Gregory Dal Piaz

Location: New York, NY

Editor at Snooth Happy to answer all your wine related questions.

Top Premium Red Blends 7/2013

Rank Wine Rating Price
1 Ernie Els Big Easy Red (2011)
Comments: 61% Shiraz, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Grenache, 4% Cinsault, 4% Mourvedre, 4% Viognier Floral offering up both violets and honeysuckle along with a very immediate apricot note, with the lift of viognier coming through quite strongly and adding a nice accent to mineral and herb inflected, smoky, grilled meat and jammy black fruit aromas. Powerful and in a way quite fruity though neither sweet nor sticky in the mouth with solid underlying acids. This is a big wine but it remains transparent and lively in the mouth with layers of earthy black plummy and berry tinged fruit framed by a meaty, leathery aspect all supported by noticable but well judged oak spice and tannin. The finish is savory and a perhaps a touch rustic, though long with excellent persistence to the fruit and with the sweet note on the finale that a little viognier can add. This is really a lovely wine that should appeal to a wide audience. Great steak wine. 91pts
Average price: $17.99 from 76 stores
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2 Apex Cellars Red Blend the Catalyst (2010)
Comments: Tight and smoky and rather Syrah driven on the nose with dried thyme and olive notes along with mineral earth, smoke, black currant fruit and pipe tobacco. Bright juicy blackcurrant fruit dominates the plump and smooth palate with just enough fruity to buffer against the slightly austere tannins. A little meatiness and dried fruit graces the midpalate before this wraps up in a short, taut finish with a bit of drying wood tannin clipping it. Air brings out more Cabernet on the nose. lacks a bit of harmony today 87pts
Average price: $18.99 from 54 stores
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3 Brancaia Supertuscan Blend Toscana IGT Tre (2010)
Comments: Sangiovese, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon Softly twiggy and tea like on the nose with gentle undercurrents of oak spice adding some support and sweetness to the red cherry and raspberry aromas. Fairly light bodied in the mouth, this blends good acidity and slightly austere yet modest tannins with a slightly herbal shaded core of red fruit. A touch indistinct perhaps, this gains definition on the backend where fine dry red and black fruit flavors begin to emerge along with a hint of licorice. Dry and a bit short on the finish, this nonetheless invites another sip. A bit understated and with just a shade of elegance to the bright cherry fruit on the finish. This would be lovely with simply grilled lamb chops. 88pts
Average price: $19.99 from 297 stores
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4 Troublemaker Red Blend 3 Paso Robles (NV)
Comments: 50% Syrah, 20% Grenache, 10% Mourvedre, 10% Zinfandel, 10% Petite Sirah Pencil shavings and wood spice, accompanied by a little heat, greet the nose followed by understated and earthy black fruits along with a sweet candied violet floral top note. This is big, black and a bit chewy in the mouth with fairly significant tannins covered by the rich fruit. not particularly my style of wine but I can see the appeal and have to admit to enjoying this for what it offers. There’s well integrated wood here, and while the acidity is not obvious there’s enough of it to keep this from imploding in the mouth allowing it to fill the mouth with rich, chewy , dark blueberry fruit that shows excellent persistence on the long slightly spicy and slightly hot finish. Big, bold but not aggressive, this is going to make many people happy. Serve it with BBQ beef ribs. 88pts
Average price: $17.09 from 18 stores
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5 Tower 15 the Swell Red Blend (2010)
Comments: 31% Cabernet Sauvignon , 28% Malbec, 27% Merlot, 14% Petit Verdot Sweet and slightly gamy on the nose with hints of grilled lamb and bitter chocolate framing the core of violet tinged black cherry and black currant fruit that’s topped with a hint of mint and wood spice. Soft and broad on entry, this lacks a touch of focus in the mouth though it does show attractive black currant and cedary oak flavors with a fine base of wood tannins adding a bit of mouthgrab. The violet tone returns on the back end and make a brief appearance on the finish which is otherwise dominated by the wood tannins, which clip the finish a bit. A bit soft but not sweet. 87pts
Average price: $22.99 from 1 store
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6 Rhiannon (2011)
Comments: Petite Sirah, Barbera, Zinfandel Woody and slightly herbal on the nose with pencil lead, beef and faint black pepper aromas along with some low black cherry fruit. Big round and chewy in the mouth, this has a nicely chunky feel with rich black fruits and integrated wood spice in the mouth. theres a nice brambly accent to the black cherry fruit here along with a touch of pepper all highlighted by bright acidity which really drives the cherry fruit on the moderately long finish. A little bit on the fruity side but the solid acidity helps keep this from feeling too sweet. 87pts
Average price: $10.99 from 130 stores
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7 Bogle Vineyards Red Blend California Phantom (2009)
Comments: Zinfandel 52% - Petite Sirah 46% - Mourvèdre 2% Vanilla and blackberry jam greet the nose in a very direct way followed by hints of herb and carob along with sweet roasted plum fruit. This is soft and mouth coating with fine grained wood tannins that work their way into the crevasses of one’s mouth. A bit fat and fairly fruit with rich black cherry, black plum, and brown sugar flavors on the palate that give way to toasty, vanilla and cinnamon laced stewed cherry fruit on the moderately long and slightly peppery finish. 87pts
Average price: $20.99 from 3 stores
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8 Alamos Red Blend (2012)
Comments: Malbec, Bonarda, Tempranillo Low herbal and a bit spicy on the nose with note of blueberries and raspberries competing for one’s attention with some vanilla and wood toast notes. rather light and bright on entry, then this takes on a bit of weight on the mid-palate where it shows off chunky, plump but not heavy blueberry and blackberry flavors framed in rather obvious but fairly well balanced oak. This turns a bit dry and slightly austere on the finish, which helps to refresh the palate here as the fruit has sufficient staying power to eventually recover the tannins. It’s not fancy but this offers up nice fruit and good structure. I might try this with a slow cooked pork shoulder. 85pts
Average price: $10.99 from 365 stores
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  • 1048632ApophisAscended Very overpriced, but good. Paying for the name here.


  • 1048632ApophisAscended Phantom is a very good red blend. Again, should be priced in the 14.99 range, but at 19.99 it's a good buy for a try.


  • 874219Hoopie1 Pretty big Troublemaker fan



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