Pedroncelli Winery is much like the old guy at the end of the block. But instead of yelling, “Hey, you kids get off my lawn,” he’s handing you a glass of Sangiovese and saying, “Here, have a glass.” That’s Pedroncelli.
I’m really not kidding when I say Pedroncelli is old. The winery celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2017, having not moved from it’s same location in nearly a century. The house that was originally on the property when founder John Pedroncelli Sr. bought the winery in the middle of prohibition, still sits just to the right of the main tasting room.
John Pedroncelli’s mission was to make wine approachable for the common man. That tradition stays alive by still only charging $5 for a tasting, one of the lowest fees anywhere. It’s waived by the purchase of any bottle, including the two blends, white and red, that come in at $12.
With the $5 tasting, you can choose from any 5 wines on the tasting sheet. No reserve or “special” flight here. It’s all yours for the tasting (within reason). Walking into the tasting room, you’re presented with a sheet and pen for note taking. I especially like how they leave off the tasting notes on the sheet. I like trying a wine without reading how I’m supposed to taste it.
The tasting sheet, like any Italian family, is big. Along with the Friend’s white, you get a choice of Sauvignon Blanc, rosé and two Chardonnays: one with a light amount of oak and one California-style, with a good amount of butter. If you or someone you know is into white wines, this is a great place to taste at for the sheer amount of options in the white wine category.
With the reds, the list grows. From a Pinot Noir at the top of the red column to a Petite Sirah and the famous Port at the end. I say Port because at Pedroncelli, they are legally allowed to use the word, “Port.” While no, they are not making wine in the Duoro region of Portugal, they do have plantings of Portuguese grapes on the estate, and thus they are allowed to make vintage port. To find authentic Port anywhere in the new world, especially outside of Portugal is extremely rare. Regardless, if you are a Port fan or not, this one should be on your list to try (granted you’re not going exclusively white).
Of course this is Dry Creek Valley and the Pedroncelli’s make a Zinfandel that is a textbook representation of Zin for the region. If this is your first time in Dry Creek, it’s worth stopping in to see just what the fuss is about Dry Creek Zinfandel. Zinfandel also appears in other blends from Pedroncelli.
If you’re like me, the tasting sheet can at first be overwhelming. Heck, it’s even hard to pronounce some of the wines on the sheet, such as the Italian varietal, Sangiovese (pronounced San-Gio-Vhey-sey). Feel free to talk about what kinds of wines you like and don’t like with the tasting staff. They are there to guide you through them.
I really enjoy tasting at Pedroncelli because it’s more about wine discovery than about a set schedule. Go ahead and try that Petite Sirah. You may or may not like it, but at least you got to try it. And if you’re loving a bottle, take it outside and relax.
Pedroncelli has a bocce ball court and tables where you and your party can take up a friendly game or just relax and enjoy that rosé. They even have cold wraps for your white wine bottle if you want to partake on an exceptionally hot day (and even for the red wine if it’s that hot outside).
Back inside of the tasting room, you have the choice to buy a slew of Pedroncelli-themed wear, including t-shirts and hats, along with logoed wine glasses and an assortment of books (including mine) along the various walls. If you’re into cooking, you can also find a collection of wine-paired recipes.
Pedroncelli is somewhat in a dead zone when it comes to reception. Thankfully, they have wifi. And you might just need it. They have a barrel room just upstairs from the tasting room which you’re welcome to go up with a member of the staff and get a photo in front of the barrels. Don’t forget your glass of port.
If you want to continue to impress your friends on Instagram or Snapchat, Pedroncelli has their bonded number along the side of their office down the hill—number 113. Yep. Pedroncelli is officially the 113th oldest winery, when it comes to bonded numbers. It’s a pretty cool little feature to the winery and one you can pose under.
Yes, there is history around every corner and within every glass of wine. There’s a story within nearly everything at Pedroncelli. It’s a great place to learn more about what Dry Creek Valley was and how modern winemaking is being blended with the Italian roots. That’s Pedroncelli. Saluté.