I often find myself defending Long Island wine prices — perhaps a bit less now than five or 10 years ago, but it still happens. It’s tiresome and something I wish I didn’t have to do, but the perception that “all Long Island wine is overpriced” lingers in the minds of many.
For an upcoming Wine Press article on Long Island’s “best” burger wines, I only included wines that were $30 or less, with a focus on wines near or less than $20. I tasted around 20 wines, a lot of them merlot, and I was surprised at the general lack of personality. Many of the wines were perfectly fine — balanced and well made — but few, especially in the $20 range, stood out. Especially with the burgers.
Not so with Pellegrini Vineyards East End Select 2014 BBQ Red ($19).
Made from 100 percent petit verdot, it’s super-fruity – so fruity that it almost tastes sweet – and has a bit of peppery spice and plenty of acidity to balance a variety of rich foods.
It’s a pretty unique expression of petit verdot and while it wasn’t my favorite wine when tasted by itself, it was a clear standout with food. There aren’t enough red wines made locally that can take a light chill, but this is one of them. Perfect for a hot summer day when you still want red wine.
This wine sells for $19 in the Cutchogue tasting room.