Last week I hit the jackpot. I finally drank a syrah that I liked--and finished the bottle--and I picked up a viognier in a clearance bin that I also thought was better than average, especially for under $7.
The syrah is a 2005 Bridlewood from the central California coast (Healdsburg, north of San Francisco and almost directly west of Sacramento). I didn't jot down how much I paid for it, but I think it was in the $10 range.
I think I liked this one better because it was slightly sweeter than other syrahs I've drunk this fall. I don't tend to prefer sweet wines, but this was just sweet enough without being too sweet, and I didn't get the overbearing tannin that I've gotten from other syrahs. The label says the wine has blueberry notes, which I didn't notice but which might be one reason I liked it because blueberries are one of my favorite fruits.
This would be a good wine to go with just about any nice meal: a roast, steak, or even hamburgers.
The viognier is a no date Pepperwood bottled in Napa with the grapes from various vineyards. It started out at a little over $11, and I found it in a clearance bin for $6.99.
This wine has an attractive dark amber color, and its flavor is about the most fruity of any white wine I've drunk. I got pear from it, but the label says apricot, which may have been what I was tasting. The label also says clove, which I didn't get at all, and honey, which I'll agree with.
I've tried to think what kind of meal this viognier would be best with, and the only thing I can come up with is a cheese and fruit spread. Or maybe some good bread and cheese and fruit, perhaps chicken breast in an orange sauce. I'll have to get back to that clearance bin and see if they have any more.