Wine tasting party

Throw a blind tasting of Syrahs from around the world, then serve an easy dinner made to match

The wines

French Syrah is earthy, often gamy and smoky, with leather, pepper, black olive, and dark fruit flavors (blueberries show up a lot). Australian Shiraz is generally lush and fruity, with big, brambly blackberry flavors. West Coast Syrah is somewhere in the middle, leaning to France when it's grown in a cooler place, to Australia in a warmer climate. Our picks are in the $15 to $20 range.

Paul Jaboulet Aîné "Les Jalets" 2002 (Crozes Hermitage, France; $18). Lean and leathery, with black pepper, blueberries, and currants mixing with minerals through a long finish.

Perrin & Fils "Les Cornuds" Vinsobres 2003 (Côtes du Rhône Villages, France; $16). French minerality under peppery berries. Some Grenache is blended with Syrah here.

D'Arenberg "The Footbolt" Shiraz 2003 (McLaren Vale, South Australia; $19). Blackberries and black pepper, with slightly chewy tannins and great acid.

Tintara Shiraz 2003 (McLaren Vale, South Australia; $20). Smoky, peppery, and slightly gamy, with rich berries.

Edna Valley "Paragon" Syrah 2003 (Central Coast, CA; $15). Dark, minty berries with black pepper and vanilla, a few herbs, and a little mocha

Rosenblum Fess Parker Vineyard Syrah 2002 (Santa Barbara County; $20). Very earthy for the New World, with black olives, leather, pepper, and sweet pipe tobacco balanced with juicy berries.
 

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