Hermitage in the northern Rhône is arguably the most famous appellation in the world for the Syrah grape. Problem is they're mostly priced north of a Benjamin. There is, however, a larger region (Crozes-Hermitage) surrounding this epicenter that is of similar climate and soil, and yields Syrah-based wines that are more user friendly, both in the pocket book and on the palate. Yes, they are more approachable at an earlier age and perhaps lighter in style than their big brothers, but they still can exhibit the pure, taut style that the granitic soils of the northern Rhône are famous for. My pick shows hints of the bacon fat and blood/iron commonly described in these wines, but in an elegant, refined style that finishes seamlessly on the palate. At only 13 percent alcohol this is a far cry from the high-octane fruit bombs that you often encounter from this grape in other wine regions. For my money, this refined, food-friendly style of Syrah offers more value and more importantly, more pleasure.