I've been drinking Qupé Syrah for years but never knew until now that (1) Qupé is pronounced "kyoo-PAY" (I'd thought it was koo-PAY all this time) and (2) it's the Chumash Indian word for California poppy. Turns out winemaker Bob Lindquist has a poetic streak.
The 2009 Qupé Syrah from the Bien Nacido vineyard is a stunner. Lindquist has been working with the famed vineyard for more than 25 years and gets the best from the grapes. This Syrah has everything going for it: beautiful fruit, elegance and impressive balance. And as the level in the bottle goes down, the level of complexity goes up, teasing out notes of black pepper, spice, chocolate.
This wine will dominate any dish, so give ribs, chops or roast your best shot, amping up the flavors with herbs, spice rubs, whatever. I love Syrah with lamb too, and in this season, it could be a butterflied leg of lamb with Indian spices or a simple rack of lamb rubbed with olive oil and thyme.
Also keep an eye out for the 2009 Syrah from the biodynamic Sawyer-Lindquist Vineyard.
Region: Central Coast
Price: From $24 to $30
Style: Rich and complex
What it goes with: Ribs, chops, roasts
Gil Turner's Fine Wine & Spirits in West Hollywood, (310) 652-1000, http://www.gilturners.com; Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, (949) 650-8463, http://www.hitimewine.net; John and Pete's Fine Wines & Spirits in West Hollywood, (310) 657-3080, http://www.johnandpetes.com; Lincoln Fine Wines in Venice, (310) 392-7816, http://www.lincolnfinewines.com; Liquorama in Upland, (877) 981-9044, http://www.finewinehouse.com; Vicente Foods in Brentwood, (310) 472-5215, vicentefoods.com; Wally's Wine & Spirits in West Los Angeles, (310) 475-0606, http://www.wallywine.com; and Wine Exchange in Orange, (714) 974-1454, http://www.winex.com. Also available at http://www.qupe.com.