If you ask the sommelier at a steak-house to suggest a wine with your Ribeye steak, the recommendation might not be a California Cab. Surprised?

syrah-grapes 210x188

Dark plump Syrah grapes

Syrah wines are deep ruby colored, more dark than Cabernet Sauvignon, full body with strong tannins and lots of flavors such as dark berries, chocolate, espresso and pepper. Syrah not only pairs well with meats but is a versatile pairing with other foods. But the best reason is Syrah’s high level of tannins make it one of the healthier wines to consume.

I often drank Syrahs during a recent trip to France. Syrah grapes originated in the Rhône region of France but wine-making in the northern and southern areas of the Rhone Valley is different. Northern Rhones from appellations such as Hermitage, Saint-Joseph and Côte Rôtie are often from 100% Syrah grapes while southern Rhones are typically blends, Cotes du Rhone and Chateauneuf du Pape being the most popular.

Syrah is also grown in New World regions such as Australia where the wine is called Shiraz. California and Washington state also have noteworthy Syrahs as well as South America and South Africa. The style of New World Syrah/Shiraz is more fruit forward than French Syrahs which provides an earlier drinking window and a cheaper price. As for value,  I find good value in Washington state Syrahs.


TENET Syrah Pundit 2013 $21
Columbia Valley, Washington
88% Syrah,6% Grenache, 4% Mourvèdre
92 points, Wine Spectator, #34 Top 100 2015
This shows nice tension between the ripe, dark flavors and crisp, lively structure, featuring a sleek core of plum and smoky tea flavors that carry easily into the long and deftly balanced finish. A little cellaring should soften the tannins. Best from 2017 through 2020.”


CHARLES SMITH Boom Boom! Syrah 2014 $16
Columbia Valley, Washington
100% Syrah
90 points, Wine Spectator, (2013 Vintage)
Fresh, lively and sleek, with red berry, raspberry and spice box flavors in a neat package, lingering expressively. Drink now through 2017.”

The Rhone blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre is also known as the GSM blend. The popular Chateauneuf du Pape (CDP) is made with the Rhone blend though small amounts of 15 other varietals can be used.

Cheers, Bob the WineGuy

If you wish to receive posts by email, click this link http://BobtheWineGuy.net