PICK of the RACK: Eberle Winery | Syrah | Steinbeck Vineyard | Paso Robles | San Luis Obispo County | California | 2009 | $24 | 90 pts

Aromas:  ripe blackberries; woodsmoke; cured tobacco; spice
Character:  dry; rich & full-bodied; fruit-earth balance; leathery tannins; medium acidity; subtle oak
Flavors:  dark fruits; cocoa; coffee; kalamata olive; mineral
Food Pairing:  char-grilled steaks & other meats; tomato & meat pasta dishes

A Wine on the Barrelhead “Great Steak Wine”

Gary Eberle, proprietor of Eberle Winery, is a true pioneer of California Syrah.  In the mid-70’s he planted 20 acres of the variety in Paso Robles, from budwood originally sourced by U.C. Davis from a renowned Syrah producer in France’s Rhone Valley.  Eberle was among the first California wineries to make a wine of 100% Syrah, and the winery continues to craft single-varietal Syrah (along with other varieties) of great quality and value.  We came across Eberle’s 2009 Syrah at a restaurant recently, and paired it with a spicy, char-grilled ribye.  It was a perfect match:  the wine has the solidity of structure and melange of dark fruit and smoky earth flavors that melded seamlessly with the seared, savory qualities of the steak.  Wine drinkers often pair steak with Cabernet Sauvignon, and that can indeed be a match made in heaven.  But this Syrah capably stood its ground and pronounced itself to be a “great steak wine.”

Availability:  Eberle Winery produced only 1,169 cases of the 2009 Syrah, and 1,459 cases of its newest 2010 vintage, so national distribution is limited.  Check with the winery as to retail availability in your area, or you can order it directly from them at www.eberlewinery.com



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