Explore the Northern Rhone. Crozes-Hermitage is a good entry point to give you a glimpse of world's greatest Syrahs without great expense.
For you elegant wine lovers (a.k.a. 'acid heads') I highly recommend Solminer Wines Syrah from Santa Ynez. It's mineral driven and the coloring is so pale that it looks like Pinot Noir. Notes of white cherry, green olive and cardamom will make you delight in an 'old world' style wine from a typically hot climate region. The winemaker used to run a Electronica record label out of Los Angeles — I think he realized that wine is the rhythm of the earth.
I love Syrah from the classic regions of France but I also appreciate this Syrah, Il Bosco from Italian producer Tenimenti d'Alessandro in Cortona, Italy Cortona has a perfect climate for growing Syrah and sandy soils. This Syrah is no shrinking violet and has powerful and layered aromas of black fruit, chocolate, spice and cedar notes.
Syrah is one of the few grape varieties to perform well both in cool and warm climates. This Syrah, from Fields Family Wines (SRP $22), which I recently enjoyed, exhibits warm climate fruit character with cool-climate structure. The nose offers an inviting mix of dark skinned and high-toned berry fruit followed by brown spice, white pepper, and a faint smoky quality. The palate is pleasing and ripe, but not overly so, with good depth of fruit and understated acidity adding a refreshing lift through the lingering finish. This wine is nice on its own, but its food-friendly nature makes it an excellent choice for spring and summertime backyard barbecues (hint-hint) – think baby backs, chops, burgers, flank steak, etc. In addition to a burger, I enjoyed a glass with Old Amsterdam cheese from Holland, which was thoughtfully selected by Cindy Della Monica, owner of Lodi’s Cheese Central. The combination presented a whole new mélange of agreeable flavors and texture in the mouth. I definitely recommend giving this duo a try! Approximately 150 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Lodi [Mokelumne River AVA], California. (Other info: ABV 14.2%, native fermentation and ML, 16 months in French oak – less than 25% new, cork enclosure.)