It can be easy to forget that the Long Island wine industry was founded in 1973, not that long ago as far as wine regions go. For comparison, Pliny the Elder recorded the first evidence of vines in Bordeaux in 71 AD.
Long Island has done well for itself in its first 40 plus years, but when you look at the region with a global perspective, it’s still a toddler. Maybe even a baby.
Several grapes have come and gone over the course of Long Island wine country’s history — zinfandel was even tried early on — and a handful of grapes have emerged as those showing great promise here. Those include merlot, chardonnay, cabernet franc and sauvignon blanc.
For a variety of reasons — and with a few notable exceptions — variety experimentation has slowed in recent years, but Palmer Vineyards’ success with albariño is a perfect example of the need to continue to look for new grapes that can succeed here.
Planted in 2007, Palmer’s albariño block was first harvested in 2010, and it has gotten well-deserved attention every year since.
This week’s “Wine of the Week,” Palmer Vineyards 2016 Albariño ($28) is explosively aromatic with notes of just-ripe peach, mandarin orange, pippin apple and sea breezes on the nose.
Medium bodied, the palate shows bright fruit flavors — peach and spiced apple, mostly — with notes of minerals, flowers. It’s bright and fresh, with great acidity and a long, apple-y finish.
It’s not surprising that the Spanish-born Palmer winemaker Miguel Martin would want to try albariño, but it goes well beyond his heritage.
Martin still doesn’t make much of this, so get it while you can. It’s available for $28 at the winery’s tasting room.