Gregory Dal Piaz

Location: New York, NY

Top Five Domestic Sangiovese

Rank Wine Rating Price
1 Girasole Vineyards Sangiovese Mendocino County (2009)
Comments: Rather minty and floral on the nose with a base note of gingerbread cookie, a hnt of wet dog, and some wiry cranberry tones. On the palate this is light bodied but has a lovely combination of acidity, ripe lean tannins, and transparent yet sweet fruits. The flavors run toward raspberry and amarena cherry with a nice soil tone and some dried herb stem details. The finish is bright and lively, full of sour cherry and refreshing acidity. A good value at this price. 88pts
Average price: $23.95 from 2 stores
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2 Field Stone Sangiovese Alexander Valley Lucio's Block (2009)
Comments: This is a bit tight on the nose with lots of licorice, light toast and cranberry character on the nose, with big, floral fennel seeds. Round and opulent in the mouth but is bright and clear as a bell. Love this texture. Tall and tense on the tongue, the acids and fine if angular tannins all fall in line to support fine Craisin/wild cherry fruit that is clear and fresh if ripely sweet. This is exuberant with a bit of wood tannin appearing on the finish, which shows some sour plum and cherry pit tones that are enlivened by the wine’s rather bright acid. This is really appealing, perhaps not the nose varietal Sangiovese, though who really knows, this might be the terroir speaking. Nonetheless this is delicious. 92pts
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3 Pietra Santa Sangiovese (2008)
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4 Frank Family Vineyards Sangiovese Rutherford Reserve (2009)
Comments: There’s a fine iron-rich leafy green note that greets the nose, followed by some spicy wood tones, a bit of prosciutto and black currant fruit, all wrapped in a generally sweet nose. Medium-bodied and almost elegant on entry with that lovely herbal counter point running straight through the red currant, red cherry toned mid-palate. This has good focus and fine balance, with a lovely harmony between wood spice notes, vanilla and red fruits that are touched with a hint of dried citrus peel. The finish turns nicely astringent with a slight mineral element adding cut and definition. Good length and fine balance mark the finish which ends with a bit of pomegranate. 91pts
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5 Benessere Estate Sangiovese (2007)
Comments: Firm, slightly candied black cherry fruit greets the nose followed by liquory strawberry fruit, strawberry seeds, damp cigar and low herbal notes, with hints of cocoa, nutmeg and crystallized flowers. Very polished in the mouth, this starts out with some graham cracker and marshmallow notes that lead to a mid-palate full of wild strawberry and cherry fruit. The oak spice recedes but doesn’t fully disappear and adds some nice detail. The palate doesn’t quite live up to the expectations set by the nose, but the finish shows that this remains quite youthful and well balanced, with a bed of low but firm tannins that need to resolve a bit more for this to show all it has got. Already, it is quite perfumed and really silkily textured. 90pts
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