Syrah is a big-red-wine-lover’s best friend, with its versatility and bold peppery and spicy flavors. This red wine variety is from the Rhône wine region in Southern France, where it is grown along the long Rhône river valley. The Rhône valley is generally divided into northern and the southern growing regions, which have very different growing conditions, producing 2 distinct styles of Syrah. Northern Rhône has a cooler climate and produces elegant wines with floral, spice and deep peppery tones. The Southern region grows many red grapes, including Syrah that has darker berry flavors , which are also used for Rhône red blends.
Here on the San Luis Obispo Coast, our climate and terroir resembles that of the Northern Rhône, and our Syrah producers focus on achieving complexity and balanced acidity along with the aromatics and spiciness mentioned above. We’ve got 18 wineries with lovely cool-climate Syrahs–read below for the details listed from south to north!
Southern Charm Arroyo Grande
Talley 2020 Syrah. Talley Vineyards Syrah is a dense and elegant wine grown in the calcareous clay soils of the Rincon Vineyard. The 2020 vintage captures the distinct cool-climate characteristics reminiscent of the northern Rhône region with notes of juicy blackberry, mocha and peppercorn.
Timbre 2019 The Hook Syrah. Velvety purple, inky crimson. beautifully dark the color and shades of syrah tends to draw you in immediately. We get wild blackberry, blueberry, rhubarb pie, and a hint of vanilla.
Lindquist Family 2019 “Sonnie’s” Syrah, 94 points, Wine Enthusiast. “This is one of the finest Syrahs I’ve made…classic cool climate structure with aromas of black pepper, cardamom, dried raspberries and spicy oak. On the pallet, there is abundant fruit that is perfectly balanced with fresh acidity and tannins. This is a wine for the cellar…you won’t be unhappy enjoying it now, but if you can be patient, and wait at least 5-10 years, you’re patience will be rewarded”.- Bob Lindquist
Lindquist Family 2021 Central Coast Syrah, 91 points, Vinous. This wine shows classic black pepper and spice, with fresh, balanced acidity and clean moderate tannins. It is bottled under Stelvin for easy access and immediate enjoyment!
Lindquist Family 2020 Central Coast Syrah. 91 points, Vinous. This wine shows classic black pepper and spice, with fresh, balanced acidity and clean moderate tannins. It is bottled under Stelvin for easy access and immediate enjoyment!
Lindquist Family 2018 X-Block Syrah Magnum, 93+ points, Vinous. This is classic cool climate Syrah with aromatics of pepper, cardamom, smoked meat and dried raspberries. It is rich in the mouth yet still light on its feet, with mouth filling fruit and balanced alcohol and acidity.
Lindquist Family 2019 X-Block Syrah Magnum, 92 points “Cellar Special,” Wine Enthusiast. 94, Antonio Galloni Vinous
Lindquist Family 2019 “Z” Block Syrah Magnum, 93 points, Vinous, 93 points ‘Cellar Selection,’ Wine Enthusiast. Toasted mocha with dense notes of blackberry & spice. “The 2019 Syrah Bien Nacido Z Block impresses with its creamy, layered personality. A healthy dollop (33%) of whole clusters lifts the dark Syrah fruit. The 2019 is exquisitely beautiful, but it also needs at least a few years to show the full breadth of its aromatics. Today, the 2019 is decidedly young and almost primary.” -Antonio Galloni
Edna Valley Back Roads
Baileyana 2018 Estate Syrah. This cool climate Syrah from a single vineyard in the Edna Valley is bright and fresh, beginning with aromas of juicy blueberry, savory blackberry and white pepper on the nose. This is a medium bodied wine with wonderful finesse showcasing integrated flavors of vanilla and cinnamon while letting the bright blueberry and plum notes shine through. The chalky tannins are complemented by new French oak, which offers a toasty undertone that runs throughout.
Baileyana 2018 S-BAR Syrah Reserve. Incredibly smooth with a perfect balance of fruit and acidity. This bottling represents only a small fraction of our total Syrah production and is especially limited.
Kynsi 2019 Syrah Edna Valley, Coming Soon. Aromas of fresh ollalieberries, purple flowers and dried herbs with deep, mouth-coating flavors of boysenberry jam, black pepper and cassis. It is a deep, inky Syrah that showcases the qualities of cool growing Syrah well.
Kynsi 2019 Syrah Kalanna, Coming Soon. The original project of Othman daughters Kala and Anna, the first vintage was produced in 2003 and was met with high acclaim. It offers scents of wild berries, espresso powder and anise with concentrated flavors of blackberry and Mexican chocolate.
Kynsi 2019 Syrah ZB Bien Nacido Vineyard, Coming Soon. Hailing from the esteemed hillside ZB block, this powerhouse has aromas of wild blackberries, violets and white pepper with characteristic olive tapenade and juicy, lip smacking flavors of fresh blackberry syrup and acai berry.
Wolff 2021 Syrah. Our estate produced Syrah exhibits the Edna Valley grown ocean marine influence taste profile of a Northern Rhone style cool-climate Syrah. Flavors of stewed red berries, black cherry and ripe plum layered with spice and white pepper. Refined tannins provide a full bodied finish with toasty nuances.
Edna Valley Core of the Coast
Autry 2019 Syrah. Bronze Medal Award, 2022 Central Coast Wine Competition. Non-traditional cool-climate Syrah from the Edna Valley with plum on the nose and strong oak and strawberry flavors. Fruit-forward with a dry finish. Fantastic with aged white cheddar, pasta carbonara or chicken cordon blue.
