Gregory Dal Piaz

Location: New York, NY

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Top Super Premium Chardonnay Tasted 7/2013

Rank Wine Rating Price
1 Gary Farrell Russian River Chardonnay (2010)
Comments: Smokey and dry on the nose with a rather transparent quality that allow the wood to come through quite distinctly but it’s very fine wood, not sweet and toasty barrel, paired with gentle floral, butter and spice accents. Relatively rich on entry, this packs superb acids and opens with very ripe yet very fresh apple and almost honeydew melony fruit backed up well integrated wood spice that carries the wine onto the long, zesty notably vibrant and peach toned and spicy finish. This is really gorgeous today with a fine combination of power, vibrancy and depth, my only knock is that it does show a touch of heat on the long finish. 93pts
Average price: $32.99 from 5 stores
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2 Topel Chardonnay Reserve Classique Mendocino (2009)
Comments: Bright and high toned on the nose with a very fine overlay of oak, a hint of green tea and layers of marzipan, dried orange peel and sweet apple fruit. Bright acids appear on entry followed by a little buttered toast with green apple fruit that gains hints of apple butter, toasted hazelnut and lemon curd on the midpalate. This offers up a lovely mouthfeel, blending brightness with a light leesy richness yet remain fresh and precise through the moderately long finish. 93pts
Previously available for $35.00
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3 Paul Hobbs Chardonnay Russian River Valley Crossbarn (2011)
Comments: Toasty with plenty of vanilla and spice notes helping to support clean tea, almond, and beautiful floral aromas. Medium full on entry with a leesy richness, and a bit of sweetness from the oak, the midpalate here shows good verve,full of lemon rind and exotic citrussy fruit flavors framed with a bit of peppery spice. Retaining great focus in the mouth with its lean, firm structure, this is really vivid right through the , long tart finish that features nice minerality with a hint of ginger spice. 93pts
Average price: $46.99 from 13 stores
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4 Frank Family Chardonnay Reserve Lewis Vineyard Carneros (2011)
Comments: Definite jump up in intensity on the nose over the base bottling here with rich aromas of and complexity, almond, peach, buttery croissant, peach pie and pecan pie. Rich in the mouth, and downright powerful in fact, there’s lots of depth here to the rich suave fruit. Flavors lean towards the apricot end of the spectrum with framing notes of almonds and peach pie that helps to tighten up the long, gently spicy finish. This is large scaled but retains really fine balance that keeps the wine lively and refreshing. Not my style but really well done. 93pts
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5 Stuhlmuller Vineyards Estate Chardonnay (2011)
Comments: With a nose slightly marked by barrel fermentation aromas this remains impressively dry and savory, filled with notes of hay and lightly toasted oatmeal framing very pretty pear and crab apple fruit. With lovely purity and freshness on the palate, this combines super bright acids with lovely old wood textural notes yielding a wine that features super ripe fruit that reveals the cool climate nature of the vintage with it’s tart pineapple, lime and and pear flavors. Just so clear and pure on the palate, this is California ripe but with etched structure, and a long, tense finish that gain a fine almond note on the finale. Very much in my wheelhouse! 93pts
Average price: $22.99 from 29 stores
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6 Topel Chardonnay Classique Mendocino (2010)
Comments: Aromatically tight and narrow with a decidedly lemon oil nose that has a slightly floral almost lemon verbena top note. Tense in the mouth with almost a little Chablis character with a touch of stones on the midpalate contrasted against the core of fresh pineapple and lime fruit. There’s a touch of autolytic character on the back end followed by a long finish with excellent tension though perhaps a touch evolved with a hint of wood tannin and toast on the finale. 92pts
Previously available for $40.00
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7 Patz & Hall Chardonnay Dutton Ranch (2011)
Comments: Bright and juicy on the nose with note of lime, peach, caramel and a hint of flint under the nutmeg top notes. This is elegant and rich with lots of power but at the same time there is a lovely sense of transparency and lift to the palate. Rich with lightly toasty and honied orchard fruits, the deft use of oak here leaves only attractive framing notes supporting the fruit. The acidity is nicely integrated but firm, adding the needed backbone to help drive the mineral tinged flavors through the long, layered finish. 91pts
Average price: $36.99 from 11 stores
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8 La Crema Russian River Valley Chardonnay (2011)
Comments: Fresh and a bit tart on the nose with green apple, baked apple and spicy wood aromas. This enters the mouth with racy acids that keep a palate full of sweet toasty oak spice, baked apple, ripe kiwi and lime curd flavors quite lively. Offering a nice combination of bright open knit textures and moderately rich flavors, this stumbles a bit on the modest finish which shows floral leesy character and a nice pop of minerality on the final. 89pts
Average price: $27.99 from 21 stores
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  • 917215ScottAdams56 I'm a fan of the 2008 Gundlach Bundschu Chardonnay from the Sonoma Coast. Comes very close to comparable with Rombauer, my all-time favorite for the oakey/buttery chards.


  • 1319886Mauikim Are these wines available in n atlanta?


  • 1298842Jerry Airheart I've tasted the La Crema Chardonnay and they are excellent choices.


  • 1061054MrClogg Though it is not a California Chardonnay, I'd would like to give credit to an incredibly good Chardonnay from New York's Benmarl winery, in the Hudson Valley. Their 2011 Apis Chardonnay, which underwent a brief maceration and minimal oak, creates a rich, full bodied cool climate Chardonnay comparable to a lot of the great Californian chardonnays.



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