Charles Smith (a real person’s name) was named Winemaker of the Year by Food and Wine Magazine and he’s a serious contender for wackiest too. But his wines are serious. This syrah is ripe without being sweet, with raspberry, tobacco, white pepper, and fragrant vanilla. It’s austere with strong tannins and definitely a food wine. A roast beef would meet its match in this wine. 4 stars out of 5. Sweetness=1 out of 10 (dry to sweet). $20
Taylor is a self-proclaimed Southern foodie, turned Californian food, wine, and gardening hipster.