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Wine Craft: Syrah Recommendations For Cab and Pinot Lovers


I have spent the last eight years selling thousands of bottles of red wine to guests from all over the United States. More than half of those bottles were either Pinot Noirs or Cabernet Sauvignons. There seems to be a trend among red wine drinker – they either lean towards softer, fruity Pinots or bold, big Cabernet Sauvignons. Since these varietals are on different ends of the flavor spectrum, it can hard to find one bottle of wine that pleases both groups, but there is one varietal that can be as soft as a Pinot while also hinting at Cab-like aggression. It’s time to start tasting Syrahs!

What Does a Syrah Taste Like?

Syrahs tend to be very fruity with cherry and raspberry while exuding pepper and hints of smoked meats on the nose. This wine finishes usually very juicy, smoky, and depending on where the wine comes from, it can be soft or even dry.

Syrah Recommendations for Pinot Noir Lovers

Pinot lovers tend to crave softer wines with lots of tart cherries, fruit, hints of smoke, barnyard notes, and an elegant finish. Here are my picks for softer Syrahs:

  • Montes Alpha Series Chile 2012 $20:  (Spicy, mineral-driven, light raspberry fruit finish) BUY ME
  • Saint Cosme St. Joseph, France 2012 $36: (Tobacco, cherries, pepper, and velvety finish) BUY ME
  • Fess Parker Rodney’s Vineyard Syrah Santa Barbara, California 2011 $49:  (Pepper, smoked meat, cherry finish) BUY ME

Syrah Recommendations for Cabernet Sauvignon Lovers

Cabernets tend to have dark fruit, cassis, mocha, tobacco, and bell pepper on the nose with a full feel, plenty of tannins, and a fruity finish. Here are my picks for Cab-like Syrahs:

  • Ramey Sonoma Coast Syrah 2013 $40:  BUY ME (Juicy, bing cherry, peppery full finish)
  • Hewitson The Mad Hatter Shiraz, McLaren Vale, Australia 2012 $50:  BUY ME (peppery, smoked meat, cool finsh)
  • Heartland Directors Cut Shiraz 2012 $34:  BUY ME (Blackberry, chocolate, dry, very hot finish)




Mario Mario Luna sommelierLuna is a Certified Sommelier and owner of Mario Luna Somm, a company that produces online wine courses, blogs, and other user-friendly content that makes wine education simple, accessible, and above all, entertaining! He lives in Las Vegas where, in addition to working on the famous Las Vegas Strip, he serves as a consultant for large-scale wine events, specialty shops, and all kinds of wine tastings. You can contact Mario through or kick of your wine education with one of his online wine courses.



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