-Syrah grapes are a lot like Cabernet grapes. They're both small and thick skinned and grow best in cooler climates. And both do well aged in oak.
-On the other hand, Syrah and Grenache are very different grapes. Syrah is tannic, thick skinned and has a lot of black fruit on the palette while Grenache has high alcohol content, thin skins and a lot of red fruit on the palette. This is why they're often blended - they balance each other out. Grenache smooths out the tannins in Syrah and makes the wine more immediately drinkable while Syrah helps tone down the alcohol in Grenache. Mouvedre, another grape is often added to Syrah and Grenache blends because it's not as expensive to cultivate and it adds spice to the blend.-2007 Rhone vintage is legend-(wait for it)-ary. I cannot wait to pick up several bottles of Chateauneuf du Pape from 2007. Chateauneuf du Pape is one of the best regarded areas in the Southern Rhone region and it's one of the reasons I am so into wine.
-Riesling, like Chardonnay, is incredibly expressive of its "terroir" and the climate in which it was grown. Case in point - we tried an Australia Riesling next to a German Riesling (from one of the best regions - Mosel) and they were extremely different. The Australian Riesling had a palette that reminded me more of a Sauvignon Blanc.
This weekend I'm heading up to my friends' wedding in New Hampshire. Though New Hampshire isn't a wine region, I expect to be enjoying several varietals and hope to have something share after the weekend.
Until the next sniff, sip or quaff,