Syrah is such a hard grape to use well. It's oh-so-easy to make it average, which is to say, boring, and there's a lot of that around. That's why I sat up and took notice at a recent tasting. I thought, 'Wow, Chateau Ste. Michelle did this?! Really? Hey, these guys are getting it dialed in.' A great Syrah nose here -- tar, licorice, herb, black fruit and in the mouth, oaky vanilla, strawberry/cherry fruit, mineral and decent pulpiness. This is a very, very satisfying example. Serve with steaks, chops, burgers or cassolette. Costs about $17.
-- Mike McVittie reviews wines available in Anchorage