Not the oldest winery on the North Fork (it celebrated its 1Oth anniversary in 1996), Palmer has become a significant part of the Long Island wine industry. Indicative of its position are the comments of wine writer Howard Goldberg who described Palmer as, "Long Island's most important winery."
Greatly appreciated, along with the other accolades the winery has received in the past decade, the praise reflects the efforts of the Palmer team as it strives to uphold Bob Palmer's pledge of quality. "I've got to be careful," Palmer says, "my name is on every bottle." Each staff member contributes a unique factor much the same as a winemaker selects the best of various lots to craft a special blend.
Because of his long experience in the region, Tom Drozd has become one of the East Ends most knowledgeable winemakers. His grasp of the various components of soil and climate enable him to take advantage of the best of each harvest. The result? Classically structured vinifera wines.
Bob Palmer's marketing efforts have made Palmer the most visible and best known Long Island producer. With his experience in New York's fast track advertising business to guide him, he spends almost six months out of each year on the road selling Palmer.
Looking back on sales experiences which, have taken him as far as the United Kingdom, He notes, "I've seen a dramatic change in the reception we have received since we started our trips in 1987. Today, even if people haven't tasted our wines, they know the name and are eager to try them." Palmer credits an active public relations campaign to this high recognition factor as well as favorable reviews by leading writers in the international wine press.
Learn More About Cabernet Sauvignon
(cab-uhr-NAY sow-veeh-yawn) King of Red Many refer to Cabernet Sauvignon as the king of red grapes. Perhaps that title is due to its ability to grow worldwide in a number of climates, or to the fact that it produces wine with such character yet such diversity. Either way, this grape is responsible, as a whole or a partner, for some of the greatest wines in the world. In Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon is the principle grape of the Medoc. It plays a supporting role in the blends of the right bank in regions such as St-Emillion and Pomerol. It also found a very successful home in California - particularly the Napa Valley - where it crafts the classic and cult wines of the region. However, Cabernet is a hearty grape, and has taken well to many regions: South America, Australia, South Africa, Washington State and Italy's Tuscan coast.
Notable Facts The Cabernet Sauvignon grape is a small berry with a thick skin and a high pip to pulp ratio. This in turn creates a wine high in color, tannin and extract. Typical Cabernet Sauvignon descriptors include blackberry, cassis, cedar and currant. Because the grape adapts to many different soils and climates, its characteristics truly reflect a sense of place. In Bordeaux you'll find the more earthy, tannic side of Cabernet, where it's typically blended to soften tannins and add complexity. In warmer regions like California and Australia, you'll frequently find ripe fruit flavors upfront. Cabernet Sauvignon crafts wines as a single varietal and as a blending partner, where it can add structure and tannins.
Summing it up Successful Sites: Just about everywhere, particularly Bordeaux and California
Common Descriptors: blackberry, black chery, black currant, cassis, herbs, cedar, tobacco, earth
Learn More About New York, Other US
The Big Grape
Beyond the bustling, concrete jungle we call New York City, there lies an entire state that is primarily agricultural and rural. Viticulture has long been a practice in New York, with the production of high quality wine steadily growing over the past few decades. The New York State wine industry is diverse, with plantings that range from native American species to vitis vinifera, not to mention a number of hybrids and crossings. Native American varieties are very sturdy grapes, immune to phylloxera and genetically prone to withstand cold and snow. Unfortunately, wines made from these grapes, of the species vitus labrusca, have an unfortunate aroma and flavor critics refer to as "foxy." For this reason there are a number of hybrids that were created with the hopes of merging the non-foxy qualities of vitis vinifera with the lasting power of the native varieties. Some of these hybrids are still around today, the most widely used being Seyval Blanc. For vitis vinifera, you'll most likely find Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot.
The top regions of New York State are the Finger Lakes, the Hudson Valley and more recently, Long Island.
The Finger Lakes, located along the border of New York State and Canada, have been the heart of the New York wine industry for the past century. It was the region that first experimented with hybrids (mixes between European varieties and American varieties) and produced successful wines with them. The pioneer behind many of the top quality wines in the Finger Lakes was Dr. Konstantin Frank, who began focusing on cool-climate, European white varieties like Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Chardonnay. Manischewitz, the top producer of kosher wines, is also based here, making kosher wines from the plethora of Concord grapes. Also popular are ice wines, a product of the cold winters that move through the region.
The Hudson Valley, located just above New York City, is home to some of the oldest vines in the state. The small to medium sized vineyards focus on both hybrids and vinifera varieties.
Long Island is the most recent wine industry boom, and most of the vineyards here are located on the North Fork, which happens to be the sunniest part of the island. The area has a maritime climate, which has led many wine growers to plant maritime style varieties - most notably, the Bordeaux varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Quality here is growing as winemakers gain knowledge of the land and become more experienced with winemaking techniques.