Syrah is one of the perfect wines with which to welcome autumn. It can certainly be a full-bodied wine, but since it's not quite as assertive as Cabernet based wines, and packs less of an alcoholic punch than many Zinfandels and Chateauneuf du Papes, I find it a perfect fit for fall. Its naturally smoky, meaty aromas are balanced by crisp black raspberry and boysenberry fruit, recalling the flavors and aromas of the season. Structurally, Syrah comes equipped with zesty acids and fine tannins making it a wine that is equally enjoyable at the dining table, or on it's own. 

In the past many "New World" producers tried to tame Syrah. Most have now come to the conclusion that there are simply too many who enjoy the peppery, gamy, nuanced flavors of Syrah to continue to ignore them. While the Syrah produced in warmer climates, frequently equated with this "New World" style, are fundamentally different from their cooler climate counterparts, with a soft nature and more pronounced fruit, it is no less compelling a style. Syrah is going through an identity crisis of sorts, and you the drinker are the beneficiary. Get out there and sample what the world has to offer before everyone rediscovers Syrah, and prices climb back to where they should be: equal to some of the finest wines of the world.

What to expect: Syrah

One of the few grapes to truly be a global success, Syrah (aka Shiraz) combines a meaty core of ripe berry fruit with tones that range from herbal to peppery, in a package that tends to the medium bodied end of the spectrum pairing good acidity and moderate tannins. With age the wines can gain lovely leathery and black olive notes that makes them a great match for savory and gamy dishes.