Gregory Dal Piaz

Location: New York, NY

8 Elegant Zinfandels

Rank Wine Rating Price
1 Alysian Bradford Mtn Block Three Zinfandel (2009)
Comments: There’s plenty of oak here with a nose full of chocolate, tobacco, vanilla and crushed spices along with a hint of Iris. In the mouth, this is full-bodied but very well balanced. The assertive oak of the nose is fairly well integrated here with rugged and slightly lean black cherry fruit. There’s good acidity and ripe tannins but everything is rather well balanced, with the fruit turning redder on the back end and redder still on the raspberry-toned finish. Very long and finely balanced, showing a little bit of iron-tinged beef and soil on the finale. Fairly powerful but elegant and quite fresh, this is lovely. 93pts
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2 Dashe "Les Enfants Terribles" Mcfadden Farm Potter Valley More United States Zinfandel (2010)
Comments: Gorgeous nose here, this is all wild fruit, dried flowers, and nuanced fresh herbs that explode from the glass. A little softer on entry than expected, this soon fills the mouth with the aromas of the nose, wild red berried fruit, pine cones, a touch of toasted nuttiness, blue flowers, almost an herbs de Provence thing going on while the acidity pops on the back end and the firm base of polished tannins provides ample support. The finish is a bit short, though with sneaky length as the tannins begin to relax and let out a nice finale of watermelon rind freshness and great wild red berry fruit with hints of apple and cranberry to boot. 93pts
Previously available for $26.76
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3 Klinker Brick Zin 375 (2009)
Comments: Wow, this is intensely briary and brambly on the nose. Super varietal with raspberry fruit, a hint of Thin Mints and black pepper. Rich, chewy and intense on entry, this is full throttle Zin with intense raspberry and wild strawberry flavors, wrapped up in some creamy oak with hints of hickory smoked meats. There's enough acidity here to keep things lively and the tannins are nice and firm if well covered by all this fruit. The finish is an explosion of varietal fruit, leaning towards the red cherry and strawberry end of the spectrum with gentle vanilla highlights and a lovely insinuation of herbal freshness. This holds its alcohol remarkably well. 91pts
Previously available for $12.99
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4 Bella Vineyards & Wine Caves Zinfandel Belle Canyon Estate (2009)
Comments: Subdued on the nose though what is here is very clean and very fresh. Forest floor accented aromas of wild berry jam, coconut and something both minty and lightly mushroomy. Plump on entry and a touch angular even, this is full-bodied and rich with fine wild cherry fruit up front that is pure and very well focused right through the mid-palate. The balance here improves with a little air. This has real height in the mouth with emerging wild berry nuances on the back end along with layered oak notes that build on the finish. The finish really builds as well, with good length and gathering intensity. That spicy mushroom tone adds wonderful detail to the freshness of the fruit here. Intense without being massive. I like this. 91pts
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5 Frank Family Zinfandel Napa Valley Wines Domestic Zinfandel (2009)
Comments: Liquory and deep, this reveals a ton of fruit on the nose, all baked in a pie with a light, toasty crust and served with a cup of freshly brewed black coffee. Black cherry and blackberry dominate with really nicely integrated wood spice forming a cigar box base. This is rather large-scaled, rich and slightly chewy with fine underlying acidity and soft tannins anchoring the palate. This is a rather sophisticated example of Zinfandel, capturing some of the best elements of the intense fruit of the grape and framing them well with nuanced spice and earth notes that linger on the long finish. Shows a bit of heat on the finale. 90pts
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6 Benessere Zinfandel St. Helena Estate Black Glass (2008)
Comments: This wine announces itself with an initial blast of truffle greeting the nose, following up with earthy, beefy and spicy aromas as well as some floral top notes, a hint of habanero chile and fine black cherry fruit. Lean on entry and a bit tight, this is not a fruit-forward wine. It is laden with earth, light notes of dried fruit and zesty black raspberry in the mouth. A bit of a throwback style. The finish continues the lean theme, throwing on a bit more wood spice but otherwise tending towards austerity and earthy length. This needs food. It does have a light herbal top note in the mouth adding additional complexity, but is not for everyone as it is a savory and austere if fully ripe Zinfandel. Powerful in its own right. 90pts
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7 Summers Four-Acre Zinfandel Italian Miscellaneous White Miscellaneous White (2009)
Comments: Smoky oak, vanilla and espresso foam all come together on the nose along with some black pepper, black cherry and a hint of sweet pork. Full and broad in the mouth, this shows some assertive if polished tannins early on along with rich flavors of black cherry and black raspberry. There’s a certain hardness on the palate, though a nice brambly note emerges on the back end. The fruit pops just before the coffee and toasty oak emerge again on the moderately long finish. This is fairly intense Zin, well balanced but a little youthfully rambunctious. If you want to enjoy this now, throw a porterhouse on the BBQ, otherwise wait 12 months. 90pts
Previously available for $36.79
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8 Dashe Zinfandel Dry Creek (2010)
Comments: 50 yo vines in Geyserville Deep, earthy, and sharply mineral on the nose with crushed toasty black currant fruit, black raspberry fruit accented by notes of graham cracker and a little peppery spice. Deep and earthy in the mouth as well with real richness but a lean and firm character supported by super ripe tannins and fine, bright acidity. Upright in the mouth and structured like a skyscraper with lovely Zin berry fruit framed with brambly accents. Structured and powerful but superbly balance, with the structural framework just wrapped up in clear black cherry and black raspberry fruit. Unusual to find a wine with such height and breadth, yet one that is transparent in the mouth. 94pts
Average price: $23.99 from 1 store
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