Cline 2002 California Syrah ($13.99)
This is an inky, blackish-purple wine with a bright reddish-violet edge. Ripe and fruity aromas of juicy plums signal a Syrah at the ripe and sunny end of the flavor spectrum, and the flavor carries out this promise, soft and jammy, perhaps a trifle sweet. There's some acidity present but not enough to offset a fat and flabby palate impression. Probably just as well sipped as a "glass of red" aperitif, although the bold flavors of a spicy Japanese beef dish helped bring it around. US Importer: (May 8, 2005)

FOOD MATCH: As noted, this somewhat flabby wine gained character when paired with a bold and spicy Asian dish, the bite-sized pepper steaks from Machiko Chiba's new Japanese Dishes For Wine Lovers, featured in the May 11 Wine Advisor FoodLetter.



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