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
11. Saxon-Brown
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

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  • Snooth User: dpcowboy
    1276710 17

    I like the list, but have to wonder if these wineries all pay for their presence on the list (in one way or another). the reason I say that is that several great California Syrahs under $50, universally recognized, are not on this list....hmmm...

    Apr 26, 2013 at 4:04 PM

  • Snooth User: Ehulani
    1060270 4

    Can anyone tell me about "Signorello Estate Syrah 2010?" I received a bottle as a gift and I usually drink Pinot Grigio, so I have no idea what to expect. Any comments or suggestions? Any idea what this bottle is valued at? Thank you

    Apr 26, 2013 at 4:09 PM

  • Snooth User: EMark
    Hand of Snooth
    847804 5,267

    Again, a very interesting list that includes some favorites and opens my eyes to new possibilities. Also, I am, again, surprised to see many examples from California's Central Coast. Yippee, more wines that I might actually be able to find.

    Dpcowboy, go over to the Snooth Forum and you will find several fans of Syrah (including EMark). Please feel free to start a new thread and let us know what your favorites are. Always looking for something new.

    Ehulani, I went to the Signorello web site (, visited their "Wine Shop" page and found out that they are currently selling their 2010 Syrah for $48. Here are their notes:

    "Our estate Syrah vineyard was planted in 1992 and is located on the Silverado Trail in the Oak Knoll district. Crafted in traditional Northern Rhone style, we add a small amount of Viognier for added complexity.

    "This inky black Syrah opens with notes of white pepper and clove. The palate explides [sic--obviously, the i is much too close to the o on somebody's keyboard] with black fruit, nuances of kahlua, and surprisingly soft tannins".

    Needless to say, this is nothing like Pinot Grigio, However, in my opinion anybody who gifted me with a wine like this would immediatey move up several notches in my list of friends. ;-) Aloha.

    Apr 26, 2013 at 5:53 PM

  • Snooth User: Ehulani
    1060270 4

    Mahalo for your quick and knowledgeable input. Yes, I see I was quite lucky to get this. will enjoy it with the Prime Rib I plan on making very soon. Aloha!

    Apr 26, 2013 at 6:12 PM

  • Snooth User: bopahyland
    222403 17

    Where are the wines with every day prices that we can all afford? Please start including them in your reviews.

    Apr 26, 2013 at 6:46 PM

  • Snooth User: Richard Foxall
    Hand of Snooth
    262583 2,861

    Bopahyland (hope I typed that right), I get your drift. Remember, these are all 90+ wines, really the best things out there. If you order from Halcon by the case, the price goes down to $20. It's tough to get things that are really outstanding much below that. But it is possible. Look for wines that come from places not associated with Syrah, like the Cortona area of Italy. Or, for a different style, there's some reasonable Shiraz from Autralia. Also vin de pays from areas of France outside the usual N. Rhone AOCs., like Collines Rhodaniennes. Finally, a good and widely available Syrah from California under $20 (usually $14 to $15) is the Cline Cool Climate.
    $18 on their website, but often available elsewhere for less.

    Apr 27, 2013 at 4:11 PM

  • Snooth User: EMark
    Hand of Snooth
    847804 5,267

    Prime Rib!!! Ah, yes. the traditional luau feast. I'm sorry, Ehulani, I just had to pull your leg a bit. That wine should go spectacularly well with prime rib. Enjoy.

    Bopahyland, adding on to Foxall's comments, I am becoming more impressed with Syrah from Edna Valley. In the "low dollar" category, Edna Valley Vineyard's "Paragon" Syrah is farily easy to find for about $10. Make no mistake, it is not a 90-point wine, but it is a decent, everyday kind of wine.

    Apr 27, 2013 at 5:38 PM

  • Snooth User: Richard Foxall
    Hand of Snooth
    262583 2,861

    Couple other good deals: Lafond SRH Syrah can be had from Totalwine for about $18. Invino and LastBottle have two different Maclaren Syrahs for $20 and $14, respectively. (If you go to Invino, it will say the wine has an average rating of 92.5 on CT; one of the two reviews on CT is mine--it's the lower of them. Two reviews is technically enough for an average, but is it meaningful?)

    Apr 29, 2013 at 2:46 PM

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