Snooth’s Gregory Dal Piaz Talks Wine With Joseph & Curtis
Gregory Dal Piaz is one of the most influential people in the wine world. He is the Editor in Chief for Snooth which is considered one of the top sites for wine. Let’s catch up with Gregory.
Please tell me about Snooth:
Snooth has really been a moving target over the years. We started out as a wine comparison shopping site, a function that remains core to our business, but we’ve added many features that has made us much more than that. Today we can offer our users a personalized experience, telling them when wines they’re looking for are on sale, offering them seamless integration with our iPhone app that lets them add tasting notes and wines to their cellars from wherever they are. In addition we publish a daily newsletter that touches on all the things that are important to winelovers, such as reviews of new release wines as well as retrospective tasting, wine and food pairing guides, and travel tips.
How many wines are in Snooth’s database?
I don’t know for sure but it’s well over 1 million.
Why would Snooth be a valuable asset to our cellar collectors?
Snooth can be valuable to just about anybody interested in wine. The integration with our iPhone app is the key to our future. Everybody is doing things on the go these days, and the ability to add notes to your cellar, and check your wines, and see your previous reviews along with the reviews of others and the top critics scores is a great resource that can help you manage your cellar. Another great feature is our deals email. You select the wines, and the price points and we show you which wines are on sale each week. It’s a great way to discover new wines and pick up your favorites when they go on sale.
Favorite wine, region, and why?
Barolo, no doubt. Traditional produced Barolo evolves magically. There are so many layers to the nose and the palate, while being a challenge sometimes, just keeps me interested. All that tannin and acidity makes the wines exciting to drink, and they remain affordable, at least for the moment.
Hardest part of your job?
Writing every day. It sounds like fun, tasting wine and writing about it, but writing can be a challenge. There are some days when the words just don’t come and you need to be prepared for that.
Can you talk about the importance of cellaring wine?
A really good question, and for many people it’s not that important. You have to be interested in the wines that truly reward cellaring to fully appreciate the magic that happens in the bottle over the course of a decade or three. For me though a properly aged wines is so much more than what is in the bottle. It’s a historical time capsule full of the history of a region within the bottle, and a marker for my life. I can remember buying most for the bottles in my cellar, and just being surrounded by them fills me with happy thoughts when I’m rummaging around down there.
A tricky question. Surprisingly you could say that California’s North Coast is up and coming sine they have made some spectacularly disappointing wines over the past decade or so. A lot of winemakers have figured things out recently and I’m seeing more restraint there, which is something I applaud If you’re looking for real underdogs then Brazil would have to top my list. they’re producing some impressive cool-climate European styled wines down there, Merlot in particular, and are worth watching. Another surprising up and comer would be Portugal for their table wines. Their wine industry has suffered through two decades of benevolent neglect, and we are now just waking up to the fact that they have some great indigenous grapes producing wines in what I would call the classic European table wine style, which if you haven;t guessed yet i am a fan of.
If I have a question about wine…whom do I ask and will it be answered on Snooth?
I’m the resident wine guy so you would ask me and I’d love to answer you on Snooth.
Tell us about the Forum:
We have a lively and welcoming forum that is a blend of novice and oenophile all united by their love of wine. A small core of regular users generate a lot of chat, greeting new users and answering most questions before I can get there.
How did you get into the business?
I came from the restaurant industry, 16 years in it. I floated around for a few years before landing a job with Astor Wines here in NYC. I was fortunate to have the opportunity and became the Wine Director at Astor before moving on to Snooth.
Wine and cheese is the best because?
Umami and complexity.
Tell me about your Northern Italy experiences:
I spent every summer growing up in a small farming village in trentino, norther Italy. it was like stepping back in time and helped form who I became. In particular in introduced me to wine at a very young age, I bought my face case of wine when I was 10 years old, and instilled in me a lifelong passion for wine and simply prepared food that takes advantage of farm freshness.
Two true standouts for me are jerked chicken and lighter styled Petit Sirah and old Barolo with grilled octopus. weird I know but they work.
My friends Robbie and Mark. I’d rather get drunk and laugh with them than have to think about saying something interesting with people more interesting than I.
State of the wine world?
It was the best of times it was the worst of times. We’re really in the middle of things and I don’t know how we’re going to look when we come out of them. Increasing prices on the top wines, a glut at the bottom, decreasing wine consumption in the historical wine drinking capitols of the world, and climate change are all taking a toll on the status quo that we’ve been relatively comfortable with. I have sympathy for folks getting into wine today. It’s much more complex and vastly more expensive than when I really started diving in some 30 years ago. One of my biggest concerns is that people today can’t taste the greatest wines on earth because they’re too expensive. I don’t think it’s that important to drink these wines with any regularity but i do think it’s important to know the potential of Pinot Noir in Burgundy, or Nebbiolo in Barolo if you want to have a complete understanding of the various wines and terroirs that make up the world’s great wine regions. It’s up to us to help out. A little wine philanthropy is all it takes. All we need to do is to share a few bottles with the passionate young enthusiasts out there. That should help to put things right!