Gregory Dal Piaz

Location: New York, NY

Editor at Snooth Happy to answer all your wine related questions.

Top Cabernet $20-$25 Tasted 12/13

Rank Wine Rating Price
1 Mossback Cabernet Sauvignon Chalk Hill (2010)
Comments: Lovely dried chile, macerated dried herbs and smoky orange peel aromas greet the nose followed by some sweet, candied vanilla notes and a base of dark plummy fruit all topped with a perfumey note of flowers. Some early acids snaps this to attention and lends it great focus in the mouth. The flavors in the mouth are simpler than the nose but quite attractive in their own right, all red currant and faintly blueberry tinged with a nice edge of earth and wood spice. This is very well put together, nice acids which might be high for some palate, ripe yet firm tannins, all wed to a medium full bodied frame. The finish is perhaps a touch short, and this could probably improve a bit over the next 1-3 years, gains a bit of weight on the mid-palate and length but it's drinking well even today. Really quite delicious. 90pts
Average price: $19.95 from 1 store
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2 Canoe Ridge Cabernet Reserve Horse Heaven Hills (2010)
Comments: Pretty big on the nose and rich with black currant, spice, tobacco, burnt sugar, and earth. On the palate this is a bit softer than expected, with rich, lovely red currant fruit, dusty tannins, and leafy edges. Bright and gaining focus in the mouth, exhibiting nice cut and energy, this is so clean, fresh, and juicy with tangy cranberry and raspberry tones on the finish and slightly edgy tannins sneaking out through the finale. Lots of fun but perhaps lacking just a bit of depth. 89pts
Average price: $20.99 from 34 stores
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3 Silver Palm Cabernet Sauvignon (2010)
Comments: Showing nice balance on the nose with obvious toasted spice, burnt sugar oak notes immersed in aromas of macerated dried herbs, dried flowers and black currant fruit with a hint of black tea adding some detail. A touch low acid on entry, this is broad and fairly rich in the mouth with a luxurious, plush feel to it. the fruit is nicely presented, fresh plum, blueberry and cranberry flavors with a subtle oak framing note and some wood tannins and vanilla sugar accenting the moderately long finish. Pretty elegant and with obvious textural appeal. I would drink this sooner rather than later as the wood tannins are a bit much for the fruit but for a near term Cabernet this should prove to be very popular. 89pts
Average price: $17.39 from 18 stores
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4 Cliff Creek Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Sams Valley Vineyard (2007)
Comments: Smokey and noticeably oaky on the nose but at the same this packs in lots of fresh black currant fruit and candied blueberry fruit. There is a lot of tobacco and sweet baking wood spice here though. Bright and relatively high acid on entry, there's an early slap of sweet wood spice, which remains an underlying factor through the palate, but this is rich with fresh wild blueberry and red currant fruit, even a bit of wild strawberry on the palate as well. It's a bright, fresh and slightly rustic style that finishes with a nice blend of fruit and wood spice, showing really fine length and a bit of mint on the finale. Very distinctive and quite good. 89pts
Average price: $24.00 from 1 store
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5 Kenwood Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Jack London Vineyard Sonoma Valley (2010)
Comments: Herbal and perfumed on the nose with a nice undercurrent of bell pepper topped by floral note of Iris, a bit of vanilla cream, black earth, black cherry and black currant fruit. A bit rustic one entry, then quickly smoothing out and showing fine power behind the flavors of black cherry, subtle oak, earthy and dried herbs. The tannins are present but soft and the acid well integrated into this moderately large scaled wine. The fruit remains rather fresh and clear in the mouth, all black currant and black cherry driven with a bit of a mineral edge emerging on the long, plum and earth tinged finish. This could use some time in the cellar 2-3 years to help further integrate the tannins but it's drinking pretty well already and will only get better. 89pts
Average price: $24.99 from 220 stores
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6 Justin Cabernet Sauvignon (2010)
Comments: Big dried fruit and roasted herb aromas greet the nose followed by truffly and mushroomy accents to the over-ripe fruit all layered over spicy oak. Surprisingly light one entry, this is rich with black and red fruits that show a less pronounced sense of over-ripeness than is found on the nose, though a bit of aromatic pruniness marks the palate. The wine is surprisingly medium bodied with ripe, slightly chewy tannins supporting gently medicinal cherry fruit and a nice caramel and vanilla edge on the backend leading to a moderately long, dark macerated cherry fruit, tamarind tinged, and wood spiced finish. Not my style of wine but one that is well done for its type and will have broad appeal for it. 88pts
Average price: $24.99 from 5 stores
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7 Yalumba the Cigar Coonawarra (2010)
Comments: Spicy and leathery on the nose, this has a lovely earthen edge to the oak used here and shows a gentle underlying vanilla notes. Almost sweet on entry, there's a terrific wave of rich fruit here that flows across the palate with candied blueberry, blue plum and sassafras flavors that pick up a minty edge on the back end. It's a fairly big wine, well endowed with ripe tannins that pop on the moderately long finish which returns to the leather and older wood of the nose. The alcohol tickles my nose a touch but doesn't show up on the palate. An intense bottle of wine for the money with surprising energy considering the wine's size. 88pts
Average price: $30.26 from 3 stores
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8 Ancient Peaks Cabernet Sauvignon (2010)
Comments: Very perfumed with plenty of toasty oak on the nose laid over spicy black fruit that shows a touch of a baked character like blackberry pie filling. Smooth and rather well focused in the mouth. Attractive and fresh blueberry and blackberry fruit flavors glide across the palate backed up by subtle green herb tones and spicy, cedary oak. The tannins are a bit angular today, adding mouth grab to the medium plus bodied wine that end with refreshing austerity on the moderately long fresh fruited finish. This is clear on the palate and bright, and while it's a bit simple it's also varietal correct and shows a fine judicious use of oak. 87pts
Average price: $21.49 from 3 stores
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9 Canoe Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon the Expedition (2011)
Comments: Interesting aromatics feature a bit of violet and iris along with some earthy root vegetables and peppery nuances under blueberry and black currant fruit sweetened with a nice dose of gingery wood spice. Smooth and polished in the mouth with a very fine vegetal edge that recalls beet roots with it's blend of earthy and sweet elements adding some detail to a palate that shows plenty of blue fruit and floral character. Rather medium weight with some stiff underlying tannins lending this a firm feel that is contrast to the rather bright, fresh fruit on the palate. Very refreshing and frankly a bit austere, finishing with some wood sweetness and a touch of citrus peel. This is an attractive wine at this price point. 87pts
Average price: $16.99 from 3 stores
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10 Edge Cabernet Sauvignon North Coast (2010)
Comments: While rather sweet smelling on the nose, with lots of toasty, cinnamon streaked accents, there’s also plenty of blackberry and blue fruit here with cool inky nuance, a little peppery spice and fine integrated cedary oak notes., Fairly rich on entry, then turning nicely focused in the mouth with seamless integration and lovely purity to the core of black fruit on the palate. Fairly tannic, yet remaining supple in the mouth this shows good persistance to the fruit, though lacks some of the appealing complexity that the nose promises. 87pts
Previously available for $17.95
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  • 150558moldavi33 I'd like to add Educated Guess to this list. Phenomenal Cab for $20-$25, drinks more like a $40 bottle. Napa fruit, but not overly extracted, and pretty well structured, to boot. Gimmick-y label, but don't let that dissuade you; it's very, very good.


  • 89065Gregory Dal Piaz Good call Moldavi. A very attractive wine!


  • 12988261206gene I still think the H3 ( Horse Heaven Hills ) cab from Columbia Crest is one of the best bargain cabs around, with plenty of cab character for $11.69 to $15, depending upon where you buy it.


  • 89065Gregory Dal Piaz Absolutely gene. I serve it blind on occasion and it has no problem keeping up with $20-$25 Cabs. Thanks for the suggestion.


  • 1145575wolfarthe Anything from Waterbrook! Great producer at affordable prices. Merlot is even better than their cabs.



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