Despite its name, this lesser-known variety is unrelated to the famous Syrah grape. A variety of French origin but today rarely found in France, it is more often found in California and further south in Mexico. It produces deep-coloured, powerful wines with rich tannins and spicy fruit. The wine is softened by maturation in oak barrels for three months before it is bottled. Founded in 1963 by Don Luis Agustin Cetto, an Italian immigrant, in the Guadalupe Valley, L. A. Cetto is at the northern end of the slightly confusingly-named Baja California region. Here, about 20 miles south of the American border, the vineyards situated 300 metres above sea level benefit from the cooling effect of the nearby Pacific Ocean. Cool nights also act to slow the ripening process improving phenolic flavour development. A great choice for rich beef dishes, especially steak.