Gregory Dal Piaz

Location: New York, NY

Top Portuguese Reds

Rank Wine Rating Price
1 Quinta de la Rosa Red Blend Douro (2007)
Comments: Dark and fruity on the nose with luscious dark chocolate accents and lovely smoke, dried herb and toasted spice top notes. This enters the mouth with a certain elegance, delivering rich fruit flavors that are fresh and precise with layers of leather, dried herb and mineral accents adding complexity. The tannins here are ripe and polished, making this quite smooth with enough acidity to keep things perky. The finish is long and complex with tobacco, chocolate and spice notes. A touch of black pepper accents the wild plum and dried cherry fruit. This is lovely and well put together with a slightly modern feel, but the flavors are firmly rooted in the Old World. This should continue to improve in the cellar for another 2-5 years. 91pts
Average price: $19.99 from 3 stores
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2 Alem Syrah/Touriga Nacional Vinho Regional Alentejano (2006)
Comments: Hugely herbal and meaty on the nose with plenty of oily, smoky oak, pencil lead, green olive and spicy black peppercorn accenting the tight red and black fruit. This slides right onto the palate with integrated acidity and polished tannins supporting early grilled meat and green olive flavors. Decidedly savory, there is no shortage of fruit here either. Sapid red berry and wild cherry fruit is topped with pink peppercorn spiciness across the palate. The back end reveals a lovely herb edge with a hint of something floral lingering on the moderately long and perfumed finish. The oak is present throughout but never takes the lead here and the lightly blueberry-tinged, savory fruit hangs on for the finish. Decidedly modern but also delicious with a hint of heat showing on the finale. 91pts
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3 Defesa Red Table Wine (2009)
Comments: Powerful and ripe on the nose with savory black olive and spicy peppercorn notes framing deep blackberry fruit with hints of vanilla and fresh cut cedar. Smooth and fairly rich on entry with a soft yet decisive mouthfeel. There's plenty of fruit here. Slightly dried berry fruit is framed with well judged oak and topped with herbal, savory black olive and beef jerky notes and late arriving candied elements. The finish is fairly vibrant and long with a touch of heat, nice, savory blue floral aromatics and a lingering chocolate cigar box spice note. This is a powerful wine and one that might benefit from 2-3 years in the cellar. 90pts
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4 Murcas Douro Rosa Assobio (2009)
Comments: Oaky and reticent on the nose with notes of bay leaf and African violet slowly rising from the glass, along with hints of dried plum and kirsch. This is a fascinating wine. It is oaky but neither heavy nor sweet, well-fruited but with the oak continuously making its presence known. The texture is quite attractive. Soft tannins and bright acidity make for a refreshing drink, but then the tannins show a bit of cocoa-dusted dryness before the slightly roasted strawberry and plum-like fruit pops on the mid-palate. The fruit reaches for the finish before the toasty oak spice and a light pepper overtake it once again. I'm usually not a fan of assertively oaked wines, but in this case it works quite well. Find the right food and you'll have yourself a winner here - I recommend a fatty roasted pig. 89pts
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5 Casal Branco Sociedade de Vinhos Sa Quinta Do Casal Branco Vinho Tinto Ribatejo (2007)
Comments: A bit dull on the nose yet fairly complex, offering up notes of grapefruit, herbs, a bit of poop, black olive, chipotle and black currant fruit, along with decidedly peppery oak notes and complex juniper nuances. While spicy on the nose, this is rather straightforward in the mouth with attractive, supple tannins and herb-framed wild cherry fruit. It's easy to drink with a touch of cocoa appearing late on the palate and dusting the light finish nicely. Not an intense wine but one that I find myself coming back to. The package is quite attractive in a classic, Old World kind of way. 86pts
Previously available for $10.00
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6 Rio Real Reserva Vinho Regional Lisboa (2008)
Comments: Tight and nutty on the nose with peppery spices and some cigar box notes over lightly mushroomy, black olive, blackberry fruit. This enters the mouth with plenty of tobacco and mushroom flavors. There's some nice herb tones here as well, all dominating the blackberry fruit. The tannins are lovely. They are small and just a bit angular, lending this some mouth grab with acidity that seems to be just short of spiky. It all contributes to a lively, medium-weight mouthfeel. The finish reveals plenty of fruit with pencil lead accents and more peppery spice, but this never really comes together in the mouth. Clumsy at this point, perhaps it will improve. Try it with game. 86pts
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7 Quinta da Cortezia Vinho Regional Estremadura Vinha Conchas (2008)
Comments: Fairly oaky on the nose but with attractive blackberry, dried rosemary and lightly roasted fruit aromas. This enters the mouth with a smooth, well integrated profile that shows no stickiness or excess of fruit. The richly fruited blueberry and blackberry tones add a bit of sweetness here. The texture is slightly coarse, as the wood tannins make their mark on the mid-palate, but the fruit powers through the back end. Ends fairly quickly on the finish, where the tannins turn oddly sweet in contrast to the final burst of blueberry syrup. This is a little tough but it is a lovely example of affordable, able wines that are dry and well structured. 85pts
Previously available for $6.99
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8 Quinta Do Encontro Vinho Tinto Bairrada (2008)
Comments: Powerful vanilla and fudge scents on the nose with sweet roasted aromas of root vegetables and sun-dried tomato, topped with light oak tones and some sweet herbal accents. This is smooth as silk in the mouth with polished tannins and decent acidity keeping the dark, dried fruit flavors fairly fresh. There are hints of cedary spice over dried date fruit and a nice splash of wild fruit, but late arriving wood tannins cut that short and contribute some splintery vanilla to the back end and the short, dry finish. Shows a touch of heat. 84pts
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9 Alentejo Vinho Tinto Pimenta (2007)
Comments: Pretty oaky on the nose with plenty of marshmallow vanilla over floral-accented blueberry fruit. Smooth and rather lightweight, this shows significant oak influence from the nutty, caramel cream accents and the blueberry and strawberry fruit in the mouth right through the decidedly peppery and slightly drying finish. Its pretty foursquare and honest feeling, just a bit too structured for the fruit on hand. 83pts
Previously available for $15.97
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10 Monte Velho Red Premier (2010)
Comments: A little earthy and spicy on the nose with some blue fruits and a hint of cow patty. Dried grass and herbs and a sprig of mint pop with air. On entry, this is fresh with some cut, but the tannins are a bit heavy here and dull the edge of the wine. The tannins also contribute a savoriness to the wine. Leather and earth cover the fruit to a fair extent and dry the finish. Rustic and kind of anonymous if fairly well integrated. 83pts
Previously available for $12.99
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  • 342828boccaccio Another great and under appreciated wines. Great with Beef. It is a must in the cellar.

  • 342828boccaccio A great little winery to visit in Portugal. They have a small B&B and you can dinner is available upon request. The grapes are foot stomped not machine crushed. Take your time to enjoy the wine and the view from the patio. It lives up to the 4 glass rating.

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