Tag Archives: Justin Smith

Terry Hoage Vineyards | Paso Robles, CA

Terry Hoage Vineyards

Terry Hoage Vineyards

Tucked away on an idyllic parcel of land on the Westside of Paso Robles lies the Terry Hoage Vineyards and tasting room. In the rustic winery perched right across the small parking lot from his home, Terry Hoage and his wife Jennifer are hand-crafting some of the finest wines to come out of Paso Robles.

Terry Hoage Vineyards Tasting Room

Terry Hoage Vineyards Tasting Room

Terry Hoage Vineyards Tasting Room

Terry Hoage Vineyards Tasting Room

Terry and Jennifer learned the art of winemaking from some of the artisan trailblazers in the area, particularly Justin Smith of the famed Saxum Vineyards. Justin made wine for Terry Hoage Vineyards and oversaw the winemaking process from 2002-2003 until Terry and Jennifer released their first vintage in 2005.

Terry Hoage Vineyards Tasting Room

Terry Hoage Vineyards Tasting Room

The Hoage’s take a very minimalist approach to making wine and do not incorporate any racking, fining or filtering. They personally oversee every step in the process, producing bold, juicy Rhone varietals that are 100% organically farmed and estate grown. You can taste the quality, creativity, and attention to detail in each sip.

Our dog Booker enjoying the beautiful grounds at Terry Hoage Vineyards

Our dog Booker enjoying the beautiful grounds at Terry Hoage Vineyards

Seating area at Terry Hoage Vineyards

Seating area at Terry Hoage Vineyards

During a pre-holiday trip to Paso, I had the pleasure of spending some time with Evan and Kellie in the Terry Hoage Vineyards tasting room. Aside from the Hoage’s, Evan and Kellie are the only other official employees at the winery, which made it feel even more like a true family style operation.

Evan & Kellie of Terry Hoage Vineyards

Evan & Kellie of Terry Hoage Vineyards

We were taken through the current tasting flight which included 4 incredible reds, and also got to try a couple of wines from the upcoming 2010 release.

Before embarking on his career as a wine maker, Terry was a professional football player and spent 13 seasons in the NFL playing for 6 different teams. He subtly pays homage to his football days through the names he give his wines (“The Pick”, “The 46″, “The Hedge”, etc).

Memorabilia from Terry Hoage's career in the NFL

Memorabilia from Terry Hoage’s career in the NFL

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Memorabilia from Terry Hoage’s career in the NFL

I thought all the wines at Terry Hoage Vineyards were outstanding and were on par with my favorites in the area (Booker, L’Aventure, etc). I wanted to take a bottle of each home with me, but I managed to narrow my purchases down to a 2009 “The Hedge” (a deep red Syrah named after the hedges of UGA where Terry played), a 2010 “5 Blocks” (a Syrah/Mourvedre/Grenache/Cinsault blend honoring the 5 blocked field goals Terry had in his college days), and a 2011 “Pik Pool” (a white Picpoul Blanc that tasted like summertime).

The Current Tasting Flight: '08 "The Pick" Grenache Cuvee, '07 "The 46" Grenache-Syrah, '09 "The 46" Grenache-Syrah, and '09 "The Hedge" Syrah

The Current Tasting Flight: ’08 “The Pick” Grenache Cuvee, ’07 “The 46″ Grenache-Syrah, ’09 “The 46″ Grenache-Syrah, and ’09 “The Hedge” Syrah

The 2010 Release - Currently available to wine club members

The 2010 Release – Currently available to wine club members

I truly can’t recommend Terry Hoage Vineyards enough and thank Evan & Kellie for sharing their knowledge, passion, and hospitality. To quote Robert Parker, “This is the kind of wine the Central Coast should be producing more.”

The stunning views at Terry Hoage Vineyards

The stunning views at Terry Hoage Vineyards

Click here to visit the Terry Hoage Vineyards website.

TERRY HOAGE VINEYARDS
870 Arbor Road
Paso Robles, CA 93446
Phone: (805) 238-2083
Email: info@terryhoagevineyards.com
Tasting room hours: 11AM – 4PM Thursday through Monday

Alta Colina Estate Vineyard

My recent visit to Alta Colina Estate Vineyard reminded me once again of why I love Paso Robles so much.

Alta Colina Estate Vineyard

The area has been the center of attention recently in the wine world. This is largely due to the fact that Saxum Vineyards’ 2007 James Berry Vineyard just earned the #1 spot on the Wine Spectator top 100 most exciting wines of 2010 list, a perfect 100 score from Wine Enthusiast, and a score of 98 from Wine Spectator along with a photo of winemaker Justin Smith on the cover of the latest issue.

All the attention around Saxum has trickled down to other wineries in the area. Brian Benson, Booker, and several other local wineries were also featured with glossy photos and rave reviews in the March issue of Wine Spectator.

Outside the tasting room at Alta Colina Estate Vineyard

The great thing is that even with all the buzz, high scores, and continuous accolades the wines of Paso Robles are receiving, the area still feels unaffected. It is unpretentious, intimate, and clearly rooted in a true passion for winemaking.

Paso Robles is a place where on any given day, you may find the winemaker pouring for tasters while discussing the fruits of their labor and the process it took to get there. It’s a place where wine makers are proud of the incredible reviews and attention they’re getting, yet it’s evident reviews and scores are not the reason they make wine. Like true artists, they seem more focused on hand-crafting outstanding, expressive, world-class wines – review or no review.

Alta Colina Estate Vineyard

This was definitely the feeling I got when I visited Alta Colina Estate Vineyard. When we walked into the small understated tasting room, the entire family was present. Winemaker Bob Tillman and his daughter Maggie were behind the tasting counter while his wife Lynn was chatting with guests.

Outdoor tasting area at Alta Colina Estate Vineyard

We were immediately welcomed to the counter, which was only occupied by 2 other tasters. Both Bob and Maggie walked us through the incredible portfolio of Rhone varietals, describing each one in detail including the quality of the harvest, how the elevation of the vineyard and the type of soil impact the grapes, and how they created the blends they were pouring.

I truly can’t say there was a wine on the list that I didn’t like. Every wine at Alta Colina is 100% estate grown and produced. Furthermore, production is kept very low, which results in carefully nurtured, handcrafted wines of exceptional quality.

I very much enjoyed the 2009 12 O’Clock High ($28) which is a blend of 69% Viognier, 18% Roussanne, 7% Marsanne, and 6% Grenache Blanc – a crisp wine perfect for a summer day. Production on this wine was the second highest on the list at a mere 22o cases.

Inside the tasting room at Alta Colina Estate Winery

My favorite at Alta Colina was the 2008 Ann’s Block Petite Sirah ($48), of which only 125 cases were produced. This wine earned a well-deserved score of 92 points from Robert Parker and 91 points in Wine Spectator along with a photo of Lynn and Bob Tillman in the March 2011 issue. The ’08 Ann’s Block Petite Sirah is 100% estate grown Petite Sirah and has wonderful ripe dark fruit flavors balanced perfectly with a touch of smoke and spice.

Enjoying a wonderful afternoon with Alta Colina Wine Maker Bob Tillman and his daughter/Director of Marketing Maggie Tillman

One of the most memorable things about Alta Colina Estate Vineyard – aside from the wine – was the fact that it truly embodied the spirit of Paso Robles. The entire family was so welcoming and friendly. I loved having the winemaker himself pouring wine for us. It was all about passionate people sharing incredible wine in a beautiful and down to earth setting. Be sure to stop by next time you’re in Paso…

Click here to visit the Alta Colina Estate Vineyard website.

Alta Colina Estate Vineyard & Winery
2725 Adelaida Road
Paso Robles, CA 93446
Phone: (805) 227-4191
Fax: (805) 541-8025
email: info@altacolinawine.com
Tasting room hours: 11AM – 5:00PM Thursday through Sunday
* NOTE: Alta Colina is located upstairs at the Villicana Winery.