Wild Hog It Is

Wild Hog Grenache

Wild Hog takes top wine in our Grenache taste-off

2014 Wild Hog Grenache is a terrific buy

For the past nine years, the Vintage Wine Tasters Club has participated in a bimonthly blind wine tasting of one variety of wine. Last week, we blind tasted six bottles of Grenache.  The most popular Grenache or Garnacha wines come from France and Spain. For this blind tasting, the six wines were from California wineries. Vintage Wine Taster George selected from three wine stores. Our standard rule is to taste wines in the bargain category, wines under $20. Under $20 a is tough nut to crack. Grenache vineyards are few and far between in the California wine scene. George was able to find only one wine in the under-$20-mark, the 2014 Wild Hog Grenache ($19). That’s okay because the Wild Hog was our top choice, along with Adelaida Grenache from Paso Robles ($25).

These are the wines we tasted and the order in which we ranked them:

  • 2014 Wild Hog Grenache, Mendocino – Weimax Wines in Burlingame $19
  • 2013 Adelaida Grenache, Paso Robles – Draeger’s in San Mateo $25  – Tied in points scored with Wild Hog
  • 2014 Cedarville Grenache, Fair Play – Weimax Wines $26
  • 2015 Skinner Vineyards Grenache, Fair Play – K&L Wines $25
  • 2016 Clementine Carter, Santa Rita Hills – K&L Wines $25
  • 2013 Meeker Vineyards Grenache, Dry Creek Valley – Draeger’s San Mateo $25

About Wild Hog Grenache

The 2014 Wild Hog Grenache was the star of the tasting: the quality, the price, and the label make this wine a Best Buy Wine. Here are the notes from Wild Hog Vineyards winemaker Daniel Schoenfeld. “The Grenache fruit is from Eaglepoint Ranch in Mendocino County. It is all about the fruit with this Grenache. Low wide open top fermenters were used. After 12 days the juice was pumped into wine barrels. The wine spent about 18 months in mostly neutral American oak. Then it was bottled. It spent about a year in the bottle before it was released.”

The Wild Hog Grenache is a dazzling wine with a generous aroma and many complex red and dark fruit flavors. Buy a bottle to try, and you will most likely go back for more. You will not find the Wild Hog Grenache anywhere in the San Francisco Bay Area other than Weimax Wines for $19, and Plumpjack Wines (San Francisco) for $20. You might be able to order directly from the winery. Only about 50 cases of the Wild Hog Grenache were produced from this small boutique winery located in Cazadero in Russian River wine country.

The 2013 Adelaida Grenache is also a superb Grenache. This winery is in Paso Robles and seems to be gaining fame for its many Rhone-style wines. If you are in Paso Robles area, jump on the Adelaida wine trail and head to Adelaida Cellars for a tasting. The region is beautiful, and the Adelaida Wine Route is a great wine country backroad.

In Fair Play, Grenache thrives

Fair Play wineries Cedarville Vineyard and Skinner Vineyards are both fantastic wineries.  These are two of our favorite wineries in the Sierra Foothills. At Cedarville, the husband and wife team of Jonathan Lachs and Susan Morse produce less than 3000 cases of wine a year. Their Grenache has a cult following and sells out quickly. Skinner is a recent winery in the area with a long history of past vineyard growing. The Skinner Grenache, along with all their wines, is excellent.  See the Fair Play Wine Trail.

Grenache Cedarville

Cedarville winemakers Susan Morse and Jonathan Lachs produce a delicious Grenache from the Fair Play AVA

A few days after our blind tasting I found the Joel Gott California Grenache at the Safeway. It is $13.49 at the six-pack price. Although the Joel Gott did not measure up to our top Grenache wines, I thought for the price the wine is an excellent value. If you are interested in trying a Grenache wine, this is one that you will enjoy and give you the full characteristics of the Grenache grape.

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Yubby McFly says:

    YES, I haven’t had Wild Hog wine in about 10 years now, and I believe that it was a Zinfandel release that I had purchased. Hard to find/get, but very distinct (lots of terroir characteristics).

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