wine sketchez

 Pellegrini Visit (Spring ’17)


First day of the semester catalyzing well I decided to treat myself. Leaving campus heaping with creative and reflective propulsion, I needed the vines. I needed to visit… somewhere… somewhere either new or that I hadn’t been to in years. Pellegrini was the first character materializing in mind so I sped down Piner to Olivet, to West Olivet. There I was, on the sensory stage I’d been wanting to again taste and saunter around for years. Finally there, I could hear the tidy 40-something degree gusts wrapping themselves around the Pinot and Chardonnay blocks all sides of me, walking to the tasting room. Forgot that Pellegrini was appointment only, so when DTC reine Erika mentioned their tasting practice reflexively, and with no bitter intention, I apologized cumulonimbusly. She told me not to worry, to just enjoy the flight.

We started our run with a luminous and dashing Sauvignon Blanc from Lake County. I know what you might be thinking, “Wait, I’m sorry… what? Lake?” Yes. And what does it matter? This wine had all the complexity and dexterity and palate rhetoric you’d want from any wine. Barrel fermented, do note. This bottle missed nothing with flavor intention and acumen. She then took me through a Chardonnay from the Olivet Lane label, then through a few Pinot Noirs each speaking in their own beat and meter– I knew I had a complication, unanticipated with how the day began, lecturing in class like this day was my last with nothing but purposed ardor to offer. My complication? Which of these glassed vixens doth the penner home take? The wines and the eminent amity pouring them were more than symphonious for this first day of the semester. And I felt a student again, tasting in Russian River, just down the street from my home studio where I felt a phylum of certain thoughtful fervor for wine.


Pellegrini is wine’s intention encapsulated. And by more than just the magnanimous and stirring set of oenological facets. Walking around after the tasting I had one of my expected meditations, starting at the dormant vines and thinking about what I just tasted– How wineries like this change people, no matter their “expertise” or familiarity with wine. Erika instructed me to, again, and inadvertently, just let the wines speak to me and recite their intentions—their pasts, realities intermingled with plausible and fruitful futures. Me echoing in observation, noting, welcomed this first day of the Spring ’17 term… The semester that’s meant to send me somewhere, on the Road, into some angular and precipitous humeur where wine helps me write more of my wine story and helps me understand its irradiating enclosure.

My visit to Pellegrini determined an already determined day. Set a certain musical strain for the semester. And here I am, sipping that first pour, the Blanc. As well brought home a bottle of the Chardonnay and Hurst Vineyard Pinot, but colluded to save them for day ‘nother. Anyone coming to Russian river ought cement this into their plotting. The wines avow to convince you of their identity and amalgamated statement, their punctuated prominence—wines that speak from place. I’ve always thought “place” as an audibly remedying word. This winery boasts ‘place’. And not just a sense of, but immediate tangibility. If you love wine, are curious about wine, love Chardonnay and Pinot and don’t want noise around you pulling your senses away from what you sip… If you’re hunting for engagement as a wine consumer, to be taught about wine without being taught or lectured to… see yourself as arrived.

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