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Denner The Ditch Digger 2004

Rhone Red Blends from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
  • RP93
0% ABV
  • WS93
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0% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The 2004 Denner The Ditch Digger displays upfront aromas of raspberries, minerality, white pepper, dark chocolate, and spice. On the palate, the jammy fruit and pepper elements from the Grenache and Syrah are counter-balanced by the dark, meaty, brooding beast that is Mourvedre. The smooth tannins and balanced acidity slowly draw the curtain on the long, spicey finish.

Blend: 45% Grenache, 36% Syrah, 19% Mourvedre

Critical Acclaim

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RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
A wine that blew me away is the 2004 The Ditch Digger Denner Vineyard, a blend of 45% Grenache, 36% Syrah, and 19% Mourvedre. In a blind tasting, this could be mistaken for a California version of Chateau Rayas’ or Charvin’s elegant Chateauneuf du Pape. It offers a glorious nose of crushed raspberries, flowers, kirsch, and pepper. Ripe, medium to full-bodied, rich, and intense, but light on its feet, this is a WOW wine .It admirably demonstrates the potential that exists in this area of Paso Robles. This is a very impressive effort from an up-and-coming winery.
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Denner

Denner

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Denner, Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
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Planted in 1999, Denner Vineyards is a winegrowing estate on the far western border of the Paso Robles AVA. The 156 acres press up against the Santa Lucia Range, giving the site great diversity of elevation, aspect and soil. Previously dry farmed barley, the estate is nestled into the Templeton Gap, an East/West corridor where the marine layer can reach the inland valleys. As a result the estate receives large diurnal temperature swings without high moisture pressure, giving it a near perfect growing climate.

The 108 acres under vine are comprised of 19 different varieties in 26 unique blocks. Each block is farmed with painstaking attention to detail, allowing only for the best possible grapes to reach the winery. Aron Nevarez, the vineyard manager, is committed to environmentally friendly farming practices, using only sustainable inputs and minimal irrigation.

Paso Robles

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Paso Robles has made a name for itself as a source of supple, powerful, fruit-driven wines wines. But with eleven smaller sub-AVAs, there is actually quite a bit of diversity to be found in this inland portion of California’s Central Coast.

Just east over the Santa Lucia Mountains from the chilly Pacific Ocean, lie the coolest in the region: Adelaida, Templeton Gap and (Paso Robles) Willow Creek Districts, as well as York Mountain AVA and Santa Margarita Ranch. These all experience more ocean fog, wind and precipitation compared to the rest of the Paso sub-appellations. The San Miguel, (Paso Robles) Estrella, (Paso Robles) Geneso, (Paso Robles) Highlands, El Pomar and Creston Districts, along with San Juan Creek, are the hotter, more western appellations of the greater Paso Robles AVA.

This is mostly red wine country, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel standing out as the star performers. Other popular varieties include Merlot, Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot, Syrah, Grenache and Rhône blends, both red and white. There is a fairly uniform tendency here towards wines that are unapologetically bold and opulently fruit-driven, albeit with a surprising amount of acidity thanks to the region’s chilly nighttime temperatures.

Rhône Blends

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With bold fruit flavors and accents of sweet spice, red Rhône blends originated from France’s southern Rhône Valley. Grenache, supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre typically form the base of the blend, while Carignan, Cinsault and Counoise often come in to play. With some creative interpretation, Rhône blends have also become popular in Priorat, Washington, Australia and California.

In the Glass

The taste profile of a Rhône blend will vary according to its individual components, as each variety brings something different to the glass. Grenache is the lightest in color but contributes plenty of ripe red fruit and a plush texture. Syrah supplies dark fruit flavors, along with savory, spicy and earthy notes. Mourvèdre is responsible for a floral perfume and earthy flavor as well as structure and a healthy dose of color. New World examples tend to be fruit-forward in style, while those from the Old World will often have more earth, structure and herbal components on top of ripe red and blue fruit.

Perfect Pairings

Rhône red blends typically make for very food-friendly wines. These can work with a wide variety of meat-based dishes, playing equally well with beef, pork, lamb or game. Braised beef cheeks, grilled steak or sausages, roasted pork and squab are all fine pairings.

Sommelier Secret

Some regions like to put their own local spin on the red Rhône blend—for example, in Australia’s Barossa Valley, Shiraz is commonly blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to add structure, tannin and a long finish. Grenache-based blends from Priorat often include Carignan (known locally as Cariñena) and Syrah, but also international varieties like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, anything goes, and it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah make an appearance.

LSB210098_2004 Item# 210098