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CHEESE PAIRING:
Brie
Fontina
Edam
Double Gloucester
Le Chevre Noir
Cambozola
Maytag Blue



90+ point rated wines under $20





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Ah, Syrah. My true wine love. As much as I appreciate Cabs and Pinots, there's something about the dark elegance of this grape that curls my toes. Clearly, I'm not the only one. It's upswing in popularity has only occured in the last decade with much of the thanks going to the bold and big versions coming from Down Under. Sure, they've been growing it in the Rhone Valley and Southern France for centuries, but those wines weren't broadly exported because the limited quantities and high prices kept them local, still an issue today. When they finally realized what they had, the Aussies jumped on the Rhone bandwagon with both feet, building their wine prominance on the back of Shiraz/Syrah. The Central Coast of California has also joined in the expansion with almost every winery from Santa Barbara to Mendocino now making a Syrah. There's a possibility that it will become as despised as Merlot when the market is eventually flooded with mediocre versions, however, the depth and structure of the varietal should allow it to weather that storm. The good news for consumers is that there are lovely versions in every price point – with the Aussies giving the best Bang for the Buck – which will hopefully bring more people into the fold. If not, just more for me.

WHAT TO EXPECT: A dark, sometimes opaque ruby-purple wine with aromas of dark fruits (blackberries, currants, black cherry), smoke, vanilla, chocolate, leather and depending on the region spice, pepper, licorice or mint. The palate is medium to full-bodied filled with lush fruit and generally moderate tannins and acid. The more expensive versions ($30+) are fairly tannic in their youth and need at least 3-4 years, sometimes 7-8, to fully integrate. The $10-$20 versions are brighter and softer, usually made to drink right away. To understand what "terroir" is all about, try a few Aussies or Cali wines from various regions. The differences between them are amazing.



