Wild Hogge: a very special offer at Burrows Lightbourn Ltd
Although it took place over ten years ago, I remember well the afternoon that Huw Morris came to the hotel that my wife and I were staying at in Paso Robles to let us taste a sample of cabernet sauvignon.
He was apologetic as he felt that it was still too young to reveal its quality. I loved it and expressed interest in working with him and his wife Dale as they developed their idea of producing a wine that celebrated the many years that they had lived on our island.
We were told that the label would be uniquely Bermudian and, in honour of our first residents, it would be called Wild Hogge. Their website leads off with: “History has it that sailors would carry live pigs aboard the ships while crossing the Atlantic as a source of fresh meat. These ships would often wreck on the many reefs that surround Bermuda and the pigs would swim ashore. These Spanish feral hogs, similar to the domestic pig, were the first real Bermuda settlers.”
Over the ensuing years they have expanded their range and received excellent reviews; in fact one publication lamented that these very limited production wines were only available in Bermuda. Well of course times have changed with restaurant demand greatly reduced, as have the occasions to offer something “Bermudian” to our visitors both private and corporate.
Wild Hogge only produce a few hundred cases a year, but their stocks have built up and Burrows Lightbourn have agreed to co-operate with the Morris family to get their stock levels down to an acceptable level. Small production, high quality wines are never inexpensive and Wild Hogge has been priced in the mid-forties, but for the foreseeable future the very considerable stocks that Burrows Lightbourn and Discovery Wines now have will represent a sizeable savings for those that appreciate the exceptional.
Please pardon me for quoting from a Grape Expectations written on my birthday last November: “This is not just about thinking of good friends in wine, as their pinot noir, with the lovely Winslow Homer watercolour label of wild hogs on our South Shore, rated a fine 93/100 from Wine Enthusiast magazine. It is a blend of the French 115 clone and one of my favourite, the University of California at Davis clone 777. If you are unfamiliar with Davis, it is one of our world’s top seats of learning for oenology and viticulture. Potential winemakers worldwide travel there to study.
So many of us drink pinot noir in its youth as the velvety tannins and softness allow for this. I have Californian pinot noir from the early 1990s in our cellar and am a firm believer that a vast majority of red wine improves with age. As I am officially a year older today, I look forward to immediate and further vinous improvements. (I am allowed to tell that overused joke on my birthday!)“
Enjoy 2012 Wild Hogge Pinot Noir for a much reduced $32 (Stock #5966). If you buy a case and get the ten per cent discount, it goes down to $28.80 a bottle.
For me, the magic age to open a fine cabernet sauvignon is ten years as it still has some of the exuberance of youth, but it is now developing those aromas and flavours known as tertiary. For instance, ripe fresh fruit converts to stewed and dried components and tobacco and mushroom reveal themselves.
This is what the Wine Enthusiast originally wrote about 2011 Wild Hogge Cabernet Sauvignon: “A densely layered nose shows boysenberry, plum blossoms, mocha, coffee, kola nut and purple flowers. More cola shows on the palate with black cherry, plum-skin tartness and uplifting purple flowers, all presented on smooth tannins.” All the excitement of Paso Robles, in Southern California is here for you at $32, was $44.95 (Stock #5899).
If you were using the grape in Croatia you would call it tribidraq or crljenak kastelanski; in Italy the label would read primitivo and in California zinfandel. Huw and Dale Morris call their blend of 75 per cent zinfandel, 13 per cent syrah and 12 per cent cabernet franc 2012 Wild Hogge Moongate and we all know why they do that. They prefer to call the major grape primitivo.
Their website reads: “Primitivo, an Italian zinfandel, contributes a unique taste of rich ripe fruit. The cab franc adds a little black pepper, and the spicy syrah balances out the richness of the primitivo. Matured in American oak for two years and in the bottle for another two years, the wine exhibits a powerful aroma of earthiness and dark berry fruit. The palate has a rich texture and notes of blackberry jam. Will go well with any lamb dish or rich Italian meal. 177 cases were produced.” $32, was $44.95 (Stock #5967).
The one species of Bermudian wildlife that I find myself explaining more than any other to visiting friends – the ones who ask, “What the heck is that noise?” – is also one of our smallest. Here is how the Morris family describes their 2009 Wild Hogge Tree Frog.
“This unique blend of syrah and cabernet sauvignon combines the best of Central Coast’s favourite varietals. The syrah grapes come from a vineyard on the west side of Paso Robles and resulted in the best syrah we have ever tasted! The grapes for the cabernet sauvignon come from two blocks of neighbouring vineyards; one high, west-facing and the other from the valley floor. Both were aged in 30 per cent new French oak barrels for 29 months before being blended. This dark, rich blend has an earthy quality balanced with a fruit forward nose. The syrah (70 per cent) contributes a clove spice with soft tannins complementing the cabernet which adds structure to the blend. 219 cases were produced.” Gold medal winner. $35 (Stock #5897).
This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or 295-0176. Burrows Lightbourn has stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554) and Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355). Visit www.wineonline.bm