Top 15 Syrahs for Grilling
For spice, smoke, and sympathy for the grill, try these $50-and-under Syrahs
9. Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard
Proprietor/winemaker Bob Lindquist started Qupé in 1982 by buying grapes and making his wine at Zaca Mesa. In 1989 Bob joined with Jim Clendenen (who had started Au Bon Climat in 1982) to build a winery facility of their own under a lease agreement with the Bien Nacido Vineyard. In 2005, Bob and his wife Louisa planted 40 acres at their 80-acre ranch in the Edna Valley near San Luis Obispo, which is now the Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard. This is a pepper lover’s Syrah.
Medium cherry red color; hibiscus, tart red fruit, pepper nose; very peppery, cigar box, tobacco palate; medium-plus finish 93+ points
10. Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard Qupé Syrah
See winery background under #9 above.
Medium ruby color; pepper, very savory, charcoal nose; tasty, savory, tart black fruit, tobacco, roasted meat palate; medium-plus finish. 93 points
See background under wine #2 above.
Very dark purple/red violet color; appealing, roasted black fruit, pepper, tar, incipient bacon fat, violets nose; tasty, firm, tart black fruit, roasted black fruit, black pepper, black olive palate with good acidity; needs one to two years; long finish. Durrell selection clone; 14.7% alcohol. 93 points
12. Mullineux Family Wines
The Mullineux Family consists of Chris and Andrea, who were previously at Tulbagh Mountain Vineyards (now Fable Wines) until they married in 2007 and decided to launch their own project. Syrah is their focus, and this is a delicious one, especially for those who love ripe black fruit in their Syrah, with touches of herbs.
Lavender, tart berry, black fruit nose; tasty, lavender, tart berry, black fruit, herbal palate; medium-plus finish. 20% whole cluster. 93 points
13. Domaine Auguste Clape
Auguste Clape has long been one of the most renowned producers in the Northern Rhone, especially for his Cornas from estate vineyards. Due to Clape’s reputation and commitment to traditional winemaking, this Côtes du Rhône is one of that appellation’s highest priced wines, but it’s a delicious offering that would be a superb accompaniment to a summer barbecue.
Opaque purple red violet color; nice tart black fruit, tar, licorice, black pepper nose; tight, coiled, concentrated, complex, tarry, tart black fruit, lovely herbs, licorice palate, medium-plus finish 93 points
14. Dragonette Cellars
The proprietors/winemakers of Dragonette are John and Steve Dragonette and their friend Brandon Sparks-Gillis. They source this Syrah-based blend, called Seven, from seven different vineyards in Santa Barbara County’s Santa Ynez Valley and York Mountain (west of Paso Robles).
Saturated very dark ruby color; roasted black fruit, pepper, charcoal nose; tasty, roasted black fruit, tar, charcoal, pepper palate; needs 4-plus years; medium-plus finish. 22 months in barrel, 45% new; 92% Syrah, 5% Grenache, 2% Mourvedre, 1% Viognier. 93 points
15. Zotovich Family
Steve Zotovich is the owner of Zotovich Family Vineyards, which is based on estate fruit grown in the relatively cool Sta. Rita Hills. The consulting winemaker for this vintage was Steve Brewer of Palmina and Brewer-Clifton. The roasted fruit and pepper flavors will make this an enjoyable pairing either for meats or grilled vegetables.
Very dark red color; reticent, roasted plum, light pepper nose; pepper, green peppercorn, tart roasted black fruit, mineral palate; medium-plus finish; clone 1. 93 points