Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Terry (and Jennifer) Hoage Vineyards

Terry and Jennifer's tasting room was our second stop on Saturday. I wasn't sure what to expect from a champion NFL player who majored in genetics and has been making wine for the past seven years. What a career path! But he'd be the first person to have you believe his wife is the talented palate behind the operation and he just grows the grapes.

After meeting Terry and tasting (what's left of) his last release, he took us into the cellar for some barrel tastings. It was an educational experience I very much appreciated. He is a brilliant, patient, and curious human. He took the time to answer our micro questions about his winemaking techniques. The highlight was tasting the 08 barrel syrahs side by side and recognizing the difference the barrel makes on the nose and palate. One was Moreau and the other Taransaud Beaune. The Moreau let the syrah's signature dark fruit notes of blackberries and cassis shine. While the Taransaud Beaune presented a new nose of smoke, lively spice, and rolled along the palate to a savory maple bacon finish. Fascinating stuff.

When it comes time to taste his wines, Terry's sensitivity is to mouthfeel. He wants to make wines that embrace the palate and beckon another sip. His wines do this well and I particularly recognized it in the Estate Rose, "Bam Bam", and the Cuvee, "The Pick". I would love to try the Cuvee "5 Blocks" someday.

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