ireneAs you may remember, 2011 was a tough growing season in the Hudson River Region — mostly because of Hurricane Irene. Winemakers — like all people, really — deal with disasters differently.

Jan Palaggi, owner/winemaker at Palaia Vineyards took what lemons she could find and made a bit of lemonade.

When nearby Woodbury Creek flooded most of her vineyards, she most of her grape crop “Any grapes that were on the vine, rotted, or had to be cut off because the trellis either fell over or washed away,” she told me in a recent email. “People kept asking me if we had damage and I would reply ‘Hello….hurricane!”

So, she bought some Cayuga from the Finger Lakes, blended it with the only traminette that did survive the storm and named the wine “Hello, my name is Irene.”

Delivering aromas of sweet lime, peach and green table grapes that lead into a fruity palate with similar flavors, this feather-light off-dry wine shows sweetness, but is far from cloying because of terrific acidity. There is a faint bitter pithiness and a bit of hay towards the end of the mid-palate. As with many hybrids, the finish is abrupt.

Producer: Palaia Vineyards
AVA: New York State
ABV: 12%
Price: $14*

(2.5 out of 5, Average-to-Very Good)