Gregory Dal Piaz

Location: New York, NY

8 Top 2001 Riojas for Your Cellar

Rank Wine Rating Price
1 Bodegas Riojanas Monte Real Gran Reserva (2001)
Comments: Toasty and frankly woody on the nose, this reveals a lovely vanilla flavored candied cherry note with air and gains sweetness as it sits in the glass. A bit tough on entry with some raw tannins to sort out, there is a nice core of fruit here, red fruits and savory with a rustic edge that I find appealing. This is pretty structured with the acid becoming obvious on the palate and lending a cranberry tone to the moderately long finish which ends with some woody tannins and fine coconutty nuance. A tight and tough little wine but one that should blossom with several more years in the bottle. 90pts
Average price: $11.40 from 1 store
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2 La Rioja Alta Tempranillo Blend Rioja Viña Ardanza Reserva Especial (2001)
Comments: Light and elegant on the nose. Vanilla oak topped layers of leather, medicinal, minty, chalky and teriyaki dried beef elements accent a bright core of wild cherry. Smooth and rich in the mouth, this is powerful yet not that large. The berry fruit, both fresh and dried, is accented by earth and spice notes. A fine bitter cherry element drives the moderately long finish. This is brilliant, layered, structured, faceted and transparent. It’s about as good as it gets. 94pts
Average price: $164.99 from 2 stores
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3 Cvne Compania Vinicola del Norte de Espana Vina Real Reserva Rioja Tempranillo (2001)
Comments: Tight and reticent on the nose, this opens slowly to reveal a super fine shale and vanilla accented small cherry fruit. On the palate, this is tight but shows great richness and depth. The fruit is a wonderfully pure mix of raspberry and cherry pit, accented with touches of wood spice and asphalt. The finish shows building tannins that obscure a bit of detail, but this remains quite pure and elegant. Another wine that could use a few more years in the cellar to show its full potential, though this will be classically elegant and pure. 92pts
Previously available for $89.99
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4 R. López de Heredia Tempranillo Blend Rioja Reserva Viña Bosconia (2001)
Comments: Earthy and funky at first with eggshell and soil notes, this blossoms slowly with raspberry and wild strawberry tones accented with dried citron peel. Light and fresh in the mouth, this shows some nutty oak up front before laying down a pure, crisp mid-palate replete with crystal clear raspberry fruit. This is high acid without being acidic and displays rare elegance and finesse with its soft and rich yet bright mouthfeel. 93pts
Previously available for $39.95
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5 La Rioja Alta Tempranillo Rioja Gran Reserva 904 (2001)
Comments: Just a classic Gran Reserva on the nose with dill and vanilla from American oak layered under raspberry fruit with all sorts of dried thyme, barn floor, dried grass and earthy leathery nuances adding complexity. At first this is quite lean in the mouth, built an vibrant acids and modest if firm tannins, with air this gains weight on the palate and inklings of dark berry fruit start framing the core of tart red fruit. The backend begins to turn silky and gains the weight that adds some plushness to the finish. This is remarkable today for it’s perfume but still needs some time in bottle or decanter to show it’s best. 93pts
Average price: $34.83 from 21 stores
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6 Hermanos Peciña Hermanos Peciña Señorio de P. Peciña Vendimia Seleccionada Reserva (2001)
Comments: Dense and rich on the nose, this shows intense aromas of cut fruit, a big tobacco note, cut fresh plums, flowers, fresh herbal undertones, parchment, lots of fennel and a top note of rose petal. Very smooth yet powerfully built in the mouth with velvety rich, dark plummy fruit accented by a little bit of spice. This feels very luxurious and is packed with black cherry fruit that extends deep into a finish flecked with tobacco and dry mineral spice tones. The tannins here are supple yet packed in. The fruit makes this an excellent bet for the cellar. 93pts
Previously available for $42.00
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7 Cvne Imperial Rioja Gran Reserva (2001)
Comments: Dense and a bit smoky on the nose. There’s a nice sense of aromatic restraint to his, showing great integration of the wood and more depth and richness to the fruit than many other examples of 2001 Rioja. On the palate this is supremely elegant and filled with raspberry and cherry skin fruit all framed by suggestions of toasty coconut, leather, and some peppery, floral nuance. It’s a wonderfully balanced wine already, totally classic and one that should age for a very long time indeed. the finish is long, nuanced and has a lovely sweet tart thing going before the wood pops on the finale. A must have wine. 94pts
Average price: $27.07 from 3 stores
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8 Marques de Murrieta Castillo Ygay Gran Riserva (2001)
Comments: Sweet and intensely fruity on the nose. The jammy full red fruit recalls gummy bears! There’s integrate oak spice here that lends a rather cinnamon tone to the nose, but ultimately reveals a very deep and complex array of aromatics. A touch soft in the mouth, this exhibits lovely richness. The framing spices of the nose help to delineate the rich, powerful dark fruits on the palate. Shows a touch of dried plummy richness and remains a bit chunky and chewy through the modest finish. This is a wine of power and should improve with additional cellaring. 92pts
Average price: $106.15 from 1 store
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