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spacer.gif2007 Brian Benson Cellars Glenrose Vineyard Syrah, Paso Robles, CARATING: **
spacer.gif2007 Cass Winery Syrah, Paso Robles, CARATING: ***
spacer.gif2007 Charles Smith "Boom Boom" Syrah, Columbia Valley, WARATING: **
spacer.gif2007 Domaine de Fondreche "Persia" Cotes-du-Ventoux, Rhone Valley, FranceRATING: ***
spacer.gif2007 Grey Stack Cellars "The Narcissist" Syrah, Sonoma, CARATING: ***
spacer.gif2007 Mollydooker "The Boxer" Shiraz, South AustraliaRATING: ***
spacer.gif2007 Terry Hoage "The Hedge" Syrah, Paso Robles, CARATING: ***
spacer.gif2006 Barrel 27 "Right Hand Man" Syrah, Central Coast, CARATING: **
spacer.gif2006 Caliza Winery Syrah, Paso Robles, CARATING: ****
spacer.gif2006 Cass Winery Syrah, Paso Robles, CARATING: ***
spacer.gif2006 Chateau de Campuget 1753 Syrah, Costieres de Nimes, FranceRATING: ***
spacer.gif2006 Dom. Terlato & Chapoutier Shiraz-Viognier, Victoria, AustraliaRATING: **
spacer.gif2006 Dry Stack Cellars "Marie's Block" Syrah, Sonoma, CARATING: ****
spacer.gif2006 Foxen Winery Toasted Rope Syrah, Santa Barbara, CARATING: ****
spacer.gif2006 Frei Brothers Russian River Syrah, Sonoma, CARATING: **
spacer.gif2006 Grey Stack Cellars "The Narcissist" Syrah, Sonoma, CARATING: ***
spacer.gif2006 Hocus Pocus Reset Syrah, Santa Barbara, CARATING: ***
spacer.gif2006 Marquis Philips Sara's Blend Shiraz, South Eastern, AustraliaRATING: **
spacer.gif2006 Pipestone Vineyards Syrah, Paso Robles, CARATING: **
spacer.gif2006 Samsara Wines Ampelos Vineyard Syrah, Santa Barbara, CARATING: ***
spacer.gif2006 Spicerack Vineyards "Punchdown", Sonoma Coast, CARATING: **
spacer.gif2006 Terra Bella Vineyards Syrah, Paso Robles, CARATING: ***
spacer.gif2006 This Is E11even Purple Haze Syrah, Santa Barbara, CARATING: ***
spacer.gif2006 Thompkin Cellars Syrah, Santa Barbara, CARATING: **
spacer.gif2006 2 Up Shiraz, South AustraliaRATING: **
spacer.gif2006 Vie Winery Las Madres Syrah, Sonoma, CARATING: ***
spacer.gif2005 Anglim Winery Syrah, Paso Robles, CARATING: **
spacer.gif2005 Barrel 27 "Head Honcho" Syrah, Santa Barbara, CARATING: ***
spacer.gif2005 Beckmen Vineyards Estate Syrah, Santa Barbara, CARATING: ***
spacer.gif2005 Beckmen Vineyards Syrah Barrel Select, Santa Barbara, CARATING: ***
spacer.gif2005 Beckmen Vineyards PMV Syrah, Santa Barbara, CARATING: ***
spacer.gif2005 Beckmen Vineyards Block Six Syrah, Santa Barbara, CARATING: ***
spacer.gif2005 Booker Vineyards Fracture Syrah, Paso Robles, CARATING: ***
spacer.gif2005 Calcareous Vineyards Syrah, Paso Robles, CARATING: ***
spacer.gif2005 Cameron Hughes Lot 38 100-Year-Old Vines Shiraz, Barossa Valley, AustraliaRATING: ***
spacer.gif2005 Cameron Hughes Lot 41 Shiraz, McLaren Vale, AustraliaRATING: **
spacer.gif2005 Cameron Hughes Lot 42 75-year-old Vines Shiraz, Barossa Valley, AustraliaRATING: ***
spacer.gif2005 Carina Cellars "7 Percent" Syrah, Santa Barbara, CARATING: ***
spacer.gif2005 Cass Winery Syrah, Paso Robles, CARATING: ***
spacer.gif2005 Cleb Wines Evelyn Noir Syrah, Santa Barbara, CARATING: **
spacer.gif2005 D'Arenberg Laughing Magpie Shiraz, McLaren Vale, AustraliaRATING: **
spacer.gif2005 Edward Sellers Syrah Sélectionné, Paso Robles, CARATING: ***
spacer.gif2005 Halter Ranch Vineyard Syrah, Paso Robles, CARATING: **
spacer.gif2005 Henry's Drive Dead Letter Office Shiraz, Padthaway, South AustraliaRATING: ***
spacer.gif2005 Lafond Winery, Santa Rita Hills Syrah, Santa Barbara, CARATING: **
spacer.gif2005 Bodegas Piqueras Valcanto Syrah, Almansa, SpainRATING: *
spacer.gif2005 Saarloos & Sons O and 2 Syrah, Santa Barbara, CARATING: ***
spacer.gif2005 Stolpman Vineyards Hilltops Syrah, Santa Barbara, CARATING: ****
spacer.gif2005 Stolpman Vineyards La Coppa Syrah, Santa Barbara, CARATING: **
spacer.gif2005 Zenaida Cellars Estate Syrah, Paso Robles, CARATING: ***
spacer.gif2004 Andrew Murray Estate Syrah, Santa Barbara, CARATING: **
spacer.gif2004 Beckmen Vineyards PMV Syrah, Santa Barbara, CARATING: ***
spacer.gif2004 Beckmen Vineyards PMV Block 6 Syrah, Santa Barbara, CARATING: ***
spacer.gif2004 Beckmen Vineyards PMV Clone #1 Syrah, Santa Barbara, CARATING: ***
spacer.gif2004 Cass Winery Syrah, Paso Robles, CARATING: **
spacer.gif2004 D'Arenberg "The Footbolt" Shiraz, McLaren Vale, AustraliaRATING: **
spacer.gif2004 Elderton Shiraz, Barossa Valley, AustraliaRATING: ***
spacer.gif2004 Halter Ranch Vineyard Syrah, Paso Robles, CARATING: ***
spacer.gif2004 Kilikanoon "Killerman's Run" Shiraz, South AustraliaRATING: ***
spacer.gif2004 Penman Springs Vineyards Syrah, Paso Robles, CARATING: **
spacer.gif2004 Stolpman Vineyards Estate Syrah, Santa Barbara, CARATING: ***
spacer.gif2004 Thacher Winery Syrah, Monterey, CARATING: **
spacer.gif2003 Anglim Best Barrel Syrah, Paso Robles, CARATING: ***
spacer.gif2003 Beckmen Vineyards PMV Block 6 Syrah, Santa Barbara, CARATING: ***
spacer.gif2003 Beckmen Vineyards PMV Clone #1 Syrah, Santa Barbara, CARATING: ***
spacer.gif2003 Bernard Faurie St. Joseph, Rhone Valley, FranceRATING: **
spacer.gif2003 Garretson Wine Co. Mon Amie Syrah, Paso Robles, CARATING: ***
spacer.gif2003 Rio Seco Winery Syrah, Paso Robles, CARATING: ***
spacer.gif2003 Saxon Brown Parmalee Hill Vineyard Syrah, Sonoma, CARATING: ***
spacer.gif2003 Tin House Winery Syrah, Edna Valley, CARATING: **
spacer.gif2002 Baileyana Firepeak Vineyard Syrah, Edna Valley, CARATING: **
spacer.gif2002 Beckmen Vineyards PMV Clone #1 Syrah, Santa Barbara, CARATING: ***
spacer.gif2002 Kaena Wine Co. Santa Ynez Syrah, Santa Barbara, CARATING: **
spacer.gif2002 Montemaggiore Paolo's Vineyard Syrah, Sonoma, CARATING: ***
spacer.gif2001 Bedford Thompson Winery Syrah, Santa Barbara, CARATING: ***
spacer.gif2000 Bedford Thompson Winery Syrah, Santa Barbara, CARATING: **
spacer.gif2000 E. Guigal St. Joseph, Rhone Valley, FranceRATING: **
spacer.gif1999 E. Guigal Cote Rotie, Brune et Blonde, Rhone Valley, FranceRATING: ***



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**** Outstanding | *** Delicious | ** Enjoyable | * Drinkable
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