2007 Eric Texier Cotes du Rhone 'Brézème'

Here's a Cotes du Rhone from the northern reaches of the appellation that's about as good as it gets. Eric Texier's 2007 "Brézème" is 100% Syrah. You can taste it right away. Intense and spicy with plenty of depth and concentration, it calls up smoke and black figs, plums and the wild herbs of the sun-scorched garrigue.

Uncork a bottle to drink with some grilled ribs seasoned with thyme and black pepper, a hefty pork chop or a marinated skirt steak. Pair it with stews and daubes and zesty vegetarian casseroles too -- anything with big bold flavors.

-- S. Irene Virbila

Region: Rhone Valley, France

Price: About $20

Style: Rich and spicy

What it Goes With: Grilled ribs and chops, zesty casseroles and pastas

Where to Find it: Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, (949) 650-8463, www.hitimewine; Silverlake Wine in Los Angeles, (323) 662-9024, www.silverlake; Wine Exchange in Orange, (714) 974-1454,; the Wine House in West Los Angeles, (310) 479-3731, www.winehouse; and Woodland Hills Wine Co. in Woodland Hills, (818) 222-1111,