Pellegrini Vineyards: In the Club June 4, 2019

https://www.pellegrinivineyards.com/

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The day was pretty, but too chilly to sit outside.

We had thought we might sit outside, but though it was sunny it was so chilly that we asked the server if we could close the door to the tasting room. Since at that moment we were the only people there, he said sure. Later, a few other people arrived, including a couple who brought their lunches, sat in the courtyard with glasses of wine, and were clearly, based on some remarks to the server, planning to have their wedding there. We’ve seen how they set up for events, tenting the courtyard, which makes it into a large room.

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This is just one side of the courtyard.

The tasting room itself is rather small, with just a few tables and a bar along one side, augmented in warm weather by outdoor tables. Since you take your entire tasting with you on a tray, Pellegrini is a nice place to bring snacks and sit with friends. A take-to-the-table tasting includes three two-ounce pours of your choice, plus one ounce of the rosé, for $16. You can also stand at the bar and get three one-ounce tastes for $9, a good option if you’re going to more than one winery that day.

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As soon as we entered, we noticed the new furniture, with more comfortable chairs.

As wine club members, we could have done any tasting we wanted, but we opted to follow the standard format and do two trayfuls, one of whites and one of reds. Since our membership is “reds only,” we wanted to be sure to try the wines in our shipment. Our tasting confirmed our original judgment, that Pellegrini does a better job with reds than whites.

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Each tasting comes with a little bag of oyster crackers.

1. 2017 Rosé      $19.99
We were particularly interested to try the rosé, since it was on sale, and we like to have plenty of rosé on hand for the summer. This is a dry, steel-fermented blend of 57% merlot, 27% cabernet franc, and 16% cabernet sauvignon. With such a variety of grapes, you might expect a fruitier wine, but this is a rather lean rosé, more like a white, with tastes of unripe strawberry and minerals. My tasting buddy labeled it a “confused wine,” not sure if it wanted to be a white or a rosé. However, we liked it enough to buy the three-bottle package for $33. That night, we enjoyed a glass with a plate of pan-fried locally-caught blowfish tails (not the poisonous kind!) and a spinach salad made with local spinach and 8 Hands Farm bacon. As they say, what grows together goes together!

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A locally-caught delicacy–fried blowfish tails. Yum.

2. 2014 Gewürztraminer    $24.99
Mmmm. This smelled lovely, flowery, fruity, perfumey. The taste…not so much. Gewürztraminers can be too sweet, and this one was. I got tastes of honey and over-ripe pear, with just a touch of minerality. I prefer One Woman’s interpretation of this grape. This wine is a good illustration of why vintage matters. Over the years, there have been some Pellegrini gewürztraminers we liked, and others we found too sweet.
3. 2017 Steel Chardonnay      $19.99
I opted for the steel chardonnay over their couple of versions of oaked, since I often prefer steel to oak. This is a fairly standard North Fork chard, with lots of lemon aroma and taste. Just okay.

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4. 2017 REJOYCE    $24.99
I still haven’t gotten around to asking what this name of this blend of 63% chardonnay and 37% sauvignon blanc means. However, we did not rejoice at the taste, which is somewhat pineappley, but very light, with just a touch of sweetness. Almost not there at all. Meh.

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5. 2014 Cabernet Franc      $29.99
Now we moved on to the reds in our club shipment. Fortunately, we liked this one, a somewhat light, dry red with aromas of plums and berries and a taste of stewed prunes and cherries. Though it is simply called cabernet franc, it also has 15% cabernet sauvignon and 5% merlot. It would go well with lamb, since the dryness would cut through the fattiness of a chop.

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Our wine-club selections after we brought them home and before we put them in the wine cellar.

6. Steakhouse Red      $19.99
Though they label this “Steakhouse,” I think it should be called “pasta,” since it is not quite big enough a red to stand up to a steak. This iteration is a blend of 72% cabernet sauvignon and 28% merlot, but as a non-vintage wine the blend could vary from year to year. For the price, it is a good choice. I asserted that the aroma had a touch of funk, but my husband asserted I was “hallucinating the funk.” Nice generic red.
7. 2013 Vintner’s Pride Encore       $49.95
This is their Bordeaux blend—40% merlot, 40% cabernet sauvignon, 17% petit verdot, and 3% cabernet franc—and a very good blend it is. This is a wine that would stand up to steak, or maybe boeuf bourguignon. Delicious, is what I wrote. Dry, with plenty of dark fruit tastes, and some tannins. I observed that it had nice legs, and my pal made a silly joke about its pants. Well, this was our seventh taste, though we had left all three whites unfinished.

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See the legs?

Reasons to visit: good all-around winery, especially for reds; you can take your tray of tastes to a table and enjoy a visit with friends plus your own lunch or snacks; alternatively, you can stand at the bar and have smaller samples, a good option if you’re going to more than one winery; the rosé, the Cabernet Franc, the Vintner’s Pride Encore.

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I love this time of year, watching the vineyards green up and the farm stands start to open.

Pellegrini Vineyards: One of Our Favorites September 6, 2013

http://www.pellegrinivineyards.com/

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Going with a group?  Have kids in tow?  Want to sit quietly at a table and ponder your tasting?  Like whites?  Like reds?  Pellegrini is good for all these conditions! On this visit we saw a large bachelorette party enjoying their tasting in the tented courtyard, a couple—he wearing a t-shirt that said Brooklyn—at a table under the pergola, and a family with kids who ran around on the lawn, among others.

A view to the courtyard and pergola

A view to the courtyard and pergola

Their tasting menu offers several different options, including a flight they bring to your table of three two-ounce pours of wines of your choice from a menu of 12, plus a complimentary one-ounce taste of their merlot, for $12, or a tasting of their Vintner’s Pride wines for $14.  Tastings include a packet of oyster crackers to clear the palate.  When you get your tray of tastes, sample them from left to right and top to bottom, as they are arranged on a labeled placemat.  If you’re not sure in which order to taste (order matters, as a delicate wine will be lost if you taste it after a more forceful one), ask your server.  They also offer a cheese plate or a chocolate and wine pairing, but they don’t seem to mind if you bring your own snacks.  All wines are made from grapes grown on their estate. We belong to their wine club, so our tastings are free.  We got two tastings, one of their whites and the other of the reds, and shared.

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  1. East End Select Rosé                     $14.99

This is a steel-fermented blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and cabernet franc with a pleasantly herbal—rosemary?—aroma.  We decided we would like it as an accompaniment to fish, as it is nice and dry with lemony tastes, but it is not a sipper.  If you want some, go now, as it is on an end-of-season sale of three bottles for $33 (we bought three).  Not as good as Croteaux 314, however.

The tray of whites and rose, plus the merlot.

The tray of whites and rose, plus the merlot.

  1. 2013 Gewürztraminer                 $19.99

We’ve been on a bit of a gewürzt kick lately, for no real reason, so we can compare this to others of its ilk. We find it a bit too sweet for us, though the finish is rather tart.  Still, it’s a pleasant wine, with aromas of honeysuckle and tangerine, and would make a nice aperitif.

  1. 2013 Medley White $21.99

A blend (hence the name Medley) of 60% chardonnay and 40% sauvignon blanc, steel-fermented, this wine has mineral and lemon aromas and a refreshing taste—not too tart, not too sweet, with tastes of gooseberry and citrus and mineral.  “Hmmm,” I say, “I think this would pair well with tuna-noodle casserole.  I’m not kidding!”

  1. 2007 Merlot $19.99

Merlot is their signature wine, and they make a lot of it.  The 07 is actually a bit of a blend; though it is 90% merlot it also includes 6% cabernet sauvignon, 3% cabernet franc, and 2% petit verdot, giving it some complexity.  This is an easy wine to drink, soft, with tasty blackberry notes.

The tray of reds.

The tray of reds.

  1. Steakhouse Red                                 $16.99

I think I’d rather have this with lamb chops than with steak, but that’s just me.  A 50/50 blend of merlot and cabernet sauvignon, this has a bit of that forest smell that merlots sometimes have, and is quite dry, with some tannins.  This and the other reds are all aged in oak.

  1. 2010 Petit Verdot $49.99

Yum.  “Good from start to finish,” says my husband, and I agree.  The color is very dark, and we sense lots of ripe fruit aromas and tastes.  This one I would have with a good steak, for sure.

It was very humid outside, so we opted to stay inside in the air conditioning.

It was very humid outside, so we opted to stay inside in the air conditioning.

  1. 2010 Vintner’s Pride Encore $49.99

A Bordeaux blend—60% merlot, 25% cabernet sauvignon, 15% petit verdot—one would expect this wine to be better than the previous one, but it is not.  We smell spice and dark tea leaves, but are underwhelmed by the taste.  For the price, it is disappointing.  “It never opens up,” says my husband.  Maybe if it sat in the glass longer?  But it is the last of our tastes, so it has been there for a while.  Oh, well.

One part of the tasting room.

One part of the tasting room.

Reasons to visit:  you’re with a group; you’re not with a group; you have kids in tow who need room to run; you like reds; you like whites; the 2013 Medley White; the 2013 Gewürztraminer; the 2010 Petit Verdot; the Steakhouse Red.

 

Beautiful grapes.

Beautiful grapes.