Syrah doesn't exactly leap to mind when thinking about Oregon reds. But here's a wonderful example from the tiny Cowhorn Vineyard & Garden in Applegate Valley (that's in southern Oregon). One sip and I was ready to buy a case. Why? Because it's tremendously food-friendly, not overly extracted, a Syrah that's graceful and poised, bright with flavors of cherry and cassis and sporting a snazzy bit of acidity. I don't know what it is about the valley where the grapes are grown, but this wine is reminiscent of Syrah from the northern Rhone. This is a winery to watch.
Oh, I should mention the vineyard is biodynamic, the garden where they grow produce for restaurants too. And if you can't find the 2008, the 2009 should soon be arriving on the scene. Keep and eye out for their Marsanne-Roussanne as well.
Drink the Syrah with braised brisket, coq au vin or a hearty bean dish with lamb shanks.
Region: Applegate Valley, Oregon
Price: $21 to $34
Style: Rich and balanced
What it goes with: Brisket, coq au vin, beans with lamb shank.
Where to find it: East Beach Wine Co. in Santa Barbara, (805) 899-1535, http://www.eastbeachwine.com; K&L Wine Merchants in Hollywood, (323) 464-9463, http://www.klwines.com; and Plonk Wine Merchants in Beverly Hills, (310) 277-5665, http://www.plonkwinemerchants.com.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times