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Palmer Vineyards
Terry Sullivan

Palmer VineyardsSummary: Palmer Vineyards in Long Island's North Fork wine region offers gentle wine education as soon as you enter the building. A large portfolio of estate wines awaits wine enthusiasts in the tasting room decorated with antiques from England.

We exited our car and headed to the front door of the winery. Upon entering, we saw artifacts hanging on the walls. One can observe daily activities by looking through windows into the tank room, barrel room and bottling line area. Signs posted along the hall explain winemaking procedures such as fermentation, cooperage and bottling. Signs also lead to the tasting room, in another building. People can spend as much or as little time on this self-guided tour of the winery.


Palmer Vineyards     Palmer Vineyards

Palmer VineyardsPalmer VineyardsAcross the grassy area, a brick pathway leads to the tasting room. Inside, an old bar from England adds a touch of old world atmosphere to the environment. Old tavern sitting areas add to the charm. After introductions, we were led back to the winery to speak with Miguel Martin, winemaker.

Miguel spoke of his wine journey that began in Spain when he was young. He recalled how much his father liked wine and had a glass of wine for lunch and dinner. His father always had wine with food, and Miguel stated that he considers wine a food rather than an ingredient. In 2012, Miguel celebrated his 27th year as a winemaker. Miguel learned about winemaking in Australia, Chile, California, Spain and now New York. While in California, Miguel worked at the Robert Mondavi Winery.

Miguel now has spent several years at Palmer Vineyards. We learned that Palmer Vineyards began in 1983 by Bob Palmer who was passionate about the wine industry. Bob put his background in advertising to good use, helping to launch the Palmer brand. Miguel mentioned that he has the freedom to plant grape varieties that he thinks will do well on this property.

Palmer VineyardsVineyards

Vineyards gently slope up the landscape next to the winery and tasting room to a line of buffering trees. Beyond the trees lies Long Island Sound. One hundred acres of grapes are under vine. White varieties include Albariño, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Malvasia Bianco, Muscat Cannelli, Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Viognier. Vineyards are planted with the red varietal grapes Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Syrah.

All the wines produced by Palmer Vineyards use the grapes grown on the estate. Palmer Vineyards also sells grapes to other wineries and home winemakers. As much as possible, the vineyards are organically farmed. Miguel mentioned the use of horse manure rather than chemical fertilizer to provide nutrients to the grapes as well as cover crops. Minimal use of sprays are used to control diseases and insects. Birds are a nuisance and require covering the vineyard rows with nets. The birds do have their favorites, the Malvasia Bianco and Muscat Cannelli need additional netting to keep the grapes safe.

Palmer VineyardsWines

While in the winery, we tasted a few 2012 wines in tanks. The Sauvignon Blanc was citrusy with hints of tropical fruits. The finish was crisp and refreshing. The Pinot Blanc had pear and citrus aromas and tastes. The Albariño with a floral aroma also had peach on the taste. From the winery, we walked to the tasting room to taste some of the finished wines.

Palmer VineyardsThe 2009 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay was a yellow color. There were apples and pears on the aroma and taste. The crisp finish had a hint of caramel. The 2011 Sauvignon Blanc was a light straw color. There was grapefruit on the aroma and taste. The wine reminds one of a tropical beach. This wine makes a perfect match with local seafood. The 2011 Albariño was a light yellow color and had a floral and peach aroma. The taste was yellow stone fruit and gardenia. The crisp finish of the wine makes this a perfect match for oysters. A surprising white was the 2011 Aromatico. The straw colored wine was an aptly named blend of Malvasia Bianco and Muscat Cannelli. There were honeysuckle and orange blossoms on the aroma with a peach taste. The wine had a long aftertaste. Pair with cheese.

The 2008 Merlot was a dark ruby color. The wine was aged for two and a half years in French and Hungarian oak. Cherries and plums were on the aroma and taste. There was also a hint of cedar on the taste. Bold tannins were on the finish. The 2009 Cabernet Franc was a dark ruby color. Aged in French oak, the wine offered dark fruit and pepper. There were bold tannins on the finish. Try pairing with duck.

Gentle wine education and great wines in a friendly atmosphere make Palmer Vineyards a must visit winery in Long Island’s North Fork area. Plan to spend some time viewing the winery and tasting wines.

Palmer Vineyards
5120 Sound Avenue, Rte. 48
Riverhead, New York 11901

GPS: N 40º 58.114’ W 72º 37.486’

Article written January 2013








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