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By Michael Dresser | August 8, 2001
1998 Monterra Syrah, Monterey ($14). This lush, ripe red wine is a good approximation of the style of the fine wines of France's Rhone Valley. Quite full-bodied, it offers generous flavors of blackberry, chocolate, herbs and smoked meat. Its lush, soft texture makes it immediately appealing, but there's plenty of tannic backbone to keep it developing for five to 10 years. Serve with hearty red meat or pasta dishes.
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September 2, 2014
From: Maule Valley, Chile Price: $16 Serve with: Grilled beef, lamb, goat I often find Chilean red wines to be a bit high on tannin and light on fruit, but this outstanding blend of 60 percent syrah and 40 percent malbec is an exception. It offers bright, syrah-dominated fruit right up front, the kind of flavor that jolts the palate awake. It offers a complex flavor mix including black cherry, raspberry, vanilla and black pepper. The malbec gives it structure, the syrah gives it charm.
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By MICHAEL DRESSER | March 1, 2006
This plump, ripe, well-rounded red wine offers excellent value and approachability for a California syrah. Its intense flavors of blackberry, herbs and chocolate coat the palate, but its tannins are soft - making aging a choice rather than a requirement. Serve with lamb, game, stews.
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By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | September 11, 2012
This artful blend of zinfandel, grenache, syrah, merlot and other red varietal is simply a very pleasant experience. The mix proves to be harmonious, and each variety seems to play its part perfectly. There's the power and earthiness of the zin, the broad shoulders of the syrah, the exuberant fruit of the grenache and the soft elegance of the merlot. The cherry and blackberry flavors are intense and penetrating but not harsh. It's a model of balance. It just goes to show that while the soil is crucial, the skill of the winemaker is important too. A big bonus is that Kendall-Jackson wines are widely available.
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By MICHAEL DRESSER | August 2, 2006
This voluptuous, ripe, full-bodied red wine displays a smooth, silky texture and intense flavors of plums, blackberries and chocolate. It's a good amalgam of traditional Rhone Valley style and California ripeness. While good now, it will certainly develop over five to seven years. Serve with beef, lamb, chili.
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By Michael Dresser | April 27, 2012
From: California Price: $14 Serve with: Pasta dishes, grilled meat This lush, ripe blend of zinfandel, syrah, cabernet sauvignon and merlot is all about decadent pleasure. It's one of those smooth red wines that is so fruity it gives the impression of sweetness without being sweet. There's a lot of berry action - black, blue and wild - and hints of chocolate and coffee. There's no point in sitting on it. Drink now.  
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By Michael Dresser | December 18, 2002
1999 Equus Syrah, Paso Robles ($18). The syrah grape is continuing to flourish in California as better vineyard sites are found and more wineries get the hang of this classic red-wine grape. This Central Coast syrah from Wild Horse Vineyards is one of the more Rhonelike examples on the market, with generous blackberry and raspberry fruit and hints of plums, herbes de Provence and mint. Appealingly plump now, it has the underlying structure to age for a decade. The length and intensity are impressive.
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By Michael Dresser | June 20, 2001
1999 Montpellier Vineyards Syrah ($7). This California red wine won't dazzle you with its complexity, but it's off the charts in terms of value. It's chunky, ripe and bright -- without the roughness you often get from reds costing about this much. It offers straightforward black currant, blackberry and plum fruit in a medium-bodied style with a touch of smoked meat and herbs. This wine shows more of the true syrah character than most Australian shirazes (same grape). Serve this with hamburgers, pasta, grilled chicken, steaks or anything that will stand up to a flavorful red.
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By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | September 11, 2012
This artful blend of zinfandel, grenache, syrah, merlot and other red varietal is simply a very pleasant experience. The mix proves to be harmonious, and each variety seems to play its part perfectly. There's the power and earthiness of the zin, the broad shoulders of the syrah, the exuberant fruit of the grenache and the soft elegance of the merlot. The cherry and blackberry flavors are intense and penetrating but not harsh. It's a model of balance. It just goes to show that while the soil is crucial, the skill of the winemaker is important too. A big bonus is that Kendall-Jackson wines are widely available.
NEWS
By MICHAEL DRESSER | December 3, 2008
This full-bodied red wine serves up an abundance of flavor for a modest price. It's an easily accessible, ripe, chunky wine with bold flavors of blackberry, chocolate and herbs. It's not what you would call an elegant wine, but this is just right for a cold December evening. Think of port without the sweetness. 2006 Windmill Syrah From: Lodi, Calif. Price: $12 Serve with: Hearty winter stews, game
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By Michael Dresser | April 27, 2012
From: California Price: $14 Serve with: Pasta dishes, grilled meat This lush, ripe blend of zinfandel, syrah, cabernet sauvignon and merlot is all about decadent pleasure. It's one of those smooth red wines that is so fruity it gives the impression of sweetness without being sweet. There's a lot of berry action - black, blue and wild - and hints of chocolate and coffee. There's no point in sitting on it. Drink now.  
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By Lisa Airey, thewinekey@aol.com | December 1, 2011
Vive la Difference! They were all Côtes du Rhônes. Red. Wonderful, but as different as night and day. The Domaine du Bois de St. Jean "L'Intrepide" Côtes du Rhône 2009 ($13) was a blockbuster. It reminded me of those expensive and exotic gourmet chocolate bars that combine peppercorns with cocoa beans or resinous herbs with cocoa beans. It was dense, supple and concentrated with a sun-dried cherry finish - plus pepper, herb and chocolate, of course. This was one for the books.
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By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | September 4, 2010
This is not your grandfather's kosher wine. This is, in fact, a great dry red wine that any host would be proud to serve to guests. It's a full-bodied, creamy-textured, complex wine with more maturity and character than most of the newly released reds on the market. There's plenty of lush, chewy blackberry and spice flavor, with a hint of chocolate. Does $25 seem high? If this were from California and hadn't been blessed by a rabbi, it would probably be fetching $40-$50. (For those who care, the wine isn't mevushal aka pasteurized — a good thing for wine quality, though it raises logistical issues for the observant.
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By Michael Dresser | March 11, 2009
2005 Diggers Bluff Stray Dog From: Barossa Valley, Australia Price: $15 Serve with: Barbecue, grilled steak This lively blend of the Rhone grapes syrah (shiraz), grenache and mourvedre (mataro) is a red wine with an Aussie swagger and rustic character. This full-bodied, well-rounded wine is packed with blackberry, leather, smoked-meat, chocolate and wild-berry flavors. It's perfect for drinking right now, and its freedom from cork taint is assured by a modern screw cap.
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