MISSION HILL RESERVE SYRAH BC VQA $36.99 761569 Aromas of blue and black fruit with violets preview a structured core of black cherry, anise and vanilla, wrapped in fine tannins through a lingering, complex finish. Delicious with grilled vegetables and red meat.

Although the Similkameen Valley’s Clos du Soleil specializes in Bordeaux varieties, winemaker Michael Clark finds it hard to resist the pull of Rhône varieties. “When we do step outside our Bordeaux focus, it’s because we think there’s really excellent potential.” Clark is convinced that “the Similkameen can do Syrah beautifully—and very differently from the Okanagan.” What sets Similkameen Syrah apart? For one thing, the valley’s high winds cool the clusters during hot summers, increasing the grapes’ acidity. “That pairs beautifully well with the soft structure we often get with Syrah,” he says, “along with its really ripe, juicy, berry fruit character.” Also look for notes of sagebrush, pencil lead and minerality—all distinct characteristics of Similkameen wines. “Barbecued ribs make a fantastic pairing, but so does a smoked roast of pork,” Clark says. “Or, for vegetarians, we recommend a five‑bean chili with chocolate mole sauce.” SYDNEY VALENTINO, SANDHILL WINES Sandhill winemaker Sydney Valentino feels that, stylistically, BC Syrah is not trying to be like Aussie Shiraz. “It’s not overconcentrated but a little leaner and firmer,” she says. Sandhill “white-label” Syrah blends Okanagan fruit from Hidden Terrace (just below McIntyre Bluff, near Oliver) with grapes grown on rocky Vanessa Vineyard in the Similkameen Valley. The heat of that site helps deliver the ripeness and elegance that Valentino loves in Syrah. As for what to drink it with? Just about any barbecued red meat, year-round. No question, “Syrah is my favourite red variety,” she says. And, it would appear, many other British Columbians agree!

Heady aromas of dark berry fruits and spice preview a lush, full-bodied palate packed with blackberry, cassis and vanilla through a lengthy, peppery close. Pair with a peppery steak.

BORDERTOWN SYRAH BC VQA $24.99 495700 Upfront blackberry and spice precede generous cassis and ripe blackberry flavours, with a savoury backbone that pairs perfectly with grilled red meats and hearty vegetarian fare.

BLASTED CHURCH SYRAH BC VQA $29.99 37531 Forward notes of blue and red fruit with a gamey hint lead to a ripe palate of blueberry, blackberry, sage and plum, wrapped in lively acidity through a layered finish. Try it with lamb or grilled sausages.

CLOS DU SOLEIL SYRAH BC VQA $38.99 21697 Heady red berry, spice, floral and sagebrush aromas lead to a juicy, earth-toned, complex palate of raspberry, cassis, spice and chocolate hints through a lengthy end. Enjoy alongside barbecued ribs or smoked pork.

SANDHILL SYRAH BC VQA $25.99 98541 Forward dark cherry, leather and spice lead to a full-bodied blackberry and vanilla-toned palate with dark plum and pepper notes: perfect with game and winter stews. Pairs well with most red meats.



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