Terry Hoage at his Paso Robles Vineyard

I keep a number of wines in two storage units where some are snuggled away for aging but most for special occasions. I always treat myself to one of those prizes on Super Bowl Sunday. On top of that, it’s my birthday week. I’m only going to say it’s a BIG one! Ha! I’ve been thinking of opening this wine for a few months and today could not be more perfect.

What better than to open a wine from a winery owned by a former All-American at the University of Georgia and finished in the Heisman Trophy top-five voting his senior year? He not only won a Super Bowl in 1992 with the Philadephia Eagles but had a 13-year NFL career.

Terry Hoage Vineyards has become a landmark Paso Robles winery producing the kind of big,b right and smooth wines Paso has become known for in recent years.

Hoage’s 2007  “The 46” is a 50-50 blend of Syrah and Grenache. