Gregory Dal Piaz

Location: New York, NY

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Ridge Vineyards

Rank Wine Rating Price
1 Ridge Estate Chardonnay (2011)
Comments: Bottled just three weeks prior to tasting, this would probably show better after being allowed to settle down a bit. The nose is fairly oaky in a nutty vein, with a little banana and lemon balm fruit streaked with chalky mineral notes. Light and fresh in the mouth, this is round but with fine acidity. The fruit is estery in a little Fruit Stripe gum kind of way, and the finish shows some wood tannin. Not yet tightly knit, this is fruity up front and then woody on the back end. 87 points
Average price: $43.99 from 117 stores
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2 Ridge Chardonnay Estate (2010)
Comments: This is so nuanced and complex, with layers of apple butter, flowers, lemon pith and butcher’s wax on a softly seductive nose. The palate shows excellent elegance and superb balance, with lovely minerality running from the front right through the long finish. The fruit is subtle here, but shows nice complexity with decidedly fresh green apple and faint apricot and lemon tones that lead to a finish that tightens up just a touch. 92 points
Average price: $37.99 from 2 stores
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3 Tenuta Chiccheri Monte Precastio Chardonnay Chardonnay Italy Veneto (2004)
Comments: This has a lovely nose that shows some early maturity with sweet, tobacco accents over a base of gentle black spice and smoke-tinged blackcurrant fruit. Bright acidity on entry leads to a rather gentle mid-palate that shows off very clear blackberry and red currant fruit formed with suggestions of wild herbs. This is a touch simple, yet remains clear and bright in the mouth. 88 points
Average price: $143.55 from 9 stores
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4 Ridge Monte Bello Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon (2005)
Comments: This is tight, lean and focused on the nose, with a rich core of vanilla-laced blackberry that is almost beefy in its intensity. There’s a hint of nutty oxidation here as well as layers of candle wax, tobacco, pencil shavings and dried chili aromas. Elegant and so well balanced on the palate, this delivers juicy black fruits framed with hints of baking spices and brambly fruit, all supported by ripe if very gently dusty tannins that add just a hint of chewiness to the long finish. This fruit is gorgeous, perfectly ripe, fruity and yet with great complexity. 92 points
Average price: $134.99 from 11 stores
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5 Ridge Monte Bello Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon (2006)
Comments: Tight and still quite oaky on the nose, with inky fruit, black spice notes and nuanced tea and tobacco aromas. Soft, broad and quite generous in the mouth, this lacks the tension of the 2005 and a little of the complexity as well, though it does offer up ripe dark berry fruit that shows a little chocolate, mocha edge through the moderately long finish. 88 points
Average price: $139.99 from 45 stores
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6 Domaine Fourrey et Fils Bourgogne Domaine Fourrey Premier Cru Mont de Milieu Chablis Premier Cru Blanc Sec Chardonnay (2007)
Comments: Big black currant greets the nose accented with hints of a little truffle, black plum, cardamom and briar. This smells smooth and polished. Ripe tannins and fine acidity define the palate which shows off transparent, perfectly ripe black fruits. This is lively and detailed in the mouth, though the wood tannins seems to pinch the mid-palate just a touch at this stage. The finish is long and juicy, with a nice sweetness to help carry it through. 91 points
Average price: $41.99 from 20 stores
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7 Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Cruz Mountains Estate (2008)
Comments: ight and reticent on the nose which shows hints of dusty minerals and very fine leather and pencil notes with some late to arrive crushed red currant notes. In the mouth this is surprisingly opulent and ripe with lots of rich black currant fruit. There’s seemingly less tannin here than in previous vintages, even though the tannins appears to be a bit dryer in nature. Elegant and pure, this shows off a big pop on the finish which then fades away with a gentle toasted oak sweetness. 89pts
Previously available for $189.00
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8 Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Cruz Mountains Estate (2009)
Comments: Mostly oaky spice on the nose, which is tight but does slowly reveal hints of crushed blackcurrant and blackberry fruit. This is a bit dense and closed in on itself, but there is a gorgeous core of red and black fruit here and really lovely ripe tannins as well as integrated acidity that keeps this fresh and lively in the mouth. The finish shows typical wood spice notes, but there is a trailing hint of minerality here as well as a fine depth of fruit and rich, soft texture. This needs a few years, but is going to be really attractive. 92 points
Previously available for $45.49
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9 Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Santa Cruz Mountains (2010)
Comments: Perhaps a little under-ripe on the nose but at the same time this is quite focused with floral framed, fleshy red fruits that are tart and candied smelling with coconut accents. Bright and precise in the mouth with a touch of oak early on the palate followed by an austere and fresh feel. Smaller scaled with crisp black and red fruits supported by bright acids and fresh little tannins that add energy and length to the finish Just lovely 92pts
Average price: $49.99 from 5 stores
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10 Ridge Merlot Estate (2009)
Comments: The first Ridge Estate Merlot since 1997. Big, black and fruity on the nose with a nice toasty top note and spicy accents. Smooth and plump in the mouth, but not at all soft. This shows an early hint of caramel followed on the palate by lovely plummy fruit that’s supported by notably bright acidity and rich, slightly chewy tannins. A Merlot to age, at least for a little while. 89 points
Average price: $48.99 from 6 stores
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