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Thursday, Mar. 13, 2008

Syrah

Pronounced "sur-AHH," this red wine grape is a popular choice among aficionados as more Washington wineries are crafting the wine.

Syrah tends to have lower acidity, making it fruitier and more approachable in its youth. It also shows great complexity in the hands of master winemakers.

Syrah's ancestral home is the Rhone Valley in southern France, specifically the Northern Rhone. Interestingly, the Northern Rhone and Washington's Columbia Valley are just above the 46th Parallel, and both regions excel with the grape.

Many Washington Syrahs are rich, jammy and hedonistic, and the very best exhibit a wild spiciness with good acidity and bold flavors.

Southern Oregon is emerging as Syrah country, too. Del Rio Vineyards in the Rogue Valley is supplying top grapes to some of Oregon's most famous Pinot Noir producers.