GDP on Wine

Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz

Damn it's been too long

Posted by Gregory Dal Piaz, Feb 10, 2012.

I get so caught up in work that I often neglect to check in here. I'm apologizing about that!  I'm back afer a few weeks in New Zealand, which sucks up all my time not only during the trip but for the weeks prior and, as it looks, most of the week after my return.

 

Before you ask, new Zealand was great. A young wine industry but one that has made huge advances in a very brief time. I expect we'll be hearing some great things from them and I am especially excited by Waipara, a region that is somewhat overlooked by many but where great wines are just starting to be made.

 

So what else? I'm organizing some tastings here at Snooth, next up is 1979 barolo next week, and I'm going to be talking alot about Syrah over the coming two weeks in celebration of SyrahGTi.

 

If anybody has any questions about New Zealnd, or anything else for that matter, I look forward to answering them! Anybody want to organize a Snooth dinner anywhre? I wouldn't mind traveling for myself for a change as opposed to having a long and packed itinerary!

 

Anywa, glad to be back and welcome to all the new arrivals!

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Replies

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Reply by Giacomo Pevere, Feb 10, 2012.

Welcome back! New Zealand is surely a interesting place for wines, i've just tasted some world famous Sauvignon from Marlborought like Cloudy Bay. Very interesting and not so different style with many "old europe" Sauvignon.

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Reply by JonDerry, Feb 10, 2012.

Welcome back Greg, looking forward to hearing what wines to look for from Waipara...

Will also see if I can get motivated for Syrah, had a blockbuster from Santa Ynez valley recently, will try and find the name of it.

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Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Feb 10, 2012.

Thsnks Jon!

Allow me to try and help motivate.

We'll be trying

1988 Guigal Cote Rotie Brune et Blonde

1988 Edmunds St John Sonoma Syrah

1994 Columbia Crest

1994 Swanson

1995 Charles melton

1995 Delas Bressandes

1997 Andrew Murray Les Couteaux

1997 Chave Hermitage

1997 Edmunds St John Fenaughty

1997 Livingston Moffet

 

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Reply by dmcker, Feb 10, 2012.

So no Cornas or St. Joseph? No WindGap or Saxum?  ;-)   People moan about a range of issues with syrah in CA but there's plenty of good stuff being made. And lots of very good stuff in the northern Rhone that doesn't get talked about all that much. And how much focus on the better stuff in Oz? Syrah is definitely one of my loves, from as soon as I discovered it quite a few years ago. Though poorly made stuff is just... ____ (you fill in the gap).

Tell us more about your Pyramid Valley experience in Kiwiland, please....

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Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Feb 10, 2012.

OH NO!

Not again!

Yeah, this is sort of a cellar clean out. Very little older Cornas left, a few randomw bottles of Cornas, Jaboulet and Verset, and I don't think I have any St. Joseph older than 2004 at this point.

 

Pyramid Valley, where to begin...

Let me get back to you on that, with pictures and the like. It was a great visits, some really interesting wines but some problematic wines as well.

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Reply by dmcker, Feb 10, 2012.

I guess all that travel fatigue is making you sensitive about being poked regarding other alternatives!  ;-)

Didn't know that syrah list was coming from your stock, but rather thought it was a batch of samples sent in to Snooth. Am also curious if you/Snooth have a policy about pointing to or not pointing to smaller wineries with quasicultish aura (like WG and Saxum). Or is it more a question of who'll send you samples?

Think I understand you so far on the Pyramid Valley. It is a work in progress, but with very good progress, IMHO.

And what's the list for your '79 Barolo-fest?  :-)  :-)

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Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Feb 10, 2012.

Just call me  an alternatophobe! :-0

Those bottles are all ex-GDP cellar, anything older generally is. I know I've mentioned Wind Gap before, for Grenache and Pinot Gris if memory serves me right, but I can't say I am a fan of the Saxum wines. They're well made and a vaid part of the genre, just not my speed.

