Chilly, rainy, dank, gray: We really want winter to end and spring to come! As we drive past the wineries, we note that despite the unpromising weather some have quite a few cars and limos—and even a bus or two—parked outside. Pellegrini, however, is very quiet, as we stop in to pick up our wine club shipment and taste the wines included in it.
We take our tasting of four reds to a table and sip and chat and listen to a lively group ask their server questions such as the difference between Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Asking questions of your server is a great way to increase your understanding of wines, as we’ve found.
If you want a more detailed description of the winery, check out my entry from September 7, 2013.
1) 2007 Merlot $19.99
We start with the Merlot, which is included for no extra charge in every tasting, and is also a wine club selection. This is actually a bit of a blend; though it is 90% Merlot it also includes 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot. It is aged 18 months in French oak, and, like Pellegrini reds in general, is somewhat high in alcohol: 13.9%. The aroma combines cherries and pine and what is often described as “forest floor.” It is quite tannic, and my husband says his tongue feels like it needs to be brushed. My feeling is that it would be good with food, though not for sipping, and indeed our club shipment includes a recipe for Merlot Pot Roast with Horseradish Mashed Potatoes. Pasta would also do.
2) 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon $29.99
Another blend, despite the name, this one is 76% Cabernet Sauvignon and 24% Merlot, aged 19 months in French oak, with 13.6% alcohol. The aroma is lovely, a sweet berry smell with just a trace of that Long Island earthiness. Though not tannic, it is dry, with nice fruit, and definitely sippable. As it is also in our club box, I envision sipping it by the fire next fall—or maybe even today, given the weather!
3) 2010 Petit Verdot $49.99
Lovely dark color on this one, which is 98% Petit Verdot and 2% Merlot. Actually, many wines—so I have been told—are at least a small percentage Merlot. As they age in the cask, some of the wine evaporates (“the angel’s share”) and so many wine makers use Merlot to top them off. In any event, our tasting notes suggest decanting this one for at least an hour, which has not been done today—our server just opened the bottle—so the taste might be quite different than what we sense. We smell an earthy, almost mushroomy odor, but the wine itself is delicious. Though it lacks the depth of flavor a truly great wine, this would be a fine wine to serve with a gourmet dinner, like boeuf bourguignon. We plan to cellar this for a couple of years (assuming we remember and don’t grab it before then!).
4) 2010 Vintner’s Pride $49.99
This is, notes my tasting pal, a Right Bank Bordeaux—60% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Petit Verdot—aged 20 months in French oak. The aroma is not very fruity, with a touch of pine and maybe cinnamon, less earthy than the others. The wine is also not very fruity, though it is good, with some tannins, and, we decide, would also be better with food. A friend recently described a wine-tasting course she took, and commented how differently one wine could taste depending on which foods it was paired with. We agree!
Reasons to visit: Good reds; reasonably priced Merlot, which is almost always on sale for about $15 per bottle if you buy three; pleasant tasting room; ability to take your tray of tastes to a table; oyster cracker packets included with each tasting so you can clear your palate.