During the past few years, syrah has been receiving a lot of grief.
It's somewhat inexplicable, because the red grape often associated with France's Northern Rhône Valley can make such delicious and approachable wines.
Yet sales have suffered in the past half-decade, particularly with Australian shiraz (another name for syrah).
In Washington state, however, syrah is not slowing down. Last year, Washington grape growers harvested 15,300 tons of syrah, a nearly 30 percent increase over 2012 (which was a then-record high 11,800 tons).
Certainly, a great deal of syrah is finding its way into red blends, which is the largest category of Washington wine — as it should because syrah can add a rich suppleness to other reds. A bit of syrah in the blend can provide subtle jamminess to a wine's midpalate and round out the tannins. Winemakers love its versatility.
At the lower end of the price scale (and the higher end of production), wineries have trouble moving syrah. Ironically, those winemakers who specialize in high-quality, small-production and high-priced syrah can't seem to make enough to please fans.
Here are a few luscious syrahs we've tasted recently. Ask for them at your favorite wine merchant or contact the wineries directly.