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California Syrah

rdt01 Dec 21, 2010 03:10 PM


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. Bill Hunt RE: rdt01 Dec 21, 2010 06:00 PM

    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. wineguy7 RE: rdt01 Dec 21, 2010 07:30 PM

      2005 Joseph Swan Vineyards Trenton Estate Syrah $22

      2 Replies
      1. re: wineguy7
        rdt01 RE: wineguy7 Dec 21, 2010 09:02 PM

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

        1. re: wineguy7
          tito RE: wineguy7 Dec 22, 2010 05:14 PM

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

        2. SteveTimko RE: rdt01 Dec 22, 2010 06:42 AM

          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
            zin1953 RE: SteveTimko Jan 2, 2011 10:18 AM

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


            1. re: zin1953
              dinwiddie RE: zin1953 Jan 18, 2011 04:10 PM

              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. a
            Al Toon RE: rdt01 Dec 22, 2010 10:05 AM

            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
              budnball RE: Al Toon Jan 2, 2011 10:13 AM

              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. njfoodies RE: rdt01 Jan 3, 2011 09:51 AM

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

              3 Replies
              1. re: njfoodies
                pantani RE: njfoodies Jan 10, 2011 03:24 PM

                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
                  njfoodies RE: pantani Jan 12, 2011 12:00 PM

                  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
                    jonasblank RE: njfoodies Jan 13, 2011 08:07 AM

                    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.

              2. j
                jhopp217 RE: rdt01 Jan 19, 2011 10:06 AM

                The best Petite Syrah I ever tasted was Stags Leap, but that was back in the 80's. Not sure if it's still as good. And back then it was more than $25 a bottle.

                1 Reply
                1. re: jhopp217
                  zin1953 RE: jhopp217 Jan 23, 2011 07:26 AM

                  Yes, but even with the misspelling, that was Petite Sirah -- not Syrah . . .

                2. j
                  Jasper1 RE: rdt01 Mar 25, 2011 04:00 AM

                  Try Stolpman Hilltops Syrah. This is one of the best from California. It's a little more expensive than your budget range - typically retails for $35-45, but well worth it.

                  1. d
                    domenico1647 RE: rdt01 Mar 25, 2011 12:38 PM

                    There's a little know producer from Bennett Valley that's just great; Baldassari Family Wines...two Syrah's, both outstanding

                    1. Delucacheesemonger RE: rdt01 Mar 25, 2011 02:22 PM

                      Just had a Ridge Lytton Syrah 2005, cost in the 30's was lovely if a bit too young

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Delucacheesemonger
                        JustJake RE: Delucacheesemonger Apr 22, 2011 01:53 PM

                        That Ridge '05 is still a fine fine wine - enjoyed it immensely with Joe Romanowski's classic beef short ribs - salivating it just thinking of it.

                        1. re: JustJake
                          cortez RE: JustJake Apr 25, 2011 02:03 AM

                          To the OP:

                          I'm with the crowd who likes Zaca Mesa as a good, solid, everyday Syrah from the Santa Barbara area. It's food friendly and not so aggressively tannic or high alcohol as some Australian Shiraz alternatives. I buy it in the $19-22 range.

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