Tuesday, August 30, 2011

2002 Hoage Vineyards "The Hedge" Syrah.

With the wife sidelined with an infection, I thought it the perfect opportunity to open something I knew she wouldn't care for anyway. (She's never been a huge fan of the high alcohol/high extract Paso Robles wines.) The 2002 Hoage Vineyards The Hedge Syrah, Paso Robles leads off with a dark, blood red color with a brownish tint extending out to the rim. French oak, licorice, stewed fruit, soy sauce and alcohol (16.5% stated) on the nose and palate as well as a hefty dose of cherry cough syrup. Fiercely acidic, the tannins are mostly resolved now. I think this wine is either at or perhaps slightly past its peak. If you have any of this in your cellar, I would recommend trying it now. I believe this was about $35 on release.

This was the first commercial release of this wine. Previous vintages were sold to the now-defunct Garretson Wine Company and bottled as Bulladoir Syrah from the Terry Hoage Vineyard. While Jennifer Hoage is now the winemaker, the first two vintages of this wine were made by Justin Smith of Saxum fame. Hoage Vineyards is now known as Terry Hoage Vineyards after reaching a legal agreement with Washington's Hogue Cellars. Paso Robles was flying completely under my radar until I heard of Mat Garretson (a fellow University of Georgia graduate) making a wine from a vineyard owned by former Georgia Bulldog All-American Safety Terry Hoage. And although Mat is now selling wine and spirits for a wholesaler in Minnesota and Terry's wines have gotten a bit too pricey for my limited wine budget, I'll always owe these two Dawgs a debt of gratitude for introducing me to Paso Robles; my current favorite California wine region.


  1. Bill, it was wine's ability to be stored, that got me to buy wine in the first place!
    I love Paso Robles too (Ridge PR ZIN).

  2. Thanks for the post and the support. Justin pushed the limits with this wine in 2002 and with decanting it will begin to break through the shear power and show some finesse. Jennifer and I have taken Justin's mentoring and developed our style which while still being fruit forward shows great finesse and balance. The 2002 Hedge came out at $45 and our current releases are priced at $48 with an additional discount to club members. Terry Hoage

  3. Thanks for the kind words, Terry. I suppose I should clarify my remarks about your pricing. It isn't necessarily that your wines have increased in price ($3 is hardly much of an increase over 6-7 years) but rather I just don't routinely spend that much on a bottle of anyone's wine these days. If $40 is ever in the budget again, I wouldn't hesitate at all to get back on your mailing list as I've always enjoyed your wines from Bam-Bam all the way up to the Hedge. Bill