kills any nuance. Cheap stuff and not the best example of great Irish whiskey such as Redbreast Cask, Middleton’s, Tyrconnell sherry cask finish or Middleton Barry Crockett. These are very expensive. However, it is no worse than Concannon, Killbegan or the ubiquitous Jameson, which run $25/750ml.

In closing, here’s a tidbit that is not blarney. All of the Irish whiskeys currently on the market come from just three distilleries: Midleton, Kilbeggan (formerly Cooley), and Bushmills. A recent ad for this relatively new release said “Made in Ireland and available exclusively in Minnesota.” A bit of Irish humor, no doubt. Happy St. Paddy’s Day.

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