Qupé Syrah Central Coast 2013

Dark ruby color with some translucence; cherry, blackberry, violets on the nose; blackberry, red plum, black cherry black currant, pinch of pepper on the palate.

Elegant, balanced, round, abundant ripe fruit flavors; avoids boisterous power of an Aussie shiraz, instead drinks like a subdued Côtes du Rhône syrah. Medium body, medium tannins, medium acidity, easy in the mouth, easy drinker. All that said, this has a “meh” quality about it. There is absolutely nothing wrong, but there is no compelling element either. This is very safe pour—no one will complain, certainly, but it also is unlikely anyone will rave. A nice-enough expression of Central Coast syrah. Qupé did OK with this, but I have tasted several other Qupé offerings that went well beyond OK.

Qupé and winemaker Bob Lindquist are noted for their their focus on Rhône grapes; Lindquist was an original Rhône Ranger in the 1980s. He also is strong advocate of biodynamic grape farming. In biodynamics, the vineyard as a whole is considered a living thing and the grapes are just one of the products of the vineyard. Bob first investigated biodynamics in 2004; today his winemaker wife Louisa is equally fervent. Sons Ethan and Luke and daughter Paige also participate in the family business. They are good stewards of the land make good wine.

Qupé (kyoo-PAY—Native American Chumash name for the California poppy) is an iconic maker. This is nice, very middle of the road, very safe. $20

Qupé website

Other photos: Bob Lindquist; Qupé tasting room