Obviously the folks who send in samples increase their likelihood of coverage, through the tasting note emails for example, but that is not the only source of my reccos. For example Bize has never given me a thing, but they got big props in the $5000 cellar articles and came out in second place but with a first palce showing in a recent blind tasting of 1009 Burgundy, paid for by one of my tasting groups, so the love for Bize will continue.

It all really boils down to what I drink and what I like. I tend to drink what i like so if a wine isn't what I'm generally drinking then the only real way to get my attention is to send in some samples!

 

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Reply by JonDerry, Feb 10, 2012.

Yes, please add some Rhone Rangers!

Saxum, Villa Creek, Terry Hoage, and even Shafer relentless from Napa would be great.

Hey Greg, I can actually send you a split of the Terry Hoage "The Hedge", would be interested in what you think of it, and what the heck am I going to do with a split anyway??

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Reply by dmcker, Feb 10, 2012.

I, also, prefer WindGap to Saxum. Pretty sure I know where you're coming from on that. Someone was pushing an Araujo syrah at me earlier today. Think Galloni was trying to get it attention recently.

Would be curious about your take on Anthill or Arnot-Roberts versions...

Also curious about how you bill Snooth for all your own wine.  ;-)

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Reply by gregt, Feb 10, 2012.

Greg - obviously you know Wind Gap v Pax. I think he hit it with Wind Gap, but then again, some of those Pax wines are pretty good.

Anyhow, I don't know where the tasting is, but I have a few N. Rhones and even a few Aussies and a CA or two if you need.

Of course, I'd need to be invited . . .

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Reply by Lucha Vino, Feb 11, 2012.

There are some great Syrahs coming out of Washington too.  Dunham Cellars, Sleight of Hand, Nefarious, Tulpen, Rotie Cellars, Laurelhurst Cellars, Rulo, Corliss and their sister winery Tranch Cellars plus many more.

If you get a chance you should give Washington Syrah a try.  There are lots of wineries making some really good examples.

I would be happy to supply a couple bottles if the tasting is someplace on the West coast!

Cheers

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Reply by dmcker, Feb 11, 2012.

Lucha/vello, how about Cayuse, don't you like them?

Greg(s), I tend to like the WindGaps more regularly than the Pax's. My understanding of why Pax had to leave Pax then start WindGap is his sensibility had evolved away from larger fruit, but the owner wanted him to keep making it the way they'd started. May be wrong, but that's what I've heard, and it makes sense in the context of the two labels' wines. Some Pax's are definitely tasty, but I've also had some that are over the top. Less so with the WindGap. But then again, I haven't had as easy access to the range and number of offerings that someone like outthere might have.

Also some syrahs I've had that I like from down south, but more from Santa Barbara/Ojai than Paso Robles. Seems too much support for larger tendencies in the latter area. The weather's obviously hotter, too, with less moderating influence form the sea, whether up river (more like creek) ravines or whatever.

No sense in not doing syrah tastings at some point where they're made. NYC is easy for some, but the West Coast would be good. Then later Oz, and after that the Rhone?!   ;-)

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Reply by Lucha Vino, Feb 11, 2012.

D - I just fired off a short list of wines I have tried and really enjoyed.  Totally forgot about Cayuse!  I have heard really good things about their Syrah, but have not stepped up and purchased a bottle to try.

Here is a great list of "top Washington" wines from Sean Sullivan's Washington Wine Report Blog.  He has nine Syrahs in the top 20 and Cayuse is Number One.

I like your travel plan. Maybe we can get Snooth to sponsor a Syrah tasting junket :-)

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Reply by dmcker, Feb 11, 2012.

Interesting list, Lucha. Didn't do a real count, but seemed there were as many syrahs as cabs in it, and many other varietals as well. How many of those have you had?

And yeah, why not a yearly Snooth gathering in the vineyards?  ;-)

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Reply by Lucha Vino, Feb 12, 2012.

I read through the list and it looks like I have tried 10 of the wines on there and have another 3 in my cellar.  Plus a bunch of them on my "wish list."  Like, I wish I had enough money to buy those bottles!  Seriously, there are some wines under 50 bucks a bottle on the list that I will step up to the plate and buy in the next 12 months.

