Non-Bordeaux Big Reds

Syrah, Tempranillo, Grenache

Griffin Creek 2015 Syrah, Rogue Valley

Aromas need a bit of coaxing to reveal themselves, especially for a Syrah. Though it speaks quietly, it definitely has something to say. Inviting blueberry, spice and vanilla are grounded by earthy clay and infused with a bit of mystery from smoked cocktail cherry. A fruity palate follows with dark cocoa. A sharp grapefruit and black pepper finish and bright acidity make you thirst for more. Acid and tannin are quite sturdy, yet not overwhelming, creating a wine easy to pair and a candidate for cellaring. $45: 544 cases

Guzzo Family Vineyard 2016 Syrah, Rogue Valley

A pleasure from beginning to end, this Syrah starts with fun fragrances of sweet cinnamon and bright strawberry. Fruity yet darker on the palate, the flavors show blackberry, blueberry and a dash of black pepper. A limeade tartness on the finish leaves a refreshing sensation that makes another sip inevitable. Easy to enjoy yet sophisticated and extremely food friendly. $24; 36 cases

Viento NV Cuvée R Lot 18 Red Wine, Oregon/Washington

A mélange of interesting notes with red apple, whole cinnamon stick, lemon bay leaf, orange and candied cherry scents. On the palate the bay delivers a culinary-inspired herbaceous quality while the cherry takes a darker form mulled with spices. Cola and cocoa add richness to this light-bodied, well-balanced blend with flavors that linger across the finish. $24; 197 cases

Wy’East 2016 Chukar Ridge Vineyard Syrah, Columbia Valley

Caramelization and fruit play comfortably on the nose without seeming sticky or overripe. Notes of cocoa and graham cracker meet a medley of mostly red fruits — cherry, strawberry, boysenberry — and unsweet blackberries. The fruit flavors continue on the palate along with violets, hazelnuts and cola. Bright orange oil-flavored acidity lifts a light and well-balanced structure. $32; 125 cases

Sweet Cheeks 2015 Barrel Select Tempranillo, Umpqua Valley

Fruity and spicy yet very savory. A medley of baking spices, cinnamon and allspice, but more for a pie of venison than apple. Toasted notes, tayberry and the earthy dusty aromas of red clay brick add to the intrigue. The earthiness and fruit blend into flavors like a well-married sauce. Lemon oil and black pepper freshen and lift. The finish is flavored with unsweetened dried dates. $28; 602 cases

Arcane Cellars 2015 Barrel Select Grenache Rogue Valley

A blend of homegrown dried tomatoes, mild dried red peppers and whole mixed peppercorn. Yes, you do kind of want some pizza, or charcuterie, or slow-simmered pasta sauce. This savory delight would be a perfect pairing. The dried fruit and integrated sauce flavors continue on the palate with black pepper, balancing acid and a lengthy finish. $36; 288 cases

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