Looking for a Sexy Date? Syrah is More Dependable

Posted October 26, 2015

Stacy Brody

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You see someone at the coffee shop. You catch his eye. He’s drop-dead gorgeous. The timing seems right. You even put on deodorant that morning, so you work up the courage and walk over. What’s the worst that can happen? He can say no.

And then you see the ring on his finger and decide tonight is a good night to have a date with a bottle of wine and a romantic comedy. Besides, for a date with this delectable creature you’d have to put on real clothes, and you know he would show up “fashionably late” because he “got lost” and was actually spending those ten minutes looking in the mirror because he is that gorgeous.

The Problem: Sexy people are either taken or not dependable (or, in some cases, both - Ashley Madison comes to mind).

The Solution: Syrah

Syrah is the wine world’s secret...in plain sight. It is, in fact, an international variety of mystery. Syrah is a pair of perfectly polished leather shoes. A smoking cigar. Freshly ground black pepper on steak served rare. It is juicy, earthy, and meaty, yet beautifully refined. You don’t need much more for a perfect date than a bottle, a corkscrew (unless it happens to be a handy-dandy screwcap from down under), and a glass. But you only need a glass if you want to be classy, I guess. I will not whisper a word of your drinking from the bottle while watching “Love Actually.”

Il est un bel homme
Syrah’s first home is France’s Rhône Valley, south of Burgundy, starting in the north with the city of Lyon. The vineyards are steep and stony, rising alongside the river. Syrah is the only red variety permitted in the northern part. Here, you find some of the world’s most sought-after wines: Côte Rôtie and Hermitage. The latter, according to one wine writer of the early 1900s, is “the manliest wine.” Mr. George Saintsbury was a wine writer and Francophile (he also wrote reviews of French literature); he tried a fair amount of wine in his day, so who am I to argue? Undoubtedly, Syrah shines here. Challenged by nutrient-poor soils, ripened by ample sun exposure and kept cool by gusting winds, the grapes are intensely flavored, yielding wines of structure and finesse, wines that are meaty yet elegant. He’s a man of the land all cleaned up, wearing fitted dark-washed jeans and leather shoes. Dang, does he look good.

And it only gets better. These wines are also some of the world’s most age-worthy. Syrah is a thick-skinned grape with ample tannins, endowing it with the structure to mature remarkably well. Like George Clooney, Harrison Ford, or Clint Eastwood, Syrah wines don’t really grow old. Rather, they become that much more stunning as they mature.  

G’day, Mate. How about we open a bottle at your place?
From the Rhône, Syrah was brought to Australia via Cape of Good Hope, South Africa. Here, with a super-sexy accent, it’s known as Shiraz. Old vines thrive in South Australia’s Barossa Valley. These Australian Shirazes are rich, powerful reds, dripping with luscious dark fruit. Succulent and spicy, this is the smooth-talking man in the sport coat, bottom button undone. He offers to buy you a drink now...and breakfast tomorrow. Let it be said that this is the man you really shouldn’t bring home to mom.

Save a horse and a cowboy. Drink Syrah.
In 1990, Syrah was brought from France to California, specifically from Chateau de Beaucastel to Paso Robles. Beaucastel is a leading producer in the Rhone. They aren’t going to send their precious grapevines just anywhere. Beaucastel saw promise in Paso Robles - the climate, the soils, the terroir was all right. Working with Beaucastel, Tablas Creek began growing and propagating Rhône varieties in Paso Robles. Blessed with warm days, cool nights and summer sunshine, Paso Robles turns out killer Syrah-based wines. In fact, Saxum’s 2007 James Berry Vineyard blend of Grenache, Mourvedre, and Syrah was named Wine of the Year 2010 by Wine Spectator. Paso Robles also has a long history of cattle ranching. And where there’s cattle, there are men with exceptional tans and strong lasso arms. These cowboys, however, are prone to ride off into the sunset. Besides, I have had too many bad experiences with horses. I think I’ll stick to a juicy, meaty Paso Robles Syrah.  


Don’t forget, you can always pretend you need to borrow some milk or sugar for this cake you’re baking and invite over that Neighbor you’ve been wanting to talk to. In that case, break out your real wine glasses.

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Stacy comes to Wine Library from the production side of the industry. After studying agriculture in college, she found herself working at a local winery and, at harvest season, snacking on as many Pinot Noir grapes as she could take before the winemaker noticed. She enjoys reading, hiking, and scoping out what's in season at the local farmers' markets.

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