 

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Reply by outthere, Feb 12, 2012.

How did I miss this thread? D, yer talkin my language with Wind Gap. Pax is definitely moving in a different direction with a more subtle style and much more user frinedly pricing. Joe provided him great fruit at PAX but paid through the nose for it and the end user prices were getting out of hand. I think this years Richards Family is around $125/btl and the Obsidian is $90 while Wind Gaps most expensive Syrah is $48. My problem is that they need time on their side and I haven't had much luck keeping my hands off them.

Duncan and Nate at AR are doing much the same thing as Pax is with cool climate Syrah from Hudson and Alder Springs. Just looked into an 09 AR North Coast a couple weeks ago to see where it was headed. It's really developing beautifully but needs years still.

Another of my quickly growing favorites is Morgan of Bedrock Wine Co.. He's making some real special syrahs and has some real great QPR's in his lineup. He spent quite a few years interning/studying in France and it shows in his winemaking. He's also one of the most passionate young winemakers I have ever met. All 3 of these producers share fruit from many of the same sites and comparing their different styles is very interesting.

Wells Guithrie of Copain is making more restrained lower alcohol syrahs as well and is pushing the envelope in CA towards more Old World style. His recent Halcon and Brosseau are eye openers.

I'm also becoming a fan of Mike Smith and his Myriad and Quivet syrahs from the Las Madres Vineyard in Carneros. So much good syrah coming from this part of the world right now. Carneros, Petaluma Wind Gap, Anderson Valley and Sonoma Coast are some hot AVA's for me of late.

Oh, try sourcing some Westerhold Syrah and see what has won the Hospices du Rhone blind syrah competition 2 years running. Stunning stuff. Then there is Jemrose which is vinified in the same custom crush as Westerhold. Their Bennett Valley Cardic Hill Syrah rocks. I'm getting thirsty and I haven't even left CA. ;-p

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Reply by dmcker, Feb 12, 2012.

Outthere, thanks a lot for this update/snapshot. There are occasions when I do miss nowadays feet-on-ground in Sonoma...!

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Reply by JonDerry, Feb 13, 2012.

I've been really enjoying Bedrock wines myself, will have to try some Wind Gap and the others you mention...the Westerhold sounds especially interesting.

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Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Feb 13, 2012.

California Syrah getting some love!

Crazy!

I also like Carlisle's Cardiac Hill, I put it up against Jemrose a few years back and couldn't decide which I prefered.

Qupe made some winners in the past, the 1990 Bian Nacido was a sort of awakening wine for me. The 1995 and later aren't quite at that level. Cline made a pretty fine Countra Coasta County back int he day. I had a bottle of the 1990 in my hand this weekend, which I somehow promptly misplaced, but I would have been interested in seeing how that has come along.

Lane Tanner makes a little Syrah that is worth checking out, as does Easton/Terre Rouge, and I would be remiss if I didn't mention Edmunds St. John, 1988 on my desk ready for a tasting next week.

Going up north for a moment, Columbia Winery made some really lovely Syrah's from the Red Willow Vineyard, I think 89 was the inaugural vintage, and it was an eye opener though I've drunk mine all up. Going to pop the cork on my last 96 next week.

Also killing my last 94 Swanson Syrah, which was a wine I really enjoyed on release but have had variable luck since then.

I've got a bottle of the Donelan (Pax) on my desk to be tasted, 08 Christine, we'll see what going on with that soon, and a few other examples, but I'ld love to have the bedrock here, and probably the Westerhold as well!

It's Syraj GTi this week andnext folks so taste some wines and post some notes, let's keep this conversation going!

 

 

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Reply by outthere, Feb 13, 2012.

GDP, I have a bottle of that 08 Christine as well. Haven't touched one in a couple years. It was good on release but surely is in stride now. Also have the Carlisle Cardiac in a 3 year vertical which is one of my faves. My post was getting to overkill status so I held Mike's wines out of it.

So, any DeLille fans out there? Have some tasty '06 Doyenne's in the cellar.

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