Peay, Les Titans Estate Syrah, Sonoma Coast, California, 2013
The Northern Rhône may be the standard bearer for Syrah, but the Sonoma Coast approaches that standard without holding you ransom in the process. So it's no wonder both Lowe and Rocco give it their blessing. For Lowe, Peay’s the producer of choice, offering "blackberry, plum, smoke, leather, and black pepper notes that pair nicely with duck, lamb, and even certain steak cuts."
Ettore Germano Langhe Riesling Hérzu, Piedmont, Italy 2012
You may have heard of riesling, a world-class German grape, or Piedmont, a world-class region of Italy. But you probably have never heard of riesling from Piedmont. That’s because, according to Lowe, "Only a small handful of producers there grow it, and Germano is one of the standouts." Novelty factor aside, it’s "a gorgeous riesling," she says, "bone-dry and lime blossom-y, with wonderful minerality, strikingly high acidity, and aromas of peach and nectarine, plus a hint of petrol." (Admittedly, not everyone in the wine world favors the whole gasoline-fume thing, but they probably should’ve listened to more Primus back in the day.)