Gregory Dal Piaz

Location: New York, NY

Exploring Aged Syrah 2012

Rank Wine Rating Price
1 Edmunds St. John Syrah Sonoma County (1988)
Comments: Tobacco, caper and a little funk and earth here with late arriving tea and lilac, some peppery spice as well. Very Northern Rhone. Little bottle sweetness, fully resolved tannins, a little lean and still has fine red fruit. Fruit is low intensity, but there’s plenty of wild cherry and red currant going on. This really has a sense of delicacy and class. It needs food at this stage as it’s a bit austere and lean. Smells lean but complex with a lovely nuance-filled palate impression. 88pts
Previously available for $45.00
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2 Etienne Guigal Cote Rotie Brune et Blonde (1988)
Comments: Old wood, a bit of minerality, dried fruit, lots of dried herb, Provençal herbs, black olives, a touch of sun dried tomato and smoke. A touch thin on the palate, this lacks some depth but does show fine acid and very soft tannins. Lovely pick up on the leathery, slightly gamy finish with surprising length. Some burnished dark almost nutty, toasted nut, cocoa plum fruit. Finishes with meaty flavors and austere tannins showing. Very solid but lacks an extra gear. 88pts
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3 Columbia Crest Syrah Columbia Valley Reserve (1994)
Comments: Lovely on the nose: wiry, gamy and very little brett, but what is there is leather and fresh barnyard. Very fresh, not sure I would call this domestic. Green peppercorn, smokey, intense and really impressive. The cigar and minty spice are powerful. Big and a touch sweet with bright acids, lots of red plum and lots of red fruit. Backed up with a nice herbal, pollen note. Finishes with bright acids, a bit too bright, and a lot of sweet tea. Much more on the nose, which is outstanding, palate is red currant and a touch lean. 89pts
Previously available for $17.00
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4 Swanson Syrah Napa Valley (1994)
Comments: Candied: a bit of root beer, licorice, deep gamy core, violet pastille, leather, peppery cinnamon and cigar box over a base of black olive juice. Very lean and focused, with plenty of sweet fruit that tends to the red end of the spectrum. Lots of cola, root beer, and cinnamon spice layered over a fine bed of dark, firm fruit. This finishes with intense inner mouth perfumes and decent length. Very perfumed, very New World but complex and rather friendly. Light powdery tannins persist on the finish. 91pts
Previously available for $56.25
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5 Delas Frères Hermitage les Bessards (1995)
Comments: Fermented tobacco, green olive juice and a nice touch of limestone. Elegant and refined in the mouth with early meaty, gamy juices followed by green tobacco, peppercorn, caper, herb, salt, black olive, mineral, smoke and stem. The structure here is rather light in appearance but firm in nature. The meat juice and green peppercorn notes linger on the long finish. Huge grapevine smoky scents and super fine tobacco smoke smells enchanting. Just a little lean on the mid-palate with chalky tannins on the finish, this feels at peak with a bit more to show. 92pts
Previously available for $250.49
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6 Charles Melton Shiraz Barossa Valley (1995)
Comments: Lovely nose, sweet and gently spicy with cinnamon, spice and leather. It has subtle mint, black raspberry, prune fruit and some face powder notes. A bit past peak, but with a fine mineral base and red fruit with some blueberry. Soft and opulent, this has real power on the short but voluminous finish. The nose seems to show some classic vanilla oak. Finishes with a bit of earthy bitterness. Chunky and a bit fudgy. 87pts
Previously available for $59.64
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7 Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage (1996)
Comments: Super fine, subtle game and herb notes, smoky dried beef, limestone dust, stem and smoke, like a pillow around my head. Bright and finely balanced, this is so elegant with great inner mouth energy. This is layered and bright, showing raspberry, light rare beef and spicy floral tones on a palate. Shows nice flesh growing to frame the acid. Lovely growing finish with real vinosity, yes this feels like real wine! 93pts
Average price: $274.95 from 1 store
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8 Columbia Winery Syrah Yakima Valley (1996)
Comments: Toasty marshmallow, red fruit, light cherry, a little mint, rare beef and kale. Has a soft entry and then big acids kick in. Not tremendous fruit left, though this is bright and focused, a touch roasty on the nose, a bit short and nicely balanced. Nothing out of place but not distinctive. A bit of cocoa and angular tannins round out the modest finish. 84pts
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