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Pellegrini Vineyards 2019 Estate Chardonnay is May’s pick for Northforker Wine Club (Photo credit: David Benthal)

The son of Long Island Wine Country pioneers Louisa and Alex Hargrave, Pellegrini Vineyards winemaker Zander Hargrave has been immersed in the North Fork’s wine culture since birth. He grew up in the family business learning every part of the winemaking job. As a young adult, Hargrave bounced around in different careers but ultimately was drawn back to wine in 2008. In 2013, Hargrave became the Pellegrini Vineyards winemaker and has been there ever since. 

The style: Oak barrel-fermented chardonnay

Flavor profile: Bright and well-balanced on the palate, ripe melon and mango notes are finished with a kiss of sweet oak. 

Pairs with: This chardonnay shines when paired with local seafood and produce. Fluke, scallops, oysters, porgy, striped bass, black sea bass and lobster are all enhanced by the rich, fruity chardonnay and its beautiful fresh acidity. Also great with roasted chicken, pork chops and all local produce, such as asparagus, sugar snap peas, broccoli, Swiss chard, potatoes, corn and squash.

Aging process: Our Estate Chardonnay is barrel fermented in large format 500-liter French oak puncheons for nine months sur lie, an aging process where wine is kept in contact with the dead yeast used in fermentation. The larger size barrel helps to gently integrate the oak without overwhelming the fruit, creating a harmoniously balanced synthesis. Our best chardonnay fruit is selected for barrel aging and is sourced from vines planted in 1982. 

Ideal serving temp: Serve at 55 degrees or a few minutes out of the refrigerator. 

On the nose: Careful grape selection and barrel aging yields aromatic highlights of lemon verbena and honey, accented by vanilla and toast.

To hold or not to hold: Because of the protective time on the lees, it will age well for the next 10 years or so.

Best time to drink: The 2019 Estate Chardonnay is from an excellent vintage and is great to drink now. 

The 2019 Pellegrini Estate Chardonnay can be purchased for $24.99 per bottle at Pellegrini Vineyards, 23005 Main Road, Cutchogue or at