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Dec 21, 2010 03:10 PM

California Syrah


I'd like to buy a bottle of good California or Australian Syrah for my brother in law in the $25 range. He seems to prefer California Syrahs, and buys them and Australian Syrahs seemingly haphazardly, and seems to equate price with taste and quality.

I drink mostly reds from the Rhone Valley and surrounding areas, which often (usually) have Syrah in the blend, but I am not familiar with California Syrahs even though I live in California. I will add that I was recently in the Santa Ynez Valley and tasted a couple of Syrahs which were very young, and difficult for me to judge, other than to think they were not very good.

There must be some available for around $25. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. If you can locate the Biale, Hill Climber Syrahs, that would be my first choice. Not sure if they are in your price-points, but should be close.

    Good luck,


      1. re: wineguy7

        B.H & W.G.,
        Many thanks. I'm on it. Greatly appreciate your suggestions.

        1. re: wineguy7

          Ditto on the of this moment I am sipping at 2007 Novy Judge Family Vineyard less than $30 a just don't get wines with this much going on for this price.

        2. Don't know where you live so I don't know what selection is available.
          Syrahs I like from California in that price range include:
          Holly's Hill
          A Donkey and A Goat
          Big Basin
          Edmunds St. John.
          For a few bucks more, Ridge sells library wines out of their locations in Geyserville and the Santa Cruz Mountains. And the 2005 Pelerin Syrah Les Violettes for about $35 is maybe the best California Syrah I've had.
          Edmunds St. John and A Donkey and a Goat are probably the most European like.

          2 Replies
          1. re: SteveTimko

            >>> Edmunds St. John and A Donkey and a Goat are probably the most European like. <<<


            1. re: zin1953

              I must agree. I love the Syrahs from A Donkey and A Goat (they also make a great Brosseau Chard, but it needs some age on it to show at its best)

          2. Randall Grahm's Bonny Doon winery immediately springs to mind. Le Cigare Volant is probably a little above your budget but there is also Syrah "Le Pousseur". I've always been a big fan of Grahm's wines and his general approach to the wine business.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Al Toon

              I would give Sarah's Vineyard in Santa Clara Valley a try. $25 a bottle for non members and realy tasty. I would prefer the 05 to the 07 but both are fine. Also great Rhone types ie. Roussanne and Viognier.

            2. In this price range, my favorites are Melville, Arcadian, and Zaca Mesa! -mJ

              3 Replies
              1. re: njfoodies

                Tried Zaca Mesa and thought it was over the top, but probably works for some.
                Currently have a bottle of Halter Ranch that I bought at the winery after tasting.
                Beckman can be good but seems variable. I have some of their Le Bec Cuvee and its pretty nice.

                1. re: pantani

                  Wow, can't say I've ever heard Zaca Mesa be called over the top. Wish I could think of more wines in this price range, but when I drink syrah I usually drink Lillian, Pax, Linne Calado, Stefania, Saxum, etc.... -mJ

                  1. re: njfoodies

                    I am also partial to the Novy, which in their basic style can be had for $25. I am also pretty partial to the Unti. Both it and the Novy are "big" as CA Syrahs tend to be but I think have a certain rusticity that keeps them from being ridiculous.

                    If ridiculous is the goal, more of the Santa Barbara wineries seem to be doing insanely high-alcohol, extracted Syrahs (some, not all).

                    I can't speak specifically to their Syrah (although I've had it, I can't recall the last time I did) but Kokomo Winery in Dry Creek is a small producer that makes some very fine zins, syrahs etc. that are in the right price range and not ridiculous.