I have a hard time finding an inexpensive Syrah I really like. They tend to be out of balance, fruit bombs, too much oak, all sorts of problems.

I have some $30-plus Syrahs put away that are beautiful California wines, but those aren’t for a Monday or Tuesday night.

I’m preparing to make a trip to Paso Robles, Calif., in just a couple of weeks so and I’ve been picking up some wines from the region. I’ll be blogging, tweeting and doing Facebook updates Oct. 12-15.

I bought a $13.99 bottle of JanKris 2006 Syrah Monday at Village Bottle Shoppe in West Lafayette, IN. I opened it last night when it was a bit tannic and finished it off tonight.

The tannins softened a bit the second night. I have to call this wine perhaps the best Syrah I’ve around at the approximate $15 price point. The wine spends 16 months in oak and has a 14.4 percent alcohol level. Despite the well balanced tannins, I didn’t find the alcohol nearly as overwhelming as many other California Syrahs.

I like the soft and velty fruit with a hint of spice. I liked the tannins without being overwhelmed and I’ve guzzled the wine with a bit of gusto both nights.

I was not prepared to like a $13.99 wine this much. If you find it, like Syrah, you should definitely try it.

Send comment or questions to: hewitthoward@gmail.com

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