Rich syrah reminiscent of Rhone red

WINE OF THE WEEK: 2008 Cowhorn Vineyard & Garden Syrah 74 'Applegate Valley'; from Oregon's Applegate Valley; costs $21 to $34; serve with brisket, coq au vin and beans with lamb shank

Syrah doesn't exactly leap to mind when thinking about Oregon reds. But here's a wonderful example from the tiny Cowhorn Vineyard & Garden in Applegate Valley (that's in Southern Oregon). One sip and I was ready to buy a case. Why? Because it's tremendously food-friendly, not overly extracted, a syrah that's graceful and poised, bright with flavors of cherry and cassis and sporting a snazzy bit of acidity. I don't know what it is about the valley where the grapes are grown, but this wine is reminiscent of syrah from the northern Rhone. This is a winery to watch.

Oh, I should mention the vineyard is Biodynamic, the garden where they grow produce for restaurants, too. And if you can't find the 2008, the 2009 should soon be arriving on the scene. Keep an eye out for their marsanne-roussanne as well.

Drink the syrah with braised brisket, coq au vin or a hearty bean dish with lamb shanks.

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