With Cycles Gladiator Syrah 2007
Red Steal of the Year (Central Coast; $10)
Perfect pairing: Spanish-style Lamb Stew with Roasted Red Peppers
Why it works: Syrah is a wine with layers of texture and, in California, generally hearty red fruit often edged with hints of game, herbs, black olive, even smoky tobacco or espresso.
All of that needs a rustic food partner, like this Spanish-style stew. The lamb echoes the gamey notes in the wine, while the sweet peppers meld with the fruit and the briny topping creates a buzz with the wine’s herbal side.