Syrah is one of France’s finest wine grapes, yet has little in the way of name recognition in the United States for two reasons. First, even in its native Rhône Valley region, syrah is more often blended with other grapes than bottled on its own as a varietal.

Second, when the syrah grape is grown outside of Europe, it frequently goes by another name — one that is strongly associated with Australian wine: shiraz. Whether you call it syrah or shiraz, the grape’s most distinctive trait is the deep inky purple-tinged color of its wines. However, the wine’s flavor will largely depend on whether the grapes are grown in a warmer or cooler region. Cooler zones, like those in France or along California’s Pacific coast, produce syrahs that have the fresh tangy taste of wild blackberries and a faint nose-tingling hint of green peppercorns.

This same grape gets much riper in warmer regions, its wines offer more turbocharged flavors of baked fruit desserts — think blueberry pie. Many Americans assume these wines will be jammy and slightly sweet, simply based on the popularity of cheap and cheerful shiraz from down under. However, higher quality wines like this warmer-climate syrah from California’s interior tend to be drier on the palate, despite their sweet scent of blackberry jam. It also features a savory peppery dimension too, albeit in a meatier way, reminiscent of bacon or sausages, which makes it a delicious partner for grilled meats, just in time for your Labor Day barbecue.

Also available at:

Wine Warehouse in Sicklerville, N.J. — $12.99

Wine Warehouse in Clementon and Voorhees, N.J. — $13.98

Williamstown Super Buy Rite in Williamstown, N.J. — $15.99

Michael David “6th Sense” Syrah Lodi, Calif.

$15.99 15% alcohol

PLCB Item #7734

Sale price through Oct. 4 — regularly $18.99