Denner Vineyards was founded in 1999 by Ron Denner, a Denver businessman with a taste for wine and the entrepreneurial chops to start his own winery, a venture his website cheerfully refers to “chasing his last rainbow.” Denner Vineyards is a 156-acre estate near the base of the Santa Lucia Range. Some 108 acres are under vine, and Denner uses about half of its estate fruit. The rest is sold to prestigious Paso Robles producers including Villa Creek Cellars, Linne Caldo and Justin Vineyards. Anthony Yount has been Denner’s winemaker since 2009, and the estate produces Bordeaux blends, Syrah, Zinfandel, Rhone Blends and Carignan, as well as a couple of Rhone style white wines. Denner wines win ratings in the mid-90s and critical praise. Vinous noted that “Anthony Yount is without question one of the most thoughtful and introspective winemakers in Paso Robles. Yount is among those trying to add dimensions of finesse to his wines, and he is succeeding big time…I can’t recommend these wines highly enough.”
Paso Robles AVA is midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, and it is considered one of the West Coast’s most exciting winemaking regions. With its hot, sometimes searingly dry and sunny weather, it is especially good country for growing warm climate grapes such as Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre. Because many Paso Robles wineries have been successful with blending these grapes into Rhone Valley-style wines, it is known as the Rhone zone of California. The AVA was created in 1983 and there are 32,000 vineyard acres. In late 2014 the AVA was divided into 11 smaller sub-appellations, so starting with 2015 vintages labeling will become more specific on Paso Robles wines, which will now also list sub-appellations. Located in San Luis Obispo County, Paso Robles, the town and its surrounding area, was traditionally a farming and ranching region. But from a few dozen wineries in the early 1990s to more than 200 today, the area is quickly becoming known for wine and risk-taking winemakers.
Fans of Cabernet Sauvignon appreciate Mourvèdre. It’s a full-bodied Spanish native. It is grown prominently in Bandol, France, Paso Robles, CA and many other regions. It is often blended with Grenache and Syrah and can be used to make rosé and port-style wines.