March 17, 2023
No St. Patrick Day parades for us and our friends; instead, we were off to do a wine tasting at Pellegrini, where we are members of the wine club. Many wineries offer clubs, with varying perks and policies. We have only opted for two: Pellegrini and Channing Daughters. Both of them offer special prices for their wines, quarterly releases of wines for club members, special events, and free tastings. Our friends are members of some wine clubs, but not Pellegrini, so they were curious about what would be on offer.
Unlike more and more local wineries, Pellegrini does not offer much in the way of snacks (You can buy NOFO potato chips.), though a little bag of oyster crackers comes with each tasting. However, the advantage is you can bring your own snacks, and I offered to supply some. Well, I got a bit carried away, but we all enjoyed the cheese, crackers, prosciutto, and Marcona almonds from Village Cheese Shop and the charcuterie from 8 Hands Farm. Since I brought a nice slab of 8 Hands pâté, I felt obliged to also pack Dijon mustard and cornichons. To continue the theme of local goodies, I also opened a bag of North Fork potato chips. Lunch accomplished!
We had so much fun eating and talking that my wine notes are a bit sketchy, but I will say we all liked every taste, though to different degrees. We got four tastings, of four wines each, with some overlap. The tasting room felt like our own private space, since the only party that entered quickly decided to sit up in the little balcony. I also recommended that our friends try the North Fork Project Merlot, a bargain at three one liter bottles for $30, which we both bought before we left, sated and happy.
In no particular order (though our lovely server Kasey carefully informed us of the recommended order of tastes for each flight), here are the wines I took at least a note or two on, some based on the flights my husband and I got, and others on the flights our friends chose.
- 2020 Stainless Steel Chardonnay $22.99
This was my first taste, and I quite enjoyed it. In the car on the way to the winery we had discussed the merits of steel vs. oaked chardonnays, with one friend very much preferring oaked, and me…not. As they say, in wine there are no wrong answers. This is a light, fruity, minerally wine, with tastes of pear and apple.
- 2019 Vintner’s Pride Chardonnay $34.99
Our friend ordered this, and characterized it as smooth and buttery, but not overly oaky—the latter a term he actually refuses to use, since he denies tasting oak in any oaked chard. This one is aged 100% in French oak puncheons for 18 months, and for contrast his wife ordered the next chard on this list.
- 2019 Pellegrini Vineyards Chardonnay $24.99
Not that different from the VP chard, opined our friend, though this one is aged 90% in oak barrels and 10% in stainless steel, 9 months in French oak puncheons. Is stainless steel chardonnay a plot by wine makers to make less expensive wine they can sell for a higher price, or is it a way to accommodate differing tastes? The world may never know…
- 2021 Pellegrini Vineyards Rosé $24.99
If you like a very light, almost tasteless rosé, this is the rosé for you. I continue to prefer Croteaux rosés.
- 2017 PV Cabernet Franc $32.99
Although this is simply called cab franc, it is actually a blend: 85% cab franc, 4% cab sauvignon, 8% merlot, and 2% petit verdot. In any event, it is a rather light red—Kasey had recommended we drink this before the other reds—with some cherry and spice flavors. Our friend thinks one might even serve this lightly chilled, like in the summer. It goes well with the charcuterie.
- PV Steakhouse Red $21.99
One feature of Pellegrini we like is that they have some reds that are not too pricy yet drink very well, and this is one of them. A blend of 72% cabernet sauvignon and 28% merlot, this has a nice minerality with soft tannins and some dark fruit tastes, and would, indeed, go well with a steak.
- 2017 Merlot $32.99
Another blend, this is 85% merlot, plus 10% cabernet sauvignon and 5% petit verdot, though it basically tastes like a merlot. It’s fine, but I actually prefer the—much cheaper—North Fork Project Merlot. This, however, could be characterized as more sophisticated.
- 2020 PV Gewürztraminer $24.99
My recollection from past tastings is that the gewürztraminer is not overly sweet, and our amiga confirms that this is so. Easy to drink.
- 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon $24.99
Our friend likes this blend of 94% cabernet sauvignon, 4% merlot, and 2% cabernet franc better than the merlot.
- 2015 Regalo $49.99
Pricey, but really good, is my verdict on this wine, which is the last in my tasting. Regalo means gift, and this is a gift reserved for wine club members. A blend of 50% petit verdot, 30% cabernet sauvignon, 15% merlot, and 5% cabernet franc, this is a complex, delicious wine, with lots of blackberry, plum, and other dark fruit flavors and aromas.
- 2021 East End Select BBQ Red $26.99
Although this doesn’t have a varietal designation, this iteration of their steel-fermented red is 100% petit verdot. I have a sip, as it is in my husband’s tasting, and note that it has more sweetness than, say, the Steakhouse Red. I guess it would go well with ribs or pulled pork, though my wine of choice with barbeque (like from Meats Meat) is beer.
- Finale Ice Wine $39.99 (375 ml)
Time for dessert! A blend of gewürztraminer and sauvignon blanc, ice wine is made by freezing and then pressing the grapes, resulting in a sweet taste. The vineyard web site notes it pairs well with nuts, so I am glad I provided Marcona almonds for our friend. She likes it, and compares it to savoring one’s platonic ideal of a fruity sucking candy, with some notes of honey.
Reasons to visit: pleasant tasting room where buses and limos are verboten; you can bring your own snacks; dogs are allowed; the comfy chairs are conducive to lingering; with fourteen wines to choose from (twelve of which I’ve mentioned), there are wines for every taste; my favorites are the steel chardonnay, the Steakhouse Red, and Regalo; one friend likes the gewürztraminer and the ice wine, the other the VP chardonnay and the cabernet sauvignon, plus the North Fork Project Merlot.