- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Glen Carlou, Syrah, Paarl, 2005 ($18)

Syrah is a vigorous grape that grows successfully in all sorts of conditions but only makes first-rate wine in a few.

It likes neither too much heat nor too little, and many wines reflect as much. When grown in hot regions, the grape oozes sunshine and warmth but often lacks delicacy. In cool areas, it displays a seductive floral fragrance but can taste thin and vegetal.

Though much of the Paarl region in South Africa is quite hot, the vineyards that produced this wine are at its southern edge, where an ocean influence moderates temperatures. As a result, the wine successfully straddles the stylistic line between fruit-driven power and elegant finesse. Few syrahs (or shirazes, the other name for the same grape) in its price range can claim as much.

This wine is still young and somewhat tight, so it definitely will benefit from decanting. Let it sit for an hour or so in a carafe or jug so you can fully appreciate its perfume. Then drink it with full-flavored foods, as it has plenty of muscle.

(Imported by Hess.)

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