porcupine ridge syrah

Late fall is game season, and if you’re wondering what to pair with that bacon-wrapped deer tenderloin you brought back from the hunting camp last weekend, Colony Wine Market has the answer! Syrah (and its Australian alter ego, Shiraz) make a classic pairing with robust, flavorful game meats like wild duck, boar, venison, and lamb. Wines made from Syrah are usually full-bodied, with a balance of power and finesse, and show off flavors of black fruits, earth, and pepper. This makes it an excellent foil for rich, wild-tasting meat dishes. Bordeaux blends, featuring the blackcurrant, cedar, and toasty vanilla flavors of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Fanc, and Malbec are also classic accompaniments to rich roasted and grilled meats. Plush, opulent New-World versions of this French classic are especially inviting on damp, chilly Autumn evenings.

While Syrah is traditionally at home in France’s Rhone valley, there are exciting New World offerings as well. From California comes the Novy label, made by Siduri Pinot Noir stars Adam and Dianna Lee. The Lees treat Syrah as if it were Pinot, allowing it to fully express a sense of place. We at CWM are featuring the Novy Russian River Valley Syrah 2005 which Wine Spectator (April 2009) calls “elegant,” with “dark berry, pepper, spice, and tobacco leaf flavors.” The single-vineyard Novy offering, a 2006 Syrah from Gary’s Vineyard in the Santa Lucia highlands just north of Monterey, shows “blueberry, wild berry, mineral, and light, cedary oak flavors.” (WS Nov 2008)

Syrah stars in the Southern Hemisphere as well, and not just in the land Down Under. From South Africa, we are pleased to present Porcupine Ridge Syrah, a steal at $11.99. This is a medium-bodied Syrah, with aromas of dark chocolate and bacon under layers of ripe black fruit.

From the wilds of South Africa’s Paarl region (just inland from Capetown), we bring you the wines of Vilafonte, created by Zelma Long (formerly of Simi Winery in Sonoma) and Mike Ratcliffe, from South Africa’s Warwick Estates. This cross-Hemisphere collaboration has created some amazing small-production, luxury-style Bordeaux blends, perfect with rack of lamb, venison roasts, and other gamy treats. Vilafonte Series C 2003 is a Left Bank-style blend, heavy on the Cab, with “impressive concentration and precision to the layers of plum, red currant, roasted vanilla, espresso bean and mineral” (WS Jan 2009). Series M 2004 is a softer, more Merlot-focused blend (36% Cab, 31% Merlot, 25% Malbec, 8% Cab Franc); this makes it ideal for duck or leaner cuts of game. As an added bonus for collectors, all of our Vilafonte bottles are signed by Mike Ratcliffe!

Happy hunting!

-Rachel Williams

Porcupine Ridge Syrah 2008, South Africa, 89 points Wine Enthusiast $11.99
Novy Syrah
2005, Russian River Valley, 93 points Wine Spectator $28.99
Novy Syrah
2006, Gary’s Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands, 93 points WS $34.79
Vilafonte Series M
2004, Paarl, 91 points WS $41.99
Vilafonte Series C
2003, Paarl, 92 points WS $57.99