As a Long Island wine enthusiast who also loves to grill large pieces of red meat on my grill all summer long, I’m always on the lookout for local red wine pairings that really sing. 

I often find myself reaching for red blends if I’m drinking local wine — which I typically am. Usually, I look for wines with a nice dose of Petit Verdot, which brings a peppery spiciness that I love with grilled red meat.

Then I tasted Macari Vineyards 2015 Syrah ($45) and I found a new favorite for grilled leaner cuts. It’s a bit more elegant than most Long Island red blends, but no less complex or flavorful.

You don’t find a lot of syrah on the East End. It doesn’t always grow well or ripen fully, but when it does the wines can be outstanding. Plus they are a nice break from the Bordeaux varieties like merlot, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc.

Producer: Macari Vineyards
AVA: North Fork of Long Island
ABV: 13%
Price: $45*

* Review sample provided by the winery

Macari Vineyards 2015 Syrah

90 points

The nose starts with ripe cherry aromas, but also shows nuances that range from black pepper to cinnamon to mushrooms. If you stick your nose all the way into your glass, there is something akin to cocoa powder too.

Medium bodied, with nice, fresh acidity, this wine is extremely food friendly — that acidity cuts through rich foods nicely. Cherry and cherry cola flavors are joined by earthy and spicy notes. The tannin structure is well incorporated, but still provides a nice bit of grip on a long, earthy-spicy finish.

At $45 it's not a great value, but it might be worth the splurge if you're looking for something different -- and delicious -- from Long Island.

About Author

Lenn Thompson, a proud Pittsburgh, PA native, moved to Long Island more than a decade ago and quickly fell in love with the region’s dynamic and emerging wine community. A digital and content marketing and community professional by day, he founded in early 2004 to share his passion for the wines, beers and spirits of New York State. After running that site -- which became the premier source for independent New York wine commentary, reviews and news -- for 12 years, he launched in late 2016 to add the wines of Virginia, Maryland, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Vermont and beyond to his beat. Lenn currently serves as the wine columnist for The Suffolk Times weekly newspaper and is the former editor of the Long Island Wine Gazette. He contributes or has contributed to publications like Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Beverage Media, Edible Brooklyn, Edible East End and Edible Hudson Valley. Lenn served on the board of directors for Drink Local Wine, and is the creator and founder of TasteCamp, an annual regional wine immersion conference for writers and trade. An admitted riesling and cabernet franc fanatic, he’s intensely passionate about eating local and the many local wine regions of America. Lenn lives in Miller Place, NY with his wife Nena, son Jackson, daughter Anna and their dog, Casey Lemieux Thompson.

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