Gregory Dal Piaz

Location: New York, NY

Pinot Noir $20-$30

Rank Wine Rating Price
1 Nautilus Pinot Noir (2010)
Comments: Lightly smoky and stemmy, this shows hints of oak and dried herbs over red berry fruit. Fruity on entry with mineral-laced red cherry flavors that pick up some nutty oak on the mid-palate and hints of herbs and a touch of beet root on the back end. This is rather vivid and decidedly fruit driven, though it does pick up a touch of noticeable oak on the long finish along with a wash of savory tannins that serve as contrast to the fruit of the palate. That fruit, succulent and bright sour cherries and raspberries, does outlast the oak right through to the bright finale. Yummy. 92pts
Average price: $20.77 from 120 stores
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2 Dobbes Family Estate Pinot Noir Oregon Grande Assemblage Cuvée (2010)
Comments: Sandy soil and lightly loamy aromas greet the nose followed by hints of sage and cardamom over light yet fragrant wild berry fruit. This is deceptively lightweight in the mouth with terrific intensity of flavors that are supported by vibrant acids and soft, ripe tannins. The flavors are intense yet somehow a touch ephemeral, with layers of blueberry skins, wild raspberry, cranberry, licorice, violet extract, a touch of India ink and some lovely mineral and pollen notes on the moderately long, zesty finish. This is really lovely and would probably show even better with the right food. I love the structure here, firm but not intrusive in any way. 91pts
Previously available for $24.99
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3 Lange Estate Winery Pinot Noir "Dundee Hills Estate" (2010)
Comments: Woodsy, autumnal and lightly chalky on the nose with hints of woodsmoke, hung game and herbs wrapping a core of raspberry and black raspberry fruit. This is fairly zesty with acidity on entry, then the fruit quickly fills out on the palate with lightly gamy edges and handfuls of earthy herb mixed in with a core of pure and lively raspberry and sour cherry fruit. This is ripe yet dry and a bit nervy with a long, apricot-laced raspberry coulis finish that ends with a pop of spice on the finale. Lovely complexity and balance. 91pts
Average price: $24.00 from 1 store
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4 Rex Hill Pinot Noir Oregon Carabella Vineyard (2010)
Comments: Mineral and rusty notes greet the nose followed by gently spicy nettle notes and fine raspberry and wild strawberry fruit, all topped with a hint of woodsmoke. This enters the mouth with a fine combination of elegant richness and vibrancy. The fruit is shaded towards the black end of the spectrum; lightly black cherry and black raspberry are underpinned by nice mineral notes and slightly savory tannins. A real mineral note on the back end drives onto the intense finish with layers of fresh berry fruit and subtle shavings of bitter chocolate with a hint of cinnamon spice on the finale. This throws a party in your mouth, the kind of Pinot a smokey salmon might love. 90pts
Previously available for $51.95
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5 Pali Huntington Pinot Noir (2010)
Comments: Herbal, spicy and gently astringent on the nose, this offers up cedary oak with spicy plum fruit topped with violet notes. Round and a bit plummy yet firm in the mouth, there's a lot of flavor to be found here. Rich, earthy blueberry and blackcurrant fruit flavors cover herb, mushroom and cola flavors. The wine turns really focused and quite tight on the back end and through the long finish, which shows lovely intensity and freshness to the fruit. The oak adds nice perfumes in the mouth but otherwise is quite discrete. A rather sophisticated Pinot that will benefit from a year or two in the cellar. 89pts
Previously available for $19.99
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6 Davis Bynum Pinot Noir Russian River Valley (2010)
Comments: This is a little tight on the nose with clean, focused oak aromas balanced by cut plum and black cherry fruit. There's a lot of wine here, though it's not at all heavy. Gentle mocha shadings greet the palate with a nicely integrated structural elements supporting the black cherry and lightly plummy fruit on the palate. There are some strawberry yogurt notes on the back end along with some peppery wood spice that draws out the strawberry candy and black cherry-toned finish. Not rustic but perhaps a bit of a throw back style. Has its appeal, though. 89pts
Average price: $29.99 from 2 stores
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