A Little Bit of Spain in Aquebogue

Palmer releases an East End first–albariño

Winemaker Miguel Martin at Palmer Vineyards.

It was a beautiful evening. Hopefully portending the weather for this year’s growing season: not too much moisture, long warm days and lots of sunlight.

This would be great, because the East End could really use another year like last year, when all grapes got ripe and mold and mildew–here in our humid climate–were barely a problem.

Some grapes are used to a little bit of dampness. Like albariño, the grape of Galicia, the northwestern region of Spain, just above Portugal, where grape vines exist not far from the rocky coast of the Atlantic and thrive despite the fog, while, some say, taking on the salty character of our most volatile ocean.

So why had no one planted any albariño out here? Don’t worry, it’s been done. Miguel Martin, winemaker at Palmer Vineyards in Aquebogue, planted one acre in 2007, and this year released 30 cases of 500 milliliter bottles from the 2010 vintage. It’s steely, light, lively and fresh, a perfect appetite-whetting  aperitif. At Thursday’s release party, the wine was paired with smoked salmon on toast made by Christian Mir of Stone Creek Inn restaurant in East Quogue.

The wine is sold in Palmer’s tasting room for $25. It won’t be around long.