Biddle Ranch 2019 Syrah. Classic cool-climate Syrah aromatics offer dark tones of black olive, wild blueberry, and espresso. Beautiful fruit tones of dark cherry, blackberry, and candied violet fill the palate with an irresistible juiciness, bringing length and tension to the wine. Chalky yet silky tannins suggest the use of whole cluster (roughly 25%) and give the wine a vivid fresh finish.
Claiborne & Churchill 2021 Syrah, Edna Valley, 93 points, Wine Enthusiast. The Syrah we source from our friends at Wolff Vineyards is a case in point. The cool climate here gives Syrah a complex, layered quality that we find quite intriguing. A dark red hue introduces this friendly and exuberant young wine. Aromas of ripe plum and tobacco with a hint of dried hay play against an overall confectionary tone. The palate is consistent with the aromas in its plushness and accessibility.
Claiborne & Churchill 2020 Syrah, Spanish Springs. This Syrah demonstrates just how versatile this Rhône red can be. The vineyard, located between our winery and Pismo Beach, is home to sandy loam soils and cool coastal fog, offering our winemaking team the opportunity to produce a Syrah deep in color and complex in flavor.
Edna Valley 2019 Reserve Syrah. Our 2019 Reserve Syrah is a dry, full-bodied red wine with rustic tones of dark fruit and savory spice. Aromas of dark plum and earthy notes of toasted wood and leather rise from the glass with hints of cracked pepper and anise. Rich notes of blackcurrant balance on the palate with chewy tannins while aromas of crushed violet, black tea and espresso garnish the finish.
Tolosa 1772 Syrah…coming soon.
Sinor-LaVallee 2016 & 2017 Syrah White-Label, Bassi Vineyard. The White Label is reserved for ultra-limited wines that exhibit a leaner expression of Bassi Vineyard. We select clones, blocks, yeasts and barrels that cultivate structure, yielding wines with lower alcohol and higher acidity. These wines are all about litheness and clean site expression.
Sinor-LaVallee 2017 Syrah Estate, Bassi Vineyard. The Estate wines come exclusively from Bassi Vineyard. Because the vineyard falls outside of any recognized AVA, these wines are designated with a San Luis Obispo County appellation. But make no mistake—these are limited-production estate bottlings that speak vividly of a single vineyard.
Sinor-LaVallee 2017 Syrah Black-Label, Bassi Vineyard. The Black Label is reserved for ultra-limited wines that offer a fuller expression of Bassi Vineyard. We select clones, blocks, yeasts and ultimately barrels that foster weight and roundness, yielding wines with higher alcohol and lower acidity. These wines are all about power and richness.
Urban Trail San Luis Obispo
Cal Poly 2018 Syrah. Notes of chocolate and truffle hit the nose, but upon swirling the glass, aromas shift to dried prunes, savory allspice and black pepper. Drink now if looking for a hearty and spicy wine or wait a few months to allow full integration of nose and palate.
El Lugar 2018 Syrah, Spanish Springs, 94 Points, Vinous. ”Translucent ruby-red. Red berries, incense and candied flowers on the highly perfumed noes; a smoky mineral nuance builds in the glass…The 2018 Syrah, from Spanish Springs vineyard and the 2018 Pinot Noir, which are both distinctly elegant and complex, were among the best wines from this excellent vintage that I tried this winter.” Josh Raynolds, Vinous
Ragtag 2017 Syrah, 91 Points, Wine Enthusiast. Boysenberries, dark chocolate cordial cherries. Deep, dark fruits, vanilla, oak. Velvety and smooth, full bodied, a hint of spice on the ﬁnish.
Points North Trail
Absolution Cellars 2016 Syrah. Combining the best characteristics of both cool- and warm-climate Syrah, this rich and complex wine drinks like a meal in a glass. Picked a little earlier to preserve the natural acidity from the vineyard, it still shows plenty of great fruit and savory characteristics and is the perfect partner for roast lamb and duck. From plantings originally started by Dick Graff (who founded the legendary Chalone Winery and created the Chalone AVA) at his personal vineyard in this most unique other-worldly place and micro-climate.
Derby 2017 Derbyshire Syrah. Light-bodied and crimson in color with an ethereal bouquet of black pepper, green cardamom and dried kombu. Flavors of strawberry and Bing cherry are supported by soft tannins and supple acidity.
Niner 2017 Syrah. We farm just eight acres of Syrah at Jespersen Ranch. The vines enjoy a longer, cooler growing season than our Paso Robles vineyards and as a result produce a complex, cool-climate Syrah. The 2017 vintage shows off a combination of black pepper and pomegranate aromas. The pepper comes through deliciously on the palate, balanced by fruit and acidity to create a dense, mouthwatering wine.
Stolo 2019 Creekside Estate Syrah, 97 points, Wine Enthusiast. Vineyard: Stolo Creekside Vineyard, Cambria CA. Aromas: Inky, plum, kalamata olive, graphite, eucalyptus. Flavors/Texture: Huckleberry, tightly wound, tea tree, mineral, hint black pepper. Color: Inky Purple
Stolo 2019 Hillside Reserve Syrah, 93 points, Wine Enthusiast. Vineyard: Stolo Hillside Vineyard – Cote Rotie Clone, planted 1998. Aromas: Pluot, crushed herbs, gravel, mint, sarsaparilla, iron. Flavors/Texture: Mineral, crisp plum, kelp, iodine, sanguine. Color: Inky Purple