Just the fact that Zander Hargrave is making the wines at Pellegrini Vineyards combines Long Island wine country’s past, present and future. The Hargrave name goes back as far as Long Island wine history can go. Zander’s parents, Louisa and Alex Hargrave, founded Hargrave Vineyard, Long Island’s first commercial winery, in 1973, and Zander’s uncle, Charlie Hargrave, is a veteran grape grower on the North Fork.
Zander was hired as assistant winemaker at the now-closed Peconic Bay Winery in 2011 and then as head winemaker for Pellegrini in August of 2014 — just before harvest. As such, our Wine of the Week — Pellegrini Vineyards 2014 Cabernet Franc — is one of the first red wines he made at the Cutchogue winery.
It is a bright, fruit-forward rendition of a classic Long Island red grape — that also shows plenty of local character in its earthiness.
The nose is centered on red raspberry and cherry aromas with notes of dried autumn leaves and dried herbs, which give it a savory edge. That same red fruits-meet-earthiness quality greets the palate with additional layers of vanilla and fresh sage. Soft and supple on the mid-palate, there is just a little tannic grip on the end of an elegant finish.
A great first example of what Hargrave will do with this grape at a winery known for it in some circles. It is quite approachable today, but should develop and evolve for the next five to 10 years in bottle.
You can find this wine at the Cutchogue tasting room for $30.