Wine Clubbing: Pellegrini Vineyards March 29, 2014

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 palateENTER.


Pellegrini Vineyards September 7, 2013

pel menu

Friends often ask me, “What’s the best vineyard on the North Fork?”  My general answer is, “It depends on what you like.”  However, probably the best all-around vineyard is Pellegrini, for several reasons.  It is large enough so that if you go with a group you will be able to find a table where you can all sit together.  It is small enough so that you can stand at the bar and have a good conversation about the wines with the servers.  Both the whites and the reds are good, though we tend to prefer their reds, which we feel are better than the general run of reds.  It does lack the somewhat frenetic party atmosphere of some places, however, and they tend to focus on the wines rather than agritainment.  Oh, and many of the wines are reasonably priced for the North Fork.

Pellegrini is also good for a group because if you like you can mark your selections on a clearly laid out menu that is also a map telling you in what order to drink the wines (top to bottom, left to right) and take the tray to a table outside overlooking the vineyards, which we did.  One of the friends in our group of eight had brought along bread and cheese and hummus, so we had a lovely afternoon tasting, laughing, and snacking.

The tasting menu has a variety of options.  The Bar Tasting is $6 and gives you three one-ounce pours which you can choose from a menu of ten wines to be drunk at the bar.  The Flight Tasting is $12, and gives you three two-ounce pours, plus a one-ounce “complimentary” pour of their rosé, chosen from 13 options, which you then take to a table.   There’s also a Vintner’s Flight for $14, four one-ounce pours of higher-priced wines, and a Wine and Chocolate Flight for $16 for four reds plus chocolates.

As wine club members, we were entitled to four free Flight tastings, which worked perfectly, since all the couples were happy to share.  Since we belong to the only-red-wine category of the club, we decided to taste some of their whites.  Amongst the group, we tried quite a few wines, so I’ll be adding in some notes from other people as well.

A tray of whites, with one rose.

A tray of whites, with one rose.

  1. East End Select Rosé                                                                                      $14.99

This is the “complimentary” taste, a steel-fermented blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon.  As usual, we compared it to Croteaux’s rosés, and it is good, but not as good.  It has lots of the strawberry aroma and taste one expects in a rosé, but not much else.  Our friend characterized it as a “meet and greet” wine, nice to have at a barbeque on a sunny day.

2. 2012 Pellegrini Vineyards Gewürztraminer                                         $19.99

I detect some of that cat pee smell which Gewürztraminer often has.  We taste honey, but it is not too sweet, with some nice fruity notes.

3, 2012 Pellegrini Vineyards Stainless Steel Chardonnay                   $19.99

Nice crisp apple taste, but a bit too sweet is the word on this one.  We still prefer the Channing Daughters Scuttlehole Chardonnay.

4. 2012 Pellegrini Vineyards Medley White                                                        $21.99

Another steel-fermented wine, this one is a blend of 59% Sauvignon Blanc and 41% Chardonnay.  I get a mineral aroma, perhaps of wet rock.  It tastes fine, however, with a balance of sweet and acid, with perhaps too much sourness at the end.

I have a few notes on other wines from my friends.  Meanwhile, the non-drinker in the group had this to say, as he watched us carefully sip and discuss each taste, “If people chose their mates as carefully as they taste wine, there would be fewer divorces.”

Some red tastings plus a view of the vineyard.

Some red tastings plus a view of the vineyard.

5.  2007 Pellegrini Vineyards Petit Verdot                                                  $39.99

As I’ve said, we like their reds, and this, as Rod Serling used to say, is a case in point.  A blend of 93% Petit Verdot, 6$ Merlot, and 1% Cabernet Sauvignon, aged in French oak for 20 months, this is a lovely wine, and the favorite of the group.  It is somewhat earthy and leathery, but quite richly fruited.

6. 2007 Pellegrini Vineyards Cabernet Franc                                            $23.99

My friend sniffs and says, “Coffee, chocolate, pepper!”  Those elements are in the taste as well, plus lots of cherry.  She’d like it with pizza which, since she makes her own, is high praise.

7. 2007 Pellegrini Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon                                  $24.99

This one, according to the group, is a bit too acidic to drink on its own, but would be good with food.  Nice berry flavors with some peppery notes at the end.

8. 2010 Vintner’s Pride Encore                                                                        $49.99

Another blend, this one is 60% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 15% Petit Verdot.  Light and fruity, everyone says, and dry, with basically no finish.

pel bottle

After the tastes, one friend buys a bottle of the Petit Verdot, which we happily share as we munch on Catapano Farms goat cheese and enjoy the cool and sunny late summer afternoon.

Inside the tasting room.

Inside the tasting room.

Reasons to visit:  good all-around winery, good reds, pleasant atmosphere, good for a group or for just a couple, the Petit Verdot.

pel view