Five years ago, there was an inside joke in the wine world: “What’s the difference between a case of Syrah and the flu? You can get rid of the flu.” That’s how sad the state of Syrah was. Consumers were confused about Syrah, from the rich, fruity, Australian Shiraz style to the savory, mineral-driven wines of the Northern Rhone. California Syrah winemakers were confused about which style to emulate, as they attempted to create wines that would score points with critics.
Luckily, much has changed in five years: California winemakers are more confident and are sourcing the grape from sites that are better-suited for Syrah. They look towards the Rhone Valley for inspiration, from elegant, floral Crozes-Hermitage to savory and powerful Côte-Rôtie. With this renewed, unified focus on Syrah, this is the best time to start exploring this beautiful grape from California to the Rhone Valley.
Visit the Markets and speak to our wine specialists, and start exploring the nuanced world of Syrah with a few of our favorites:
Copain “Tous Ensemble” Syrah | $19.99
With savory character and notes of black olives, this Syrah shows restraint instead of anything over top. Winemaker Wells Guthrie looks toward Northern Rhone with his elegant Syrah; the Tous Ensemble comes from three vineyards in Mendocino County.
Emmanuel Darnaud “Mise en Bouche” Crozes-Hermitage | $24.99
Bistro friendly and easy to quaff, this entry-level cuvée is made from a selection of younger vines with the trademark aromas of black fruits, violets, and olives. Emmanuel Darnaud is a rising star in Crozes-Hermitage and anyone who has tasted his remarkable Syrah understands.
Clusel-Roch “Classique” Côte Rôtie | $61.99
Aromas of violets and blackberry with savory flavors of bacon and olives, this is a stunning wine from one of the best producers in Côte-Rôtie. Named after its owners, Gilbert Clusel and Brigitte Roch, Clusel-Roch is a biodynamic producer in the Northern Rhone – this is textbook Syrah from one of the best appellations for it.