Cline 2018 Sonoma Coast Syrah ($14.99)
This 100-percent Syrah shows dark purple with a thin, clear garnet edge. Black plums, black cherries, and a whiff of something like tobacco leaf on the nose, leading into a mouth-filling black-fruit and black coffee flavor framed by fresh acidity. Its 14.5% alcohol and persistent tannins dry the insides of your cheeks; an aftertaste of fragrant black pepper, typical of Syrah, becomes more evident with time in the glass. Interesting wine. Its origin in Sonoma County’s cool-climate Diamond Pile Estate vineyard and its subtle French oak imparts a surprisingly Rhône-like character for a California Syrah. (Feb. 6, 2020)
FOOD MATCH: Syrah’s natural companion is rare red meat, beef, lamb or game, or flavorful Cheddar and similar cheeses.
WHEN TO DRINK: Its fruit and tannin and sturdy Syrah backbone suggest that it should cellar well and perhaps gain complexity over up to five years.
It’s a great value in the range of my local $15 price and Wine-Searcher.com’s $14 average U.S. retail, and is available for as little as $10 from a few vendors listed at Wine-Searcher. It sells for a bit more from the winery, going for $18 on the Cline website.
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