Gregory Dal Piaz

Location: New York, NY

Top 8 Northern Rhone Reds

Rank Wine Rating Price
1 Dard Ribo & Crozes-Hermitage (2010)
Comments: Big, spicy dark raspberry fruit on the nose is filled with beef jerky, flowers, black pepper and green peppercorn accents along with a hint of Red Hots and a vanilla top note. Soft on entry, this is lively with bright acidity and crisp tannins on the mid-palate. The fruit here is downright alluring with lovely purity of raspberry and strawberry flavors, accented with a nice green peppercorn note and underlying gamy ground beef elements. This is pretty much ready to go and I would enjoy this sooner rather than later as it’s fairly loosely knit already. 90pts
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2 Cote Rotie Cote Rotie Vieilles Vignes Rouge Rouge Coteaux Eric Texier R (2010)
Comments: Sweet animal notes greet the nose followed by grilled meat, rose petal and spicy green cardamom seed and olive notes. The aromatics are really effusive here, adding in sour plum and red berried fruit with air. In the mouth, this is loose on entry, then it firms up quickly in the mouth with super fine-grained tannins and light, aromatic spicy red fruit in the mouth. The mid-palate turns a touch hollow at times but when the fruit does pop, with those oily seed and green olive notes, this shows excellent Syrah typicity and wonderful transparency right through the stony finish. This is fresh and well balanced, so 5-10 years in the cellar ought to allow this to reveal its true depth. Texier’s wines have generally surprised me on the upside so I’m willing to bet that this will be excellent. 90pts
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3 Viognier Domaine Barou A. O. C. St Joseph (2010)
Comments: This was decidedly open on the nose with sweet violet notes, hints of peach and grapefruit, all wrapped up in creamy red fruit, accented with spicy notes of rosemary, green tea, coffee and a hint of caramel. Over the course of the evening, these aromatics faded noticeably. On the palate, this is a touch dull and chunky with fairly significant tannins under plum and almost black cherry fruit. This is a crowd pleaser, but I found the palate to be a bit uninteresting, so the points came mostly from the wonderful aromatics. I wouldn’t wait too long to enjoy this. 89pts
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4 Gonon Pierre & Jean Saint-Joseph Pre Arrival (2010)
Comments: This was fairly complex on the nose with notes of roasted coffee bean, rose petals, a hint of orange oil and some hazelnut elements, over soft notes of green olive and black pepper beef. Balanced if a touch soft in the mouth, this is rambunctiously tannic at this young age but there seems to be enough stuffing to absorb the structure. There’s a lot to like here as the structure and fruit meld in the mouth giving this wine a rather sexy feel, but the tannins do plead for more time. Gonon’s wines blossom with age, so 4-10 years in the cellar should be in order here. 89pts
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5 Crozes-Hermitage Graillot (2010)
Comments: Rich and spicy on the nose with dark brambly fruit and incipient notes of black pepper, leather, violets and wood smoke all over a nice crushed granite base note. On entry, this is big and smooth with very fine, polished tannins and solid acidity keeping the broad palate impression lively and supporting sweet and sour wild berry fruit. The tannins build on the back end here, a little rustic and dusty, but this manages to retain an elegant, almost feminine feel. This will improve, particularly in light of Graillot’s track record. 88pts
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6 Saint Cosme Saint-Joseph (2010)
Comments: This started out tight and creamy on the nose, with air bringing out vanilla oak top notes over slight vegetal and herbal dark fruit aromas. Lean and focused in the mouth with nice, pure if slightly candied Syrah fruit up front. This turns drying on the short, slightly hot finish. A lot of chalky, dusty minerality emerges with air, but the wine does also get sweeter with that front-loaded fruit. 87pts
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7 Domaine Vincent Paris Cornas Granit 60 (2010)
Comments: Fairly oaky on the nose with notes of nutmeg and vanilla over tight floral base notes. I found this to be woody and dull. On the palate, the wine felt flat and tense, badly needing some time in the cellar to calm down the hard, mineral-laden flavors. The fruit did emerge a bit on the finish, but even there the flavors were more on the spicy side, further reinforcing the oaky impression this wine made. I’ve had several vintages of this wine and expect this to improve, but this did not impress me that much. 85pts
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8 Saint-Joseph Domaine Faury (2010)
Comments: This really smells great, high-toned and filled with stemmy, spicy aromas that accentuate the very well defined wild berry fruit. With air, this just gets better, offering up piercing violet notes, herbal accents of tarragon, spearmint and bay leaf all edged with tarry, smoky aromas. In the mouth, this is very well balanced with soft if chewy tannins and lovely depth to the sweet and sappy red fruit. There are layers of savory flavors on the palate and a long, gravelly element to the finish, which ends on a note of black plum skin and black raspberry fruit. The finish is moderately long with lovely floral lift on the finale. This is a little tense and nervous today but a few years in the cellar should really let this shine. 92pts
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  • 253137hugh27 Great Picks but I like the Boissonnet Condrieu, Belle Crozes Hermitage Les Pierelles, Alain Voge Cornas and Guy Farge Terroirsa de Granit as well and the price points in Canada are all under $50.00 with most in the mid $20s- also a few sleepers from Michel Mourier and Gilles Barge

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