2011 Denner "The Dirt Worshipper" Paso Robles Syrah

SKU #1196064 93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 (95% syrah and 5% viognier): Glass-staining ruby. High-pitched dark berry and floral pastille aromas are sharpened by notes of cracked pepper and five-spice powder. Sappy, spicy, intense flavors show potent black and blue fruit character and notes of olive tapenade, violet and candied licorice. Finishes sweet and long, with resonating florality and excellent length. (JR)  (11/2013)

92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Co-fermented with 5% Viognier and showing classic cool climate Syrah qualities on the nose, the 2011 The Dirt Worshiper is loaded with gamey, northern Rhone-like qualities of olive, bacon fat, charcoal and violets that are grounded by a rich core of Syrah fruit. Medium-bodied, elegant and supple, with fine tannin, it’s not a blockbuster, but it impresses for its purity and length. While approachable now, it has the balance and mid-palate depth to evolve for 10-12 years easily. Drink 2015-2023. (JD)  (8/2013)

91 points Wine Spectator

 The core dark berry flavors are taut and focused in this scaled-down version of the Dirt Worshipper, featuring all the essential notes of white pepper, fresh-turned earth, cedar and tobacco leaf. The tannins are dry and savory on the aftertaste. Syrah and Viognier. Drink now through 2023.  (2/2014)

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Price: $49.99

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- One of France's noblest black grape varieties, Syrah is known for its intense and distinctive perfume reminiscent of briar fruit, tar, spice and black pepper and its firm structure. One of few black grape varietals frequently vinified on its own, the best examples of Syrah come from the Northern Rhône, particularly Hermitage, but also Côte-Rôtie, Cornas, Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph. These wines are very astringent in their youth, though some Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph can be enjoyed young, relatively speaking. Given the requisite patience, though, these wines can reveal amazing complexity and secondary fruit characteristics like plum and blackcurrant as well as subtle hints of smoke and flowers. In the Southern Rhône, Syrah is used to add structure and complexity to wines dominated by Grenache and complemented by Mourvèdre, like the more immediately drinkable Côte du Rhônes, as well as the long-lived wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In recent years, plantings of Syrah have spread throughout the Languedoc-Roussillon where it is produced on its own or blended with other varietals. Outside of France, the most important Syrah growing country is easily Australia, where it is called Shiraz. Quality levels here depend greatly on yields and geography, and the wines range from bold, fruity and easy-drinking to intense and ageable, like the famed Penfolds Grange. Often bottled on its own, in Australia Syrah is also can be blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre, as in the Southern Rhône, and is increasingly combined with Cabernet Sauvignon. Syrah has also been steadily increasing in popularity in California, thanks to a group of advocates called the Rhône Rangers. Its most successful iterations come from the Central and Sonoma Coasts, where winemakers are pushing boundaries and creating some incredible wines. In recent years Syrah has also found a number of proponents in Washington State, which is definitely a region to watch for this variety.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Paso Robles

- Located about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, this inland AVA enjoys a sunny and hot growing period while its seaside neighbors hang in the fog. Zinfandel is the traditional red grape of choice, though cabernet, chardonnay, and Rhône varietals are gaining favor. Most are made in a fruit-forward, early drinking style.