By Lenn Thompson, Executive Editor


I'm on the record as someone who is less than enthusiastic about New York syrah. Only a handful of wineries are even doing varietal syrah — so it's not a big or important segment right now at this point — but I find most of them underwhelming.

As such, I'm of the opinion that syrah will never be more than a niche product. Then again, syrah can make some nice rose.

There are exceptions to every rule and Jamesport Vineyards 2007 "MTK" Syrah ($35) fills that role for New York syrah. MTK stands for Mattituck, where owner and long-time local viticulturalist Ron Goerler has this particular planting of syrah.

Ron is known for bringing in great fruit and — in 2007 at least — he did the same with syrah.

The nose is ripe and spicy, showing intense blueberry pie, black pepper, anise and ripe plum aromas with some added spice lurking in the background.

Medium-to-full bodied, the palate borders on soft with lush, ripe tannins, but offers enough structure for dense plum, blueberry and cranberry fruit flavors with a little vanilla, more black pepper and a sprinkling of Chinese five spice.

This is a wine that shows syrah can be successful in New York, in the hottest of years in the best locations. It's certainly the best New York syrah I've tasted.

Producer: Jamesport Vineyards
AVA: North Fork of Long Island
Price: $35*
ABV: 13.5%
Rating:  87

(*Ratings Guide)