Le Vieux Pin makes some of the very best Syrah in the country. There are pockets of great Syrah terroir on the Niagara Peninsula, and the Naramata Bench, but if you're really seeking the complexity and expression that perfectly ripened Syrah can give you, the South Okanagan is the place to go. The folks from Le Vieux Pin knew they were onto something special early on, choosing to replace their beloved Pinot Noir vines with Syrah. They now produce three distinctly separate cuvées of Syrah with grapes grown on the Black Sage Bench, the Golden Mile, South Osoyoos, and around Oliver. And Le Vieux Pin is offering free shipping right now, so you can taste these gems for yourself!
Below are pairings to try with each of the three cuvées:
2014 Syrah Cuvée Violette - This is the brightest and freshest version of the three Syrahs; it's aromatic and floral, with classic pepper and purple fruit notes. They co-ferment the Syrah grapes with a touch of Roussanne (less than 1%) that adds to the liveliness and aromatics. ($30, 13.8% alcohol).
Pairing: Vietnamese cuisine. With its freshness, this wine is the most versatile of the three. For a less traditional pairing, try a spread of Vietnamese food. The wine has the spice, herbal, and floral characters to complement all the fresh herbs and spices in vermicelli and spring roll dishes, plus it has the savoury and peppery notes to work with a bowl of phở or bún bò Huế.
2014 Syrah Cuvée Classique - The Classique is a step closer towards the savoury and herbal profiles associated with Northern Rhône Syrah; a touch meatier, more herbs and exotic spice. ($50, 14.4% alcohol).
Pairing: Turkish Lamb with Green Garlic. I like pairing lamb with Syrah—especially bottles with the meatiness to complement lamb's slight gamey flavour. Plus, lamb is so often cooked and served with fresh herbs—sage, mint, parsley—herbs notes often found in a good Syrah. This dish is rich and stew-like, but with the lifted green notes of spring garlic and parsley.
2012 Equinoxe Syrah - The Equinoxe has another layer of complexity, refinement, and age-worthy structure. It combines all the floral, spicy, herbal, and savoury notes of the previous two cuvées. ($90, 13.9% alcohol).
Pairing: Pork Tenderloin with Sage and Mushrooms. The wines from the South Okanagan are known to show subtle sage notes, picked up from the dry, scrubland terroir. This dish has the meatiness of the pork, the earthiness of the mushrooms, and herbal notes from the sage.
Free shipping ends Sunday at midnight - only 4 days left to get some of the best Syrah in Canada!
Jake Skakun is a writer and sommelier from Vancouver, currently living in Toronto. He can be found most days pulling corks and twisting caps at the Black Hoof. He Tweets and Instagrams @jakeskakun.