June 16, 2012
We belong to Pellegrini’s wine club (a story I will tell some time), so we are here to pick up our latest shipment. It is a beautiful warm, sunny day. Judy, the diminutive doyenne of the tasting room, remembers us and that we prefer their reds. Pellegrini seems to strike a good balance between being a venue for limo crowds and a place for serious tasters, with a nice-sized tasting room with a few tables and chairs, plus a bar, and lots of outdoor space both under the pergola and out on the lawn. One time when we stopped here with friends and their little boys, the boys played happily on the lawn while we brought our flights to a table where we could watch them. As wine club members, our tastings are free, but we opt for just 4 tastes to check out the new vintages, with a bit of guidance from Judy, who is always very well-informed and passionate about the wines. (They have different levels of tastings, including three one-ounce pours for $4.)
1) 2009 Select Chardonnay $14.99
This is an 85% steel, 15% oak aged blend, a pleasant combination which avoids the hazards of over-oaking while still picking up that slight vanilla/woodsy aroma from the oak. The aroma has notes of mineral and vegetables as well as oak. This is not a sipping wine, with a tart sour-apple taste, but it would be good with, for example, seafood in a cream sauce.
2) 2010 Gewürztraminer $19.99
This is not our favorite gewurtz—too sweet, always a hazard with this grape. The aroma reminds me of the water in a flower vase when you have left the flowers in too long.
3) 2008 Steakhouse Red $16.99
This is a blend of 71% cabernet sauvignon, 26% merlot, and 3% cabernet franc. Though this is called Steakhouse, we feel it is too light to stand up to steak, though it would be fine with pork or lamb chops, as it has enough acidity to complement these meats. The aroma combines blackberry and wood, as does the taste.
4) 2007 Vintner’s Pride Encore $39.99
Another blend—47% merlot, 32% cab franc, 13% cab sauv, 8% petit verdot—or in other words, a Bordeaux. The aroma is not assertive, but has some berry in it. The flavor is delicious, with lots of ripe berry, but not too sweet. If we wanted to add a somewhat pricey red to our cellar, we would have bought it, but we don’t need any right now. I bet it will age very nicely.
Reasons to visit: really good all-around winery that strikes a balance between big and small; good wines, especially the reds (rare for Long Island); good servers; pretty setting.