Wine Recommendation
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Wine Recommendation

Dover Canyon Winery 2004 Syrah, Starr Ranch (Paso Robles)

Dover Canyon Winery

2004 Syrah, Starr Ranch
(Paso Robles)

Paso Robles is turning out some damned fine Rhones, and this one delivers in spades. Winemaker Dan Panico is known for making wines of enormous strength and character, and his reds almost always exhibit a smoke and licorice profile. This one is no exception. The fruit comes from a ridgetop vineyard in the Adelaida Hills area of western Paso Robles, called Starr Ranch. Here, about 6 miles from the ocean, the soils contain precalcareous shale, and the vines are hard-working and stressed, producing small-berried, intense fruit with thick skins and dark pigment. Stiff ocean breezes keep the mountainous vineyards free of fog and mildew, and help mitigate the oppressive interior Paso Robles heat on long summer days.

The wine was produced in small open top fermentors with Rhone-style yeast, and aged for sixteen months in new French oak. It’s a big, black wine that exudes meaty, leathery, and earthy aromas, with hints of dark licorice and blueberry pie. You immediately know it is stand up Syrah: nothing soft and blowsy about this one. The flavors are huge and rich, with smoked bacon, ham, dark meat duck, currants, and a ripe plummy and blueberry core that is heavy and dense. Sure, it’s a bit ripe and perhaps a touch high in alcohol, but the texture is wonderful, the weight is terrific, and it is one of the smoothest Syrahs I’ve tasted in years. Truly a noble wine, the layers upon layers of flavors that keep unpeeling like a fat red onion will continue to impress you with smooth richness right to the very last drop.

(Alc: 15.2%, Retail: $32)

Reviewed July 26, 2006 by Laura Ness.

The Wine

Winery: Dover Canyon Winery
Vineyard: Starr Ranch
Vintage: 2004
Wine: Syrah
Appellation: Paso Robles
Grape: Syrah / Shiraz
Price: 750ml $32.00

Review Date: 7/26/2006

The Reviewer

Laura Ness

A wine writer and wine judge for major publications and competitions around the country, Laura Ness likens wine to the experience of music. She is always looking for that ubiquitous marriage of rhythm, melody, and flawless execution. What is good music? You know it when you get lost in it. What is good wine? It is music in your mouth.