Gregory Dal Piaz

Location: New York, NY

Top Premium Pinot Noir tasted 11/13

Rank Wine Rating Price
1 Champ de Reves Pinot Noir (2010)
Comments: Rather seductively perfumed on the nose with lots of underbrush, root beer candy and coriander accents to the core of deep raspberry coulis fruit all topped with a fresh vegetal note that recalls fennel. Rich and chewy in the mouth and endowed with powerful, dark fruit, though this remains transparent on the palate. there are really beautiful faceted black fruit flavors on the palate cut by decisive mineral notes and all layered over well judged wood. It’s got a super blend of savory and fruity going on right through the long finish which retains enough tannin to make this very food friendly. Muscular yet elegant, this could still improve in the cellar for another 3-5 years. 92pts
Average price: $43.29 from 1 store
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2 Gloria Ferrer Pinot Noir Carneros (2010)
Comments: Perhaps a touch hot or just peppery on the nose with some warm forest floor and baking spice notes framing plump black cherry fruit. There is a pepperiness here, a bit in the herbal register. Smooth like silk on entry, this enters the mouth surreptitiously and then appears on the mid palate with pretty good focus and clarity to the herb and forest floor inflected red cherry and cranberry fruit that barely covers a bit of aggressive wood tannins and picks up gentle wood spice notes on the backend. The finish shows some attractive texture, a bit of stem herbal quality and fine grained wood tannins all coming together with fine persistent if showing a touch of rusticity. Shows some power built on a spice of well judged acidity and complexity in a style that would benefit from food, a fine candidate for pairing with planked salmon. 88pts
Average price: $29.69 from 1 store
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3 Faiveley Mercurey Clos des Myglands (2010)
Comments: A touch minty on the nose at first, then this displays more of smoky, earthy note with subtle notes of meaty, dark berry fruit framed with notes of rust, vanilla, and dried ginger. Smooth, fairly rich and polished with a real fine core of nervous acidity supporting earthy and slightly leather burnished cherry fruit. There’s a lovely dark soil tone, mineral and iron flecked on the midpalate that cuts the liquory wild black raspberry fruit here. Elegant and restrained on the backend this finish with a lovely flush of red fruit, apple peel and earthy floral aromas on the long, subtle and refined finish. Tense and taut this will no doubt improve though there is no problem enjoying this today. 90pts
Previously available for $36.99
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4 J. Lohr Pinot Noir Vineyard Series Fog's Reach (2011)
Comments: Big black cherry, vanilla and cola notes greet the nose along with nuanced smoky, toasty oak, black currant jam and a bit of clove. A bit less intense than the nose suggest, this is none the less a fairly rich wine though one with plenty of acidity keeping it lively in the mouth. Packed with black cherry and black raspberry fruit over some stone nuances and wrapped in a vanilla and cream gauze this is sure to be a crowd pleaser. It’s just a touch chewy in the mouth with the wood tannins showing up a bit on the moderately long, wood spiced finish but this checks all the boxes. 90pts
Average price: $39.49 from 2 stores
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5 Eyrie Vineyards Eyrie Vineyards Pinot Noir (2010)
Comments: Earthy, spicy and a little meaty on the nose with lots of beet root and old wood aromas. Rich and almost lush on entry with super acids perking up the midplate and supporting lovely wild raspberry and slightly red curranty fruit. The tannins are ever so edgy, adding some mouthgrab here. This is elegant and refined with a sneaky sweetness to the pure red berry fruit flavors framed with subtle savory notes earth and tea tones. It’s thoroughly engaging though it’s a touch simple and finishes a bit short with some dryness. Has a blend of lightness and palate stickiness that is hard to find. Could certainly improve, as it does over the course of an evening. 90pts
Average price: $31.99 from 1 store
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6 Crossbarn Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast (2012)
Comments: Sweet toasty oak spice frames fresh and bright dried herb laced smoky black cherry fruit on the nose with gentle toasted coriander accents. A bit dense in the mouth, rich with wild raspberry fruit and almost chewy with soft, supple tannins. This is a fine example of a ripe wine that shows some restraint. The flavors build in the mouth gaining a hint of blackcurrant on the mid-palate with fine mineral and pomegranate seed accents leading to a moderately long, smooth and polished finish. It’s a relatively larger scaled Pinot but it doesn’t lack freshness of elegance, right through the fine, almost sandy finish. Shows a whisper of heat and a little spiciness on the finish. 91pts
Previously available for $42.99
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7 Trione Pinot Noir Russian River Valley (2010)
Comments: Compact on the nose with an underlying salinity/seashell character to the sweet tobacco laced dark berry, mulberry fruit on the nose. Rich and seamless in the mouth with juicy acidity and polished, ripe tannins wrapped up in a blanket of black raspberry and mulberry fruit. This is tight, and shows some obvious wood on the backpalate that the fruit has yet to cover. The wood adds a nice aspect to the black cherry fruit as it emerges on the backend and on the moderately long, firm and focused finish. This is not ready. Texturally it’s ready for dinner but it is definitely holding something in reserve on the palate. It does show a touch of heat on the finish. 91pts
Previously available for $37.00
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8 Byron Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir (2011)
Comments: Floral with raspberry and cranberry fruits on the nose along with dry, sandy soil tones and some lovely smoky herb and beet root accents. Light on the palate and rather mouth filling if not weighty with aromatic light red fruits that show fine floral and herbal accents. Gaining lovely sweet tea nuance on the backend and finishing with fine grained if slightly dry tannins this offers an attractive blend of freshness, complexity, and a texture that is light but grounded by tannins. Subtle and lovely. This really is fairly tannic in a gentle sort of way. Love the texture. 91pts
Average price: $29.49 from 2 stores
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  • 388663EMBA97 My favorite Pinots are Belle Glos' Meiomi within that price point.

  • 1314139GEM Belle Glos Pinot Noir Las Alturas 2010 a good value at $39

  • 1441301Michelle Dean Soquel Vineyards Pinot Noir deserves a taste if you haven't done so already. The 2005 was amazing but I don't think you could find a bottle of that anymore!!!

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