Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Hypothesis: A wine tasted at a winery is often better than the same wine tasted at home. True or False?

The 2006 Pellegrini Unoaked Chardonnay makes a case for this to be a true statement. This Sonoma County winery was the first stop on our trip out to the area this July, a day that took us from here to Freeman, Moshin, and finally Inman Family, these last three all being among the best winery visits I’ve had to date.

Pellegrini, not so much as myself, my wife, and Jesse (the best man at our wedding and our designated driver that day) had made arrangements with the winery manager for a tour which we were very much looking forward to as the vineyard setting and the winery looked beautiful and the wines themselves had been highly recommended by the locals we were relying on for help in setting up the day of winery hopping.

Well… the short story made short is that they had no record of us making these arrangements despite me confirming just two days earlier and so we were unceremoniously shuffled off to the somewhat crowded tasting room. Well, at least we got to taste through their line-up of wines, including their Pinot Noirs which they were supposedly well know for, according to the locals, but which we found slightly disappointing. However, one of the bright spots were their whites, including the 2006 Unoaked Chardonnay. Not only did I like it but at $17 a bottle, I thought it was good price per quality and picked up a bottle. That was in July and just two days ago, we opened it up to go along with baked cod and corn on the cob which is in season now in New York and is sweet as can be. Get some!

The wine… Well… It was straw yellow in color with notes of green apples and some tropical fruits, including banana. (This is where the wine started to lose me.) There was a slight zip of acidity, likely evident from seeing no wood. However, it threw the wine off balance rather than pairing with the fruit. The finish was long, lingering on the tongue. However, the banana flavors came back on the end. (This is where the wine definitely lost me and I’d have to give it a D.)

Was this the same wine I tasted at the winery? I thought it was but I certainly don’t remember it like this. This is where hypothesis gets tested. In this case, the winery DID make the wine taste better than it did. I’m not sure how. That’s for future tests.

Overall, disappointing but not the end of the world. And, Pellegrini is still a nice place to stop by and visit if you’re in Sonoma. Just don’t expect the tour.

1 comment:

RougeAndBlanc said...

What you have experienced with the Chard may even be as simple as bottle variations.
I recently sampled '05 Ridge Zinfandel Lytton Springs from 2 differnet bottles at Astor. One from a fresh bottle and the other from a bottle opened an hour ago. The fresh bottle had a different fruit profile (fresh dark fruit) from the older bottle (cooked fruit).
I thought my nose/palate was off and asked the pourer to tasted it himself, which he confirmed that 2 bottles indeed tasted different.
I hope you can get a third bottle of this Chard to re-confirm its flavor profile.