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Palmer Lighthouse Red
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.
Increasingly garnering widespread and well-deserved attention, New York ranks third in wine production in the United States (after California and Washington). Divided into six AVAs—the Finger Lakes, Lake Erie, Hudson River, Long Island, Champlain Valley of New York and the Niagara Escarpment, which crosses over into Michigan as well as Ontario, Canada—the state experiences varied climates, but in general summers are warm and humid while winters are very cold and can carry the risk of frost well into the growing season.
The Finger Lakes region has long been responsible for some of the country’s finest Riesling, and is gaining traction with elegant, light-bodied Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc. Experimentation with cold-hardy European varieties is common, and recent years have seen the successful planting of grapes like Grüner Veltliner and Saperavi (from the Eastern European country of Georgia). Long Island, on the other hand, has a more maritime climate influenced by the Atlantic Ocean, and shares some viticultural characteristics with Bordeaux. Accordingly, the best wines here are made from Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The Niagara Escarpment is responsible for excellent ice wines, usually made from the hybrid variety, Vidal.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.