Paso Robles AVA
A Rhône blend that'll knock your 'block' off!
When Terry Hoage was a star defensive back in the National Football League, he had no idea of what career path he would follow after football. His first team, the New Orleans Saints, played an important part in deciding his calling some fifteen years later.
“I had my first date with Jennifer in New Orleans,” Hoage recalled. “We went to a Magazine Street wine bar named Flagons. Jennifer ordered wine and I realized she was really into it. Then I went to the Philadelphia Eagles and made friends with the owner of Le Bec Fin, one of the city’s great restaurants. I got to know the sommelier and started really learning about wine.”
In the meantime, Jennifer became Mrs. Jennifer Hoage and the couple began raising a family. Nearing the end of his successful NFL career, Terry played for the San Francisco 49ers, who were rewarded for every win with two days off. The couple traveled to nearby Napa Valley and Terry Hoage’s love affair with the almighty grape took a new turn.
The area around Paso Robles in California’s Central Coast interested the former Georgia All-American and seemed ideal for the couple to raise their family. A particular parcel came on the market and Terry inquired of his friend, noted Winemaker Justin Smith of Saxum Vineyards, of what he thought of the particular vineyard location.
“When he told me, I could grow and produce world class wines,” related Hoage, “I went and bought the property. I told him he could make the wines if he would teach me how to do it.”
That was nearly two decades ago, and the saga of TH Estate Wines continues to unfold. It all started on a smallish basis. “We bought the property in August of 2002 and began picking Syrah grapes a month later. We produced some 150 cases of our first wine and we were off to the races.”
The initial offering was overwhelmingly received and today TH Estate Wines produces around 2,500 to 3,000 cases annually, depending on the yield and quality.
Terry and Jennifer Hoage did all the vineyard work and wine production in the beginning and Terry eventually became the winemaker. Along the way, TH Estate Wines picked up numerous awards and high scores for their wines and were vaulted to the top of the Paso Robles wine hierarchy. During that time, the Paso Robles growing area began achieving national recognition, and in particular the Willow Creek AVA, arguably the finest grape production section in the area.
“I just can’t say enough about where we are located,” continued Hoage. “It has fantastic heat and excellent cool evening temperatures which allows the fruit to achieve greatness. Then, it’s up to us to make the wines reflect the brilliance of the terroir and its relationship to the varietals.”
For TH Estate Wines, Terry and Jennifer Hoage decided on an array of Rhone varietals that offer an opportunity to craft a number of distinctive wines. Drawing from an old football playbook, each of the wines is named after a football term connected to Hoage. The “5 Blocks” refers to the five blocked kicks he was responsible for at Georgia that vaulted him into consideration for the Heisman Trophy Award. He finished fifth in the voting, an outstanding accomplishment for a defensive back in that era. The number also refers to the five different blocks that were used for the blending, making the name a true double entendre.
The winery’s label came via a former college roommate of Terry’s who owned a printing company and employed an artist for special work. “We wanted something big and bold, a label that would capture attention on a shelf or in a restaurant,” explained Hoage. “From the comments we have received, our customers really identify with the label.”
Terry Hoage’s vision of producing wines that would be worthy of people drinking and talking about has far exceeded his initial expectations. The wines of TH Estate are firmly embedded among the Central Coast’s upper echelons and figure to remain there for the foreseeable future.
“We now have 18 acres under vine and are truly happy with our production,” he concluded. “My family and I couldn’t be happier with what we have managed to accomplish. Sometimes I feel like I’m cheating with regard to our weather in Paso Robles; it really is quite magnificent.”
It is a distinct honor to present this wine from TH Estate to our Platinum members. We know you will appreciate it to the fullest. Enjoy!
Map of the area
Dear Platinum Wine Club Members,
Jennifer and I started making wine in 2002, not quite knowing what we were getting ourselves into. We purchased a property in Paso Robles with five acres of Syrah planted, and dived immediately into our first vintage with the 2002 ‘The Hedge,’ 100% Syrah. Since that inaugural vintage, we have grown to eighteen planted acres on the property of seven different varietals. While still firmly in the status of a small family winery, we are now able to provide full time careers for five employees who are all as passionate about grape growing and winemaking as we are. We have grown from producing a single wine to over fifteen different wines from the estate, plus six different cool climate Pinot Noirs under Jennifer’s passion project, DECROUX.
One of the wines that always makes it to the table is the 5 Blocks. First created in 2006, it is named for the five blocks of fruit the blend was first made from, and it also happens to be the number of blocked field goals I had at the University of Georgia. Working with just three red Rhône varietals (Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvedre), we are always amazed at the differences produced by subtle shifts in the blend components.
The 5 Blocks is always Syrah-driven and lends itself towards a bolder, darker rendition of the GSM blend with plenty of meaty, savory notes to go alongside the fruit give by Grenache and Mourvedre in its youth. We saw great concentration of flavor, beautiful texture, and loads of fruit in this 2017 rendition. I thoroughly enjoy the 2017 ‘5 Blocks,’ and hope you will too. Thank you for the support.
TH Estate Wines