By Lenn Thompson, Founder and Editor-in-Chief


Miguel Martin, the Spanish-born winemaker who joined Palmer Vineyards just in time for the 2006 harvest, has already impressed with what he's done with the winery's white wine program, especially sauvignon blanc and blended whites.

Those wines, of course, go from field to glass much more quickly than do reds.

We've had to wait a big longer for those, but one of Martin's first reds, Palmer Vineyards 2006 Proprietor's Reserve Cabernet Franc ($25), impressed in a tasting earlier this week.

2006 wasn't a great year for reds on the North Fork. It was cooler than usual and many reds didn't ripen fully, resulting in thin, green wines.

Not so here.

Sweet red cherries dominate the nose with brown spice, black pepper and hints of smoky oak. There is a subtle dried herb component underneath that emerges a bit more after the wine has been open for several hours.

Medium bodied, it has a core of sweet red cherry and raspberry (tasting almost of cherry hard candy) with dusty black pepper, cinnamon spice, light vanilla and leather that carries through on the long finish. The tannins are smooth and well integrated. 

I actually miss the herbal, vegetal notes that are so prominent in the cabernet franc variety, but this is a nice effort in a lesser vintage — a nice wine to introduce people to the grape without pummeling them with green.

Producer: Palmer Vineyards
AVA: North Fork of Long Island
ABV: 13%
Price: $25
Rating: 30
(3 out of 5 | Recommended) 
(Ratings Guide)