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What That 'Sideways' Movie Got Wrong - Syrah


sideways wine movie, santa lucia highlands syrah, solvang syrah

Let's be clear. 'Sideways' did a lot to make wine interesting to hundreds of thousands of Americans. But I do think there's something that 'Sideways' got wrong - Pinot Noir is actually not the be-all, end-all of Southern California wine success. While there are lots of great Pinots being made in this up-and-coming wine area which is fast encroaching on Napa and Sonoma's California wine glory coattails, I think their Syrahs may be as good - if not better - than their Pinot Noir.

The year after 'Sideways' came out, I made a pilgrimage to the wine area above L.A. expecting to fall in love with Pinot, as the movie had promised. What I did not expect was finding amazing Syrah after amazing Syrah everywhere I went. Each tasting room I went to boasted which wines had been featured in the movie, but inevitably I found a Syrah I liked far better than the 'starring' Pinot Noir.

The featured "Splurge" wine for this week's new recipe - Porcini Mushroom Risotto - is just such a terrific Syrah from the Santa Lucia Highlands region by Novy. As with the best wines from the area, it's made in small lots by a relatively new producer, so can be hard to find but offers terrific value and an utterly luscious drinking experience. If you have a hard time finding this wine from Novy, here are a few other Syrah producers to try and track down:

Blackjack Ranch Winery
Stolpman Vineyards
Presidio Vineyard & Winery
Au Bon Climat

Happy hunting!

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