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Sure, Pellegrini Vineyards’ 2007 merlot has an easy drinkability and it came from a superior Long Island vintage — but that’s not what caught our attention on a recent tasting room visit.

It was that this quality wine, sourced from some of the oldest vines on the East End, could be found for such a bargain price (by Long Island standards.)

Our wine of the week is Pellegrini Vineyards‘ 2007 merlot ($19.99), on sale in the Cutchogue tasting room at a price of three bottles for $45 or $168 per case ($144 for wine club members.)

With an earthy bouquet, the fruit-forward, medium-bodied red has dark fruit flavors and notes of chocolate. The wine, aged for 18 months in 25 percent new oak, received a respectable 86-point rating from Wine Enthusiast in 2013.

Pellegrini’s 2007 merlot is made with 90 percent merlot, five percent cabernet sauvignon grapes, three percent cabernet franc and two percent petit verdot.

“2007 was a great vintage and this wine is everything we look for, merlot being the heart and soul of Long Island wine,” Pellegrini winemaker Zander Hargrave told us. “It has a lot of finesse and really dynamic fruit along with that suppleness that merlot always yields.”

Of course, it wasn’t Hargrave, who joined Pellegrini last summer, who made this wine. It was previous long-time winemaker Russell Hearn, now the director of winemaking at Premium Wine Group.

Expect the first wine harvested and fermented under Hargrave’s watch — the 2014 sauvignon blanc — to be released sometime in the coming weeks.

Something else Pellegrini lovers and wine club members should be on the lookout for — the winery is releasing its first rosé this year. That wine is made from cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and merlot grapes, Hargrave said.

Hargrave is also teaming up with chef Tom Schaudel to host a “comparative” wine dinner at aMano on March 22. The unusual pairing event will feature young, unreleased wines made by Hargrave served alongside older wines that have been appropriately bottle-aged.

“In this case, it’s going to be fun showcasing some of the wines I’ve worked with,” he said.

Pellegrini Vineyards is located at 23005 Main Road in Cutchogue.

Wine of the Week features Long Island wines that the northforker staff enjoys.


Palmer Vineyards 2014 Sauvignon Blanc

Pugliese Vineyards 2010 Merlot Reserve

Laurel Lakes Vineyards 2010 Pinot Noir

Paumanok Vineyards Chenin Blanc

Sparkling Pointe’s 2005 Brut Seduction

Sherwood House’s 2007 Sherwood Manor