BTW, if you're wondering what the hell I'm talking about, let me blather on for a bit here. Syrah [known as shiraz in Australia and to successful marketers everywhere in the USA] is a red wine grape originally from the northern Rhône valley in France. The other grape grown up there is viognier, which is a white grape that's becoming very, very trendy in the USA as well. Syrah usually makes big, rich, meaty wines that sometimes have a strong whiff of funk or barnyard about them [in a good way, though, trust me]. Viognier on the other hand makes big white wines that feel almost oily in the mouth with a sometimes breathtaking honeysuckle perfume about them: once you've smelled viognier, you'll always recognize it.
Now, in the northern Rhône, it doesn't always get warm enough to really ripe syrah properly. This results in wines that are less darkly colored than most, which means they don't sell for the same high prices as the really dark, meaty stuff. Someone long ago figured out, though, that if you put a bunch of white grapes into the same fermentation vat as the black grapes - say, 5% viognier to 95% syrah - the color is darker than it ordinarily would be. Even better, you often wind up with a wine that is both dark, meaty, funky and that has a distinctive, heady perfume to it. It's kind of a best of both worlds kind of thing for me.
The first Ridge syrah I tried was the 2000, which we shared with Julian in Sydney last fall. It was mindblowing - utterly bewitching stuff. I hope the 2003 turns out to be as good.
This wine should be available nationally, but only in miniscule quantities [I bought mine en primeur last year and have been patiently waiting for it to arrive]. It's probably going to set you back $36, and it's assuredly worth it.