The Willamette Valley may be known for its pinot, but a few winemakers are beginning to make a name for themselves with syrah, a muscular, highly tannic wine grape. Most wine drinkers think of syrah as a warm-climate grape, but it shows best when grown in what winemakers call “a warm site in a cool climate,” like our valley. With a rustic, almost leathery texture, syrah is a dark-colored wine that at times can have some wildness to it, making it the perfect pairing with braised venison or beef bourguignon. —Condé Cox

This article appeared in the January 2009 issue of Portland Monthly Magazine.