We started with two Rhône Valley Syrahs - the 2010 Romain Duvernay, Saint-Joseph AOP that is hand-picked from cliffs in cold climate and made in stainless steel to give a light and herbal effect and the 2010 Domain Mucyn, Crozes-Hermitage AOC that is much more floral and rich in flavor. We paired both of these French Syrahs with a tasty fennel cheese. We learned this wine also pairs well with game like lamb and duck.
Next, we tried a less popular Syrah from Idaho called 2012 Sawtooth from Snake River Valley AVA. This wine region offers a continental climate creating a very fruity and peppery wine. It paired well with the aged goat cheese. This wine compared most with a South African Syrah called 2011 DeMorgenzon (DMZ) from Western Cape WO. This wine was still fruity, yet a bit lighter in body and had hints of vanilla from the French Oak barrels its housed in. I preferred the Idaho wine to this one, yet Keith preferred the South African one better.
Lastly, we tried two smoky Australian Shirazs - the 2011 Hope Estate Family Vineyards, Basalt Block, Hunter Valley that is machine-harvested in warm climate and had a floral fruity base with plum notes and a slight hint of bacon, and the 2009 d'Arenberg, The Laughing Magpie, McLaren Vale that is a blend of Shiraz with 10% Viognier creating a much sweeter version that Keith and I both enjoyed.