A Wine We're Excited To Talk About

Review: 2006  Columbia Crest Grand Estates Shiraz Columbia Valley

Bottom Line: Wow.  Here's a find.  Subtle chocolatey goodness will make you think Australia, but the balanced acids make it a cut above most.  Terrific value.

The Rest Of The Story: Winemaking powerhouse Columbia Crest is no stranger to good value.  We still catch ourselves looking to see if there's any of the kick ass 2007 Cabernet on the shelves out there.  And so it goes with this Syrah.

Okay, yes, it's really annoying when US winemakers label something using another country's name for it.  Like Shiraz.  That is an Australian word.  And while it might be a nod to the thinly veiled style of this wine, labeling it as such is as annoying as someone doing a bad imitation of Crocodile Dundee...

Anyway, it looks like they've corrected that with the 2007 vintage (which we're looking forward to), but there's still plenty of the 2006 out there.  Bargain hunters rejoice.  Though not as ubiquitous as the Cabernet, Merlot, or even Chardonnay, you should be able to find some of this in pretty much all markets

Syrah continues to be one of the least appreciated varietals out there.  Why not lead the pack in returning this grape to glory?  Sure, there's boatloads of crappy Syrah being bottled out there, but venture beyond the grapey stuff and a new world of discovery awaits.  This wine is a risk-free starting point.

A real pleaser, this Syrah is dark garnet with legs like Vanessa Williams.  Fast on the attack with big but balanced fruit, spice, and Ozzy-like chocolate.  Medium-bodied, but with a mouthcoating density that makes the finish linger like a fuller bodies wine.  If Syrah styles can be oversimplified into two categories of savory (like Andrew Murray's) and fruit-driven, this one falls into the fruit-driven camp.  Terrific package at a great price.  $11