With all the snow the last few weeks, we decided we wanted to go somewhere cozy for a tasting. I had my heart set on one of the booths in Palmer’s tasting room for our group of five, but, alas, others had the same idea and the three pub-like booths were filled, so we clustered around one of the high tables in the small tasting room and perused the menu. There are four menu choices: New Releases, three tastes for $15; Winemaker’s Flight, four for $15; Premium White, three for $12; and Premium Red, three for $14. That may not seem like many samples for the money, but the pour is quite generous. If you are with people who don’t mind sharing, you can get to taste all their wines.
While two members of the group went over to the bar to get our trays of tastes, the rest of us admired the stained glass window, the funny wine superstitions on the wall, and the fat and lazy gray cat who was quite amenable to being petted by the feline-o-philes amongst us. When you do a tasting you get all your pours at once perched on a labeled placemat on your tray. Go from left to right, of course. They also offer a short snack menu, mainly cheese or paté and crackers, and wines by the glass though not by the bottle.
Although we alternated amongst the various menus so that we could do the reds last, I’ll give you my notes based on each menu. (Note: There are two buildings. Drive through to the rear building for the tasting room, as the front building contains a self-guided tour of the winemaking.)
1) 2012 Aromatico $24.99
A blend of Muscat and Mulvase grapes, this has almost an upstate sweetness, though the grapes are grown on the North Fork, with aromas of orange and allspice and a very floral taste. “Like a rosewater bath,” said AK. EB thought you could have it with a salad. I would just as soon not have it.
2) 2012 Chardonnay 41/72 $16.99
I never did find out what those numbers mean, and hoped the web site would enlighten me, but their website is rather terse, as are their tasting notes. They could do a better job with both. In any event, this is a blend, despite the name, including Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Gewürztraminer. We noted aromas of white grape and pear and tastes of pear—pretty much a standard steel-fermented Chard. Not distinguished, we said.
3) Lighthouse White $14.99
This is also a blend, with typical oaky/vanilla aromas of a barrel fermented white. Lots of pineapple taste. The menu says “semi-sweet,” but I didn’t find it to be particularly sweet. Then again, I’m not very fond of pineapple anyway.
4) Select Reserve Red $31.99
The only red in the Winemaker’s Flight, this is a fairly dry Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. I like it better than the whites, and at the end we think it is the best of the wines we tasted, but, on the other hand, one could find similar reds for less money.
New Release Flight
1) 2013 Sauvignon Blanc $23.99
I like this better than any of the whites in the Winemaker’s Flight. It is good, with lots of fruit, a touch petillant on the tongue, with some tastes of pineapple but not overwhelmingly so, plus citrus. Maybe grapefruit? I would call it buyable. AK labels it a good summer wine for sipping on the patio.
2) 2012 BF Pinot Blanc $22.99
BF? Means barrel fermented, we learn. Yes, it has that oaky/vanilla aroma. Some toast, some pineapple. Just okay.
3) 2010 Old Roots Merlot $42.00
Okay, the .99 prices do annoy me, so it is nice to see a forthright even number, even if we feel it is overpriced. EB describes this as “chewier, with more structure,” though not a lot of tannins. Nice dark berry tastes, with a hint of smoke.
Premium Red Flight
1) 2010 Merlot $24.99
Dry, with not a lot of fruit, not overly earthy (happily), and, says EB, “Not a keeper.” I agree and say, “Just okay.”
2) 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon $29.99
You can really taste and smell the oak on this one, with not much fruit. Nope, we don’t care for this one either.
3) 2009 Cabernet Franc $29.99
Brambly blackberry tastes, nice aromas—we like this one! Though it is a touch earthy, it is buyable, and EB buys a bottle, getting 10% off, according to the menu “today only.”
Reasons to visit: cozy pub-like room (with outside tables in the summer); the 09 Cabernet Franc; the 2013 Sauvignon Blanc; you can do a self-guided tour in the front building before or after your tasting room visit; a generous pour; the cat!