Gregory Dal Piaz

Location: New York, NY

Top Value Shiraz Tasted 3/14

Rank Wine Rating Price
1 Six Hats Shiraz (2012)
Comments: Oddly herbal in a composty and medicinal king of way, I find this to be unusual but attractive in its complexity and like the other South African Syrah in this tasting this is showing a distinctive character that is very possibly distinctive South African terroir. Or a dollop of Pinotage added to the blend. A touch candied with some vanilla nuance and a bit of tobacco emerging with air, along with black pepper notes that help to highlight the plummy, black currant fruit here. A bit thick on entry, though with pretty good clarity in the mouth, this is a rather solid wine in the mouth, seamless if a bit shapeless. there’s attractive cherry and boysenberry fruit on the palate framed with very subtle vanilla and black pepper notes that lead to a fresh finish that shows good nervous energy and lingering black currant, plum, and gently spicy flavors. Distinctive, easy to drink, but not at all facile. 88pts
Average price: $9.98 from 1 store
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2 Yalumba Shiraz Y Series (2012)
Comments: A bit tight on the nose but with impressive clarity to the blackberry, black currant fruit that is underlain with nuanced vanilla, tobacco, caramel, and black pepper aromas. A bit chewy on entry, and showing a bit of reticence though ari brings out spicy, zesty black currant and boysenberry flavors on the palate that are framed with hints of mint, meat, black spice and vaguely stemmy, medicinal accents. The tannins have just a hint of youthful edginess and the acids are nicely integrated lending this a slightly rustic yet fresh appeal in the mouth. The finish turns slightly floral at first, then darker with rich, fresh fruit character of crushed berries and spiced plums barely dusted with black pepper spice and through it all this retains transparency and freshness in the mouth. Eminently drinkable. 88pts
Average price: $10.44 from 1 store
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3 Stonecap Syrah (2011)
Comments: Lovely aromatics of macerated herb stems, grilled beef, violets, sweet wood spice and a hint of minerality come together on the finely balanced and focused nose. A hint of sweetness accentuates the wild cherry and maraschino cherry fruit this shows on entry, along with a hint of vanilla but this quickly gains a bit of tension in the mouth, showing a more faceted texture. The flavors are a bit simple after the nose but attractive with clear and wild berry and plum fruit. This is really very well balanced and show good scale in the mouth with dusty tannins and bright acids supporting the fruit and late arriving floral and herbal nuance before this fades on the modest, slightly mineral finish. This is a winner, I’d love to experiment with this and grilled tuna. 87pts
Average price: $8.99 from 1 store
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4 Nederburg Shiraz the Winemaster's Reserve (2009)
Comments: Is that South African terroir or is there some Pinotage in here? A little rubbery and with the notes of burning rubber that are often found in Pinotage, this does show plenty of jammy, somewhat wild plum fruit on the nose with subtle shadings of chocolaty used oak and peppery accents Bright, round and well balanced on entry,there's a polish here that lends this a touch of elegance in the mouth. the flavors show the wines age. A little dusty, and polished of all bright edges and angles this retains plum skin fruit with subtle earthy, leathery and floral accents along with a hint of black pepper on the backend. Stumbling a bit on the finish, this remains attractive subtle and very well knit together until the slightly hard, but appropriate tannins kick in on the finish. The more I go back to this the more attractive it becomes. 87pts
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5 Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz (2010)
Comments: Dark, leathery and deep on the nose with rich aromas of macerated fruits and flowers. Firm on entry and immediately showing a blend of power and polish with dark earthy plum and blackcurrant flavors wedded to a tense, firm yet transparent mouth feel. This is already showing hints of tobacco and dried fruit, adding complexity and nuance on the palate which gains hints of boysenberry, vanilla and nutmeg with air. While complex there’s not tremendous depth to the flavors here which turn black fruited and licorice toned on the firm finish, where the structure here powers on for quite some time. This is a serious wine at the price point and one that should be able to improve in the cellar over the short to mid-term, say 2 to 4 years. May underwhelm some who are looking for more at this price point but this is a terrific wine for the money. 87pts
Previously available for $10.99
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6 Earthworks Shiraz Barossa Valley (2011)
Comments: This is quite intense on the nose with lovely aromas of violet, iris, black pepper and spicy black fruit that show attractive purity. Air does bring out the oak here, all cedary and cigar box toned and it detracts from the nose a bit for me but I can see many loving the spicy element it reinforces in the wine. Round, open and giving on the palate, this is verging towards fruit bomb territory but it pulls back just in time. While showing fine acid this seems a bit soft and possibly a bit sweet in the mouth with really attractive plum and spicy boysenberry fruit on the palate. Air helps this gain focus and adds lift to some of the aromatics of the nose, introducing floral and faintly meaty accents to the palate. The finish is firm, with nice cut and the acid really pops here, though not unattractively, helping to brighten a late return of blackberry, almost black currant flavor on the finale. 87pts
Previously available for $11.99
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7 Rock.Face Syrah Lodi (2012)
Comments: Hard and a bit reticent on the nose with light vanilla, cedar, truffle and slightly stewy fruit aromas. Tart on entry, this is a bit light bodied in the mouth, though with plenty of structure for its size. the fruit is more in the red end of the spectrum, a bit spicy and slightly floral toned with raspberry and loganberry notes on the plate. Really rather well balanced and with attractive clarity on the palate, there's a bit of wood spice and tannin here that cuts in on the midpalate but the fruit and a hint of minerality shows fine persistence on the moderately long, clear finish. Not a powerhouse but showing fairly harmoniously today. 87pts
Average price: $15.00 from 1 store
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8 Cycles Gladiator Syrah (2010)
Comments: Spicy on the nose, and floral, with nice complexity and balance to the array of perfumes that include sweet, toasty oak, black pepper, slightly jammy plummy fruit and lots of peppery spice. It’s all a bit obvious, and the oak is a bit harsh, but it’s well balanced. Smooth and suple. Really remarkably so for a wine at this price. This is a bit creamy but with finely tuned acids lending freshness to the distinctly blackberry fruit on the palate. The wood creeps in adding spice and air brings out violet and peppery nuance. Finishing with freshness and dusty if sweet wood tannins, this turns a bit rougher but it retains the attractively pure and fresh fruit that it exhibits on the palate right through the long, peppery and spicy finish. Quintessential value priced Syrah. 86pts
Average price: $12.99 from 5 stores
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9 Rayun Syrah Central Valley (2010)
Comments: This smells hugely candied on the nose with carob, sweet cardamom and Indian spice note, cola and tea accents. It is a veritable spice box. Soft and low on entry, though much drier and more precise than the nose suggests. Slowly some blackberry fruit emerges on the palate, which has some gentle sweet spice character but nothing like the nose. There’s a hint of vanilla and cardamom on the backend as this transitions to a tight finish that shows fine grip from the modest yet firm tannins. A bit atypical for Syrah, but nicely done in a dry, firm style for the price gaining cranberry and red cherry fruit on the lengthening finish. 86pts
Previously available for $9.99
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