A Fine Afternoon at Pellegrini in Cutchogue

Some people may think that wine tasting is the same thing over and over again; that they are drinking the same wine in the same kind of place. In fact each winery is different because the wine their grapes produce will always come out slightly different from the next one depending on what fermentation process they use and the blends they create. Each individual winery is unique in its own way and the passionate owners want you to experience their wine for what it is: something truly special.
Pellegrini Vineyards in Cutchogue is a winery that wants their customers to enjoy the wine with some dignity. Judy, the very informative pourer, said “We are not an entertainment center,” which basically means bring whoever or whatever you want and don’t get out of control; as much as wine should be enjoyed, it should still be somewhat peaceful.
The Pellegrini tasting room sits on 71 acres of vines and has a white gazebo in the center, as well as tables outside where you can eat and sip their wonderful wines. Judy informed my boyfriend and I that Pellegrini uses only their own fruit, all fermented in steel or oak barrels on the premises. The red grapes are like the ones grown in Bordeaux, France and the white grapes are mostly Chardonnay.
During a typical tasting at Pellegrini, you can choose from four different tasting menus. You are given a wine on a tray with a place mat that tells you about the wine and a small bag of oyster crackers to cleanse your palate. The pourers also suggest an order in which you should taste your wines, but you can drink them as you like. Judy gave us a path as well, starting off with white and weaning us into the reds, then finishing with a “finale” or dessert wine. First we tried the Medley White, which was very refreshing and light; something that would be perfect on a hot day. Next was the Pellegrini Vineyards Chardonnay that was smooth with a buttery finish that comes from the oak barrels.
To introduce us to the reds, Judy poured the East End Select Rose, which had hints of watermelon and strawberry; a natural pairing for the other tastes of summer. Then we tried the East End Select BBQ Red, which Judy called a “fun wine,” and it was with its sweet smell and tart, cherry flavor. This is a red that would go nicely with barbequed ribs or chicken. After that, it was onto the deep and bold Petit Verdot, which wouldn’t be an every day red, but would accompany a juicy steak quite nicely. The final red was the 2007 Reserve that was a classic full-bodied red wine, and Pellegrini actually puts it in a double glass bottle for better insulation and to ensure its shelf life.
To cap us off, Judy poured us the Vintner’s Pride Bin 3131, which is a very special dessert wine that has over 18% residual sugar, so needless to say it was sweet. Judy recommended that for dessert at a dinner party you could pour a little glass for each guest alongside of a few salty cheeses, such as Pecorino Romano, with some good crackers and sliced fruit. Doesn’t that sound delicious? And with the sweetness of the wine, you’re going to need a little salt to balance it out.
After our venture through some of the Pellegrini wines, we took the self-guided tour through the winery. This is something else that is unique because usually visitors would have to make an appointment or go to a scheduled tour, but not at Pellegrini. Wine tasters can get a look at the steel and oak barrel rooms and it is a pretty cool sight. You can also take a leisurely stroll through the vineyard and maybe take a picture in the gazebo.
It goes without saying that Pellegrini is an exceptional winery with a staff that is just as dedicated and passionate about the wine as the people who make it. So, bring some snacks and enjoy all Pellegrini has to offer.

Pellegrini Winery & Vineyard, 23005 Main Road, Cutchogue.
631-734-4111, www.pellegrinivineyards.com.

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