Gregory Dal Piaz

Location: New York, NY

Top Cabernet $50-$75 Tasted 12/13

Rank Wine Rating Price
1 Elyse Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Morisoli Vineyard (2007)
Comments: Very focused and precise on the nose with a fine oak sheen and chestnutty accents covering a core of lusciously ripe black fruits. In the mouth one discovers a fabulous texture, open, broad and clear on the palate, with lots of tannins here but it's well balanced with tons of ripe fruit. very black cherry, blackberry, Clean, precise black cherry, blackberry fruit fills the mouth yet this remains fairly elegant and long with a fine balance of almost jammy sweet fruit with brilliant freshness. The finish is long, showing off a fine blend of wood spice and candied black cherry all supported by super fine tannins. Probably will be at its best in 6-8 years. 94pts
Previously available for $55.99
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2 Trione Vineyards Alexander Valley Bordeaux Blend (2008)
Comments: Sweetly toasted spice on the nose is all about oak and a candy shop. Theres some blackberry fruit here but it more about the spice at this point. Very fresh on entry and bright with juicy acids and fine grained tannins supporting clear, fresh blackberry and cherry fruit that is wrapped up in a gauze of vanilla and oak spice. The oak is decidedly more obvious on the nose than the palate where this remains rather light and elegant with attractive underlying minerality on the rather long, juicy black berry and black cherry toned finish. This is very well balanced with good energy in the mouth. 93pts
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3 Sullivan Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford Napa Valley (2010)
Comments: Very fine layered aromas of violets, mint, integrated wood spice, black currants and a very fine hint of bell pepper greets the nose. Tight and reticent in the mouth, this does show great balance and good freshness to the fruit with the oak playing a lovely supporting role but the wine remains rather tightly coiled on the palate. The balance is great and with air this gains more depth and richness on the back palate and through the tight, dusty finish. There’s real depth and promise here, I would not prefer this tonight but it has everything and everything in balance to really develop into something special. Elegant and polished, it’s a little hot which detracts from it a bit but it’s still lovely. 93pts
Previously available for $70.00
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4 Kenwood Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Franc. Cabernet Sauvignon. Petit Verdot. Merlot. Syrah Sonoma County (2009)
Comments: Tight and slightly leafy on the nose with hints of black tea and tobacco layered over sweet edged black cherry and currant fruit. This shows attractive complexity already. Broad, supple and very well balanced in the mouth with an attractive transparent texture and rather [ure and bright black currant and mulberry flavors supported by well judged oak and some lovely tea and dried herb acetns. There’s some pencil lead that emerges on the backend where the wine shows more red cherry, sour cherry fruit before fading gently on the cedar and vanilla laced finish. Easy to drink but not facile, this will drink well early. 92pts
Average price: $15.99 from 3 stores
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5 T Vine DOC Gold Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley (2009)
Comments: Intense, over the top aromas of char, toast black spice, black tea, and with air a lovely braised herb note that adds gorgeous herbaceousness to the core of rich black currant fruit. Supple, and even a touch a soft in the modern style on the palate, this is powerful yet easy going, with lots of raspberry tinged black fruit on the palate and spicy oak driving the moderately long finish. Surprisingly good acids stick through the moderately long finish,which is decidedly oaky, but not sweet. This is quintessential modern Napa Cabernet, big, smooth, fruity and well balanced with plenty of oak but the intensity of fruit to handle it. Definitely not everyone’s cup of Cabernet, but if this is your style you’ll love it. 92pts
Previously available for $59.99
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  • 77883DM94523 I have to recommend the District Cabernet series from Raymond Vineyards. Each of these wines is from a specific AVA within the Napa Valley (Calistoga, Rutherford, Oakville, St Helena) and retails for around $75. Winemaker Stephanie Putnam (formerly of Far Niente) really knows her Cab!

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