WINE OF THE WEEK: 2009 Qupe ("kyoo-PAY") Syrah "Bien Nacido Vineyard" Santa Maria Valley; from California's Central Coast; costs $24 to $30; serve with ribs, chops and roasts.
The 2009 Qupe Syrah from the Bien Nacido vineyard is a stunner. This syrah has everything going for it: beautiful fruit, elegance and impressive balance. And as the level in the bottle goes down, the level of complexity goes up, teasing out notes of black pepper, spice, chocolate. This wine will dominate any dish, so give ribs, chops or roast your best shot, amping up the flavors with herbs, spice rubs, whatever. Syrah goes great with lamb too, and in this season, it could be a butterflied leg of lamb with Indian spices or a simple rack of lamb rubbed with olive oil and thyme.