Que sera, syrah.
The 2007 J. Lohr Estates South Ridge Syrah ($15) from Paso Robles is a satisfying, food-friendly production. So's the straightforward, easygoing 2008 Hahn Estates Central Coast Syrah ($14). Both are good with burgers and steaks.
There's plenty of berry and plum in the 2007 Michael-David Sixth Sense Syrah ($16), a slightly peppery wine from Lodi, in a sharp, new bottling.
The 2008 Beckmen Vineyards Estate Syrah ($25) has depth and style, complexity and ripe fruit: a very expressive wine from a syrah devotee in the Santa Ynez Valley.
From Napa Valley comes the stirring, Rhône-like 2006 Clif Family Winery Gary's Improv Syrah ($35), with hints of plum and vanilla, pepper and black currant.
And, if you're ready to invest in a big, berry-full, intense version: the concentrated, minerally 2006 JC Cellars Rockpile Vineyard "Haley's Reserve" Syrah ($60) - a serious syrah.
Long Island's Brew of the Week
A bit of Düsseldorf reaches the local brews menu via the Southampton Publick House Altbier. Malty, smooth and very German, it's a delicate, refreshing, copper-hued brown ale. A six-pack is about $9.