Whether you’re a wine consumer or a wine expert, we all go through phases where we’re obsessed with a certain grape or a specific wine region. Seasons, moods, new wine discoveries, or a trip to wine country can trigger this fixation. In my case, my recent visit to the Northern Rhône Valley has left me craving Syrah. The iconic regions of Côte-Rotie, Hermitage, Saint-Joseph, Crozes-Hermitage and Cornas are the homeland to this beloved red variety. Where do you go in Canada to find exotic Syrah? I believe that British Columbia has great potential for producing world class Syrah. Each with their own twist and style, the producers below provide a great introduction to BC Syrah.
1) 2011 Le Vieux Pin Syrah $45
This winery pays homage to the most highly regarded French wines. Co-fermented with a small of amount of Viognier, their Syrah pays tribute to the great wines of Côte-Rotie. French winemaker Severine Pinte crafts an elegant and savoury Syrah with seducing meaty, iodine, violet and white pepper notes. Best enjoyed with food and preferably with game meat - rack of venison is my pick!
2) 2012 Painted Rock Syrah $40
A testament to the notion that the grape doesn’t write the entire story, this is a departure from Le Vieux Pin’s style. Here you find a much deeper and richer version of Syrah. Lush and ripe with intense notes of blackberries, plum, vanilla and leather, it is a crowd pleaser. One of the best vintages I’ve tried from this winery - it's a great match with ribs or steak!
3) 2011 Road 13 Syrah $25
Syrah with a dash of Viognier. A full-bodied wine yet savoury and refreshing. Deep plum, black cherry, vanilla notes balanced by ripe yet firm tannins and bright acidity. Well made and at an appealing price. Burger, please!
4) 2012 Haywire Syrah $20.90
Aged in older wood barrels, Haywire makes a Syrah without make-up. A delicate style with juicy notes of raspberries, red plums, licorice and white pepper. Its bright acidity will cut through the richness of duck confit or a pulled pork sandwich and leave you wanting more.
Michelle Bouffard is a wine educator and journalist who splits her time between Montréal & Vancouver. She co-owns the Vancouver-based company ‘house wine’ and is the president of the BC Chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers.She Tweets @michellebwine and Instagrams @michellebouffard.