I’ve pledged to break out of my rut and go exploring. Today I had to run to Indianapolis so I visited one of my favorite wine shops – Cork & Cracker on 62nd, near Keystone. Ashley, the proprietor, was in the house and recommended about 5 of the six wines I purchased.

The first one she picked up was a Syrah from Chile. I have suggested in my newspaper column and in this blog that you should follow the recommendations of your wine shop personnel. I’m glad I did today.

She was so enthusiastic about a 2005 Viu Manent Secreto Syrah from Chile that I had to open it tonight. I seered a ribeye seasoned with my favorite rub, finished it in the oven and enjoyed with the wine.

I found this wine online for $11 to $19 and even higher. I paid $14.99 at Cork & Crakcer.

It was about as big a Syrah as I’ve ever experienced at this price point. It had a big jammy mouthful on the front end and smooth but identifiable tannins on the finish. It was really a great glass of wine.

It was a crazy dark, inky wine in the glass with a a moderate nose. It had a mouthful of flavor, smooth and meaty feel. I loved it.

A little research told me this Chilean winery is like many in South America. Foreign winemakers are flocking to South America to buy up vineyards to make wines. New Zealand winemaker Grant Phelps is the man behind this syrah. He arrived in Chile in 2001 after working for two different Australian wineries.

This wine has won international recognition – a Gold Medal at an international wine show in Brussels, Belgium, in 2007. The judges gave it 94 points on the standard 100-point scale.

The judges said: “Vividly coloured and fragrantly scented, it’s deep, dark and savoury yet fruity and ripe with jammy red and black fruits, fine velvety tannins, a rich meaty finish and a succulent aftertaste.”

Find it and buy it if you like Syrah! A great, great wine for $15.

Thanks Ashley!

Send comment or questions to: hewitthoward@gmail.comhbn