Seven Super Syrahs

Our Friendly Wine Experts Share Their Favorites!


And we’re back with another round of favorite wines from our favorite wine writers. Today we’re taking a look at Syrah, that misunderstood red wine that offers up layers of savory, spicy, and complex flavors along with rich fruit.
Syrah is decidedly not a popular wine, most likely because of it’s flavor profile which classically included peppery notes along with grilled meat and beefy accents but at the same time great syrah brings wonderful plum, boysenberry, black cherry and blackberry flavors to the table. they can be challenging wines for many palate, but given the right food to pair with they can also be amazing. Try them with grilled meats, particularly lamb or grass fed beef and you’ll be amazed at the synergy between food and wine. Not sure where to find great Syrah. Well, that’s where our suggestions come into play. Check out what some top wine writers think!

Richard Jennings

My most memorable and highest rated Syrah is one I’ve had a number of times. It never tasted so delicious and perfect, however, as it did coming at the end of over a day’s worth of travel, including hours of waiting around cold train stations, to get to my friends’ farmhouse in the Languedoc near the end of December. I’d also had little in the way of decent food on the trip, so when Ida and Philip brought me home from the train station, sat me at their large dining table, and put this bottle in front of me, together with a rare maigret and fresh haricot vert salad, I felt immensely welcomed. With each sip, the travel fatigue fell behind me and I entered into the gorgeous warmth and deliciousness of this well aged beauty. I’ve always enjoyed this wine, but it was a full 100 points that night.
1990 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Hermitage La Chapelle: Perfect fill; black red violet with red violet meniscus; plum, black fruit, bay leaf and bacon fat nose; very youthful, tangy, luscious black fruit, plum, bay leaf palate, with roasted meat edges, that fully opened, after an hour or so, adding pepper and black olives to the palate; long finish 100 points
Richard Jennings


Clifford Brown

This is a tough one since I love the diverse styles of wines this grape is capable of producing.  I chose a wine I "discovered" a couple years ago.  I believe this was the first release from Westerhold Family Vineyards and their outstanding winemaker, Russell Bevan.
The wine is a deep, dark maroon color.  The intense nose has blackberries, smoked meat, black pepper, charcoal, dark bittersweet chocolate, dried herbs, minerals, melted licorice, baking spices, and a nice floral note.  This has a fairly full body, solid ripe tannins and very good acidity.  This is lush and ripe on the palate but not really pushing the ripeness to the edge.  The palate shows nice peppery berries, licorice, and some smoked meat with baking spices and dried herbs in the background.  The finish is very long and highlights the fruit initially but as the fruit slowly fades, the savory elements keep going.  Still extremely young but already outstanding.  (95 pts)
Cliff Brown


Jameson Fink

Explore the Northern Rhone. Crozes-Hermitage is a good entry point to give you a glimpse of world's greatest Syrahs without great expense.

Jameson Fink

Madeline Puckette

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. 

Madeline Puckett 

Susannah Gold

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.

Susannah Gold

Bob Fyke

What most impressed me with this was the wonderful lightness on the palate, not thinness, but rather a sort of weightlessness that is so unlike many other Syrah / Shiraz wines. The nose shows subtle notes of blackberry and bacon with a stunning layer of incense / violet fragrance lying on top. Opens considerably in the first 30 minutes after pop & pour. Sweet tannins and good acidity supporting this balanced and finessed pleasure.
Bob Fyke


Dezel Quillen

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.)

Dezel Quillen
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