Samantha Syrah: worth tracking down—if you're quick

Samantha Syrah: worth tracking down—if you’re quick

Somehow I just knew it was going to be good.

What do you get when you introduce a savvy Whistler sommelier to an accomplished winemaker and a decent crop of South Okanagan grapes? Samantha Syrah 2013 is the newest release in Okanagan Crush Pad’s Okanagan Wine Campus Series.

Samantha labelThe wine was made by OCP’s Michael Bartier, in collaboration with BC Sommelier of the Year Samantha Rahn, who when not keeping herself intact (most of the time) whilst hurtling down trails on her mountain bike, maintains the not insignificant cellar at Araxi.

This marks the fourth wine produced under the OCP program (proceeds from which benefit the BC Hospitality Foundation) and, true to form, the result is distinctive, interesting and a departure from the norm.

What I appreciate about the Wine Campus program is that it encourages the sommelier involved to ‘think outside the box’. Previous winners have come up with wines that not only reflect their personal taste but also act as a roadmap as to where the rest of us might want to be heading with our own wine choices.

Ms. Rahn’s Syrah—one of the best I’ve tasted from BC—adds up to a superb balance of fruit, approachability and structure. Look for up-front vibrant red and blue berry notes, followed by a medium bodied palate with a touch of hallmark spicy pepperiness and approachable tannins. Move fast if you want to try it. Only 150 cases produced.

You’ll notice it’s ‘Syrah’ as opposed to ‘Shiraz’. That’s deliberate, as this wine leans a just a tad more towards old world than new, doesn’t pack a massive alcoholic punch (13.9%) and, not surprisingly, makes for a delicious food wine. Samantha suggests roasted free-range chicken. $24.90, 92 pts.Michael Bartier and Samantha Rahn sm