Huw and Dale Morris are partners in a winemaking venture called WILD HOGGE. Huw lived in Bermuda for almost 27 years and worked as an anaesthetist at the King Edward VIIth Memorial Hospital. For the last 25 years on the Island, he was president of the Bermuda Wine Circle, a wine tasting group that started off with about 35 members and grew to over 200 members meeting once a month to taste wines from around the world.
WILD HOGGE came into being in 2005 when the Morris family moved from Bermuda to the east side of Paso Robles on the Central Coast of California. They live in an area surrounded by vineyards and decided to make wine from the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes seen from their house.
The label is based on a watercolor by the American artist Winslow Homer who visited the island of Bermuda on several occasions at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. The painting used on the WILD HOGGE label is called ‘Bermuda Settlers 1901’. It depicts the wild hogs that originally inhabited the island. Bermuda lies in the Atlantic Ocean about 650 miles east of North Carolina and is surrounded by coral reefs. In the 1500s, some of the sailing ships traversing the Atlantic got too close to the island and became shipwrecked on the reefs. The hogs they had on board as a source of fresh meat were able to swim ashore and became the first ‘residents’ of Bermuda.
The Spanish explorer Juan de Bermudez first sighted the island around 1505 but considered it too insignificant to explore. Subsequent mariners who sailed by were frightened away by the footprints of the cloven hoof made by the hogs, and Bermuda was for some time called ‘the Isle of Devils’. The English Admiral, Sir George Somers, on his way to Jamestown, Virginia in 1609, was shipwrecked on the island during a hurricane and the survivors became the first colonists of Bermuda. The news of Sir George Somers and his adventures reached London and in 1610 Shakespeare wrote his play ‘The Tempest’, based on the island of Bermuda.
Today, the one-cent coin of Bermuda depicts the head of Queen Elizabeth II on one side and the wild hog on the other. It is known on the island as a ‘Hogpenny’ and a version of it is portrayed on the top of the capsule of WILD HOGGE wine.
The grapes for WILD HOGGE CABERNET SAUVIGNON come from neighboring vineyards on the east side of Paso Robles, CA. The 2005, 2006 and 2007 wine came from a 21-acre south-facing hill. The 2008 grapes come from a southwest-facing hill. The 2009 vintage had half picked from that same hill and half from a lower block of grapes that proved to have a wonderful taste. Paso Robles has high summer temperatures that drop daily by 50 degrees with cooling, afternoon, ocean breezes.
Our Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are hand picked in October when brix levels reach the mid 20’s. They undergo cold maceration for about three days in small one-ton bins. Fermentation commences and proceeds for around 15 days. The wine is then matured in French Oak barrels, 40% new and 60% neutral, where it experiences Malo-Latic fermentation and racking. After an average of 20 months in barrels, it is bottled and finally released about 6 months later.
The Gold Medal award winning 2005 WILD HOGGE CABERNET SAUVIGNON was released early summer of 2008. Our first vintage was a deep, red color with a powerful bouquet reminiscent of berry fruit and forest floor. It had a great texture with soft, rounded tannins and plenty of rich flavors. While the 90 cases produced sold out quickly, it set a high standard for our future vintages.
The 2006 WILD HOGGE CABERNET SAUVIGNON wine won Silver Medal Awards from two competitions - the highly regarded Central Coast Wine competition and another international competition in New York. This wine evolved into a classic Cabernet with a deep, red color. The nose is redolent of earth and berries with a hint of violets. The taste reveals a solid structure with soft tannins, allowing the rich Cabernet fruit to come through, giving this wine a velvety texture on the palate. It is drinking beautifully now and will probably last well into the next decade. While the amount of wine made was increased, all 210 cases sold out quickly.
Huw and Dale came across some wonderful Pinot Noir in the west side of Templeton. This varietal requires a cooler climate but the Paso area has unique microclimates that can provide what Pinot Noir needs. This 2007 WILD HOGGE PINOT NOIR was light and fairly typical of a cooler climate California Pinot with ample fruit but reminiscent of Burgundy on the nose. It was well received and the 77 cases produced sold out quickly.
WILD HOGGE CABERNET SAUVIGNON
The 2007 WILD HOGGE CABERNET SAUVIGNON vintage was bottled in March 2010 and released in the late summer. It has not yet been entered into any competitions but we feel it will mirror the previous releases. This 2007 brings the earthy quality of the 2005 with the fruit forward of the 2006 to create a well-balanced wine with soft tannins and a hint of French Oak. A total of 182 cases were produced.
WILD HOGGE TREE FROG
This unique blend of WILD HOGGE’S 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2007 Syrah, our 2007 WILD HOGGE TREE FROG, combines the best of Central Coast’s favorite varietals. The Syrah grapes come from an old vineyard on the west side of Paso Robles. Our Syrah was kept in barrels for two years, 30% new French oak, before being blended with our 2007 Cabernet. The Syrah (55%) contributes the typical spice box nose and rounds off the tannins of the awarding winning Cabernet. Produced only for Bermuda, 203 cases were bottled.
WILD HOGGE PINOT NOIR
This 2008 WILD HOGGE PINOT NOIR comes with a characteristic Burgundian nose, but with the richness typical of many California wines in this category. The aftertaste lingers with berries and black cherries that compliment many foods without overpowering them. Just 71 cases were produced and then released in Bermuda the fall of 2010.
WILD HOGGE SYRAH
The 2006 WILD HOGGE SYRAH came from the Sonoma area and was released the summer of 2010 after being bottled in March 2009. With the additional aging in the bottle, this Syrah developed a big nose of fruit, earth, and spice. The rich color, complexity and depth grow on your palate as it enhances every bite of food. A total of 81 cases were produced.
WILD HOGGE CHARDONNAY
The 2009 WILD HOGGE CHARDONNAY comes from a small vineyard closer to the coast on the west side of Paso Robles. The juice was fermented in stainless steel initially but spent the last six months in French oak barrels, a fourth new oak. The final product is marked by a smokey oak balanced with a floral softness bearing a hint of flinty vanilla and lavender. This Chardonnay ends long with a touch of marshmallow and apple. We expect this Chardonnay will continue to mature in the bottle over the next year but drinks well now. Just 98 cases were bottled.
For the other varietals, Huw and Dale sought top quality grapes in California's wine country that would meet the discerning palates of the Bermudian market. At times, this meant blending varietals to create a new and powerful wine. Quality has been the driving force behind the wines created. We have our 2009 Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon maturing in oak barrels, as is our 2010 Pinot Noir, Primitivo and Cabernet Franc, all from the Paso Robles appellation.
2008 Cabernet Sauvignon to be released January 2012.
Huw and Dale Morris also have another label for the USA market called JADE MOON. The wine used for JADE MOON is the same as WILD HOGGE. Visit www.jademoonwine.com for wine purchases in the United States.
2005 JADE MOON Cabernet Sauvignon
Gold Medal Winner
2008 Central Coast Wine Competition
2006 JADE MOON Cabernet Sauvignon
Silver Medal Winner
2009 Central Coast Wine Competition
2006 WILD HOGGE Cabernet Sauvignon
Silver Medal Winner
2010 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition
2007 WILD HOGGE Cabernet Sauvignon
Silver Medal Winner
2011 Central Coast Wine Competition
2007 WILD HOGGE Tree Frog
Silver Medal Winner
2011 Los Angeles International Wine Competition
2008 WILD HOGGE Pinot Noir
Silver Medal Winner
by The 9th Annual Pinot Noir Shootout
for the 2011 Pinot Noir Summit
(These results are from the only competitions entered to date.)
Copyright© WILD HOGGE
Design by Gayle Force Design