Gregory Dal Piaz

Location: New York, NY

Top Wine Values of 2011

Rank Wine Rating Price
1 Alta Luna Cavit Pinot Noir (2009)
Comments: Minor smoke notes and firm minerality greet the nose backed up with strawberry and cherry fruit and a suggestion of dry wood. Rather medium bodied this offers up a nice blend of cranberry/strawberry/raspberry fruit in a modestly rich, bright style that shows off a hint of wood spice on the palate then gains a modestly richer impression of tobacco leaf and an insinuation of mocha on the moderately long raspberry/strawberry finish. Fairly reminiscent of a nice Bourgogne. 87pts
Previously available for $12.00
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2 Round Hill Chardonnay (2010)
Average price: $9.99 from 3 stores
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3 Tortoise Creek Chardonnay Central Coast Jam's Blend (2009)
Previously available for $11.60
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4 Borsao Berola (2008)
Average price: $15.99 from 3 stores
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5 Almira 'Los Dos Old Vines' Grenache-Syrah Almira Campo de Borja Dry Red Table Wine (2009)
Average price: $7.99 from 4 stores
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6 Diseño Malbec (2010)
Previously available for $8.99
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7 Vina Palaciega Rioja Crianza (2007)
Comments: Low and a bit heavy on the nose, with a deep core of dark wood underlay, with chocolate dipped cherry fruit and some coconut and mint accents. This is light and fresh on the palate with lovely brightness. The tannins are well balanced, adding some mouthgrab to what seems at first to be a rather lightweight wine. With air, more fruit emerges in a sort of macerated raspberry/strawberry vein with a lovely bright note, maybe combining a touch of chalk with some unripe strawberry. That unripe strawberry arrives on the finish as well, which is rather long and well structured. A background of aromatic oak supports a combination of fresh and dried red berry fruit. This is lovely Crianza, expressive but lean and taut. 89pts
Previously available for $10.99
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8 Santa Carolina Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva de Familia (2008)
Comments: Lots of perfumed baking spices and vanilla on the nose. Hints of lavender and ivy accent the core of dark wild cherry fruit that shows hints of juniper. Exceptionally smooth on entry with a dusting of powdery tannins which work their way through the dense fruit in the mouth. The acid is present but a bit in the shadows. Powerful extracted dark espresso tinged fruit emerges on the mid-palate with a nice back note of mineral. This is almost tarry in the mouth with some menthol character and nicely aromatic fruit that recalls the nose. Very polished and yet very powerful with dry, almost savory fruit. 91pts
Previously available for $7.49
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9 Cz Alamos Cabernet Sauvignon (2009)
Previously available for $11.36
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10 Zenato Pinot Grigio Venezie IGT (2010)
Average price: $19.99 from 2 stores
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11 Aromo Estate Bottled Maule Valley (2009)
Comments: A bit dank and carob like on the nose with softly vegetal aromas that recall dusty old books along with wet forest floor and a hint of mint. Smooth on entry, yet fairly bright, this shows off a nice blend of herbal red currant fruit and earthy and nutty oak notes in the mouth. There's a bit of vanilla that creeps in on the backend that gives this a bit of a simple fruit, sweet oak/vanilla feel to it, but the oak and tobacco notes on the dry finish sweep much of that away. A tale of two wines. 84pts
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12 Monte da Cal Alentejo (2007)
Comments: A very direct note of sweet, toasty oak almost wrapped in sweet black fruit; but this is just a spice rack on the nose with nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and dried ginger galore. There is a nice bed of black raspberry fruit lurking under the surface. With air, the spice does dissipate revealing more fruit with an attractive leathery edge. In the mouth, this is a bit stiff with vibrant acids and some imposing wood tannins framing the minerally, tense, almost hard fruit. This is oakier than I generally enjoy but the fruit shows remarkable energy, all things considered. There’s a lot of spicy toasty oak on the back end as well, but the fruit remains there just under the surface. Medium-bodied with a traditional feel and modern flavors, a good wine to try if you like Bordeaux. At this price, a ridiculous value. 89pts
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