Qupe Syrah 2018. Central Coast, California. Aged 16 months in (15% new) François Frères Burgundy barrels, this Syrah-dominant blend with 13% Grenache, 3% Tempranillo, and 2% Mourvèdre comprises fruit sourced from vineyards spanning from Santa Ynez to Paso Robles. With an echo of the Northern Rhône, it shows the grip, grit, graphite, and bite that true Syrah lovers seek out. Aromas of stemmy dark fruit, earth, and animale make a deep impact, as do flavors of black pepper and juicy plum. The sensational mouthfeel and finish of dark chocolate–covered cherry leave us convinced that this beloved label remains an icon—and a great value to boot. The 2018 Qupé Syrah is delicious and nicely textured. This wine shows abundant black fruit and a hint of minerality in its aromas and flavors. Pair it with a well-seasoned lamb stew.