Carey went through a nesting period in the weeks and months after our marriage. The result, among many various odds and ends around our apartment, is a diverse array of coffee table books. Too many to set on our coffee table without risking a collapse, so we established a few zones around our apartment where they now reside. “A good home has many interesting books,” says Carey. Now that she has pointed that out, I tend to agree.
I started shuffling through them at random to find pictures to spice up pictures that are otherwise probably only interesting to me. Sometimes, I find a spread that actually represents a wine appropriately, or plays off label art or colors. This picture, from The Selby, a blog book of interesting peoples’ interesting interiors, is just cool. You will never pick up this book and not see something new and inspiring—at the same time you will feel ordinary, uncool, and poor. Never mind the book, we’re drinking Hog.
Wild Hog is my kind of winery. There is no fluff. Their website is moth-eaten and determined not to be interactive or worrisome. No news, Twitter, Facebook, or photos post-2008. From my perspective, what stands out on the Hog site is a record and description of their past and present releases, which ironically can be some of the hard information to come by. Rarely does a release break 500 cases; most are not even close. This is a small producer of age-worthy, complex Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Petite Sirah and mixed Italian varietals—much like Seghesio, I might add. I didn’t realize that until now—an off-the-beaten-path, indy version of a winery I have much respect for.
The 2004 Nova is the fifth release, certified organic Zinfandel from Kelseyville in Lake County, CA. The body is round and level—outstanding freshness. Mint leaves and black tea command the nose and palate . Without prompting Carey, she immediately settled on a memory from her childhood of the ‘small patch of something green’ behind her grandparent’s house in Moorestown, New Jersey—she could not quite put her finger on it. My hint to her: “think Kentucky Derby.”
It’s amazing how much you can demand from these old vine Zins. Incredibly crafted aroma profiles, daring complexity through spice, fruit, mineral and texture where often restraint is thoroughly rewarded. This particular Zinfandel achieves a mammoth 16% alcohol by volume. I would not have guessed, though—perhaps the winemaker erred on the side of excess at a time when big abv numbers were worn like a badge of honor.
Otherwise velvety, showing deep, bruise-like purple and red colors without a hint of bricking from age or detectable release of sediment. Intense blackberry and plum, mint, dark chocolate, pine and bursting chocolate cherries. Outstanding, nicely layered, not overly complicated. Still my favorite label art to date.
Locals: I recently found a wine store in Clifton Park, NY—Wine & Spirits of Clifton Park—that happened to have a Pinot Noir by Wild Hog that I have yet to try. It’s about $30 and took every ounce of restraint in my body not to ignore my carefully calculated wine budget for the month and purchase it. Although I suggest you do! Very good people at this shop—check out their nice selection of red Zinfandels and temperature controlled fine wine room.