2006 Sterling Albert Winery Syrah Mt. Diablo
I grilled up some lamb steaks last night with a rub I made on the fly: Cumin, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and oregano (I was out of mint). I mixed in some oil, made a paste, and slathered it on those grass-fed New Zealand steaks.
Syrah was a natural pairing. But not just any syrah. The 2006 Sterling Albert Syrah, made from grapes grown on Mt. Diablo’s Mangini/Albert Vineyard in Contra Costa County, was ideal because it showed the savory, herbal (I definitely detected some oregano) and smoky elements that California syrahs with a touch of age tend to exhibit.
The deep purple color is misleading. This is a complex wine, but it’s not huge and brimming with alcohol. Still, just to make sure it wouldn’t dominate my lamb steaks, I uncorked the bottle half an hour before we were planning on eating, so the wine had a chance to mellow out. I think it will only get better in the next few days. It’s got soft tannins, balanced fruit, and a surprisingly long finish.
The wine is still available for $24 (a steal if you ask me) on the winery’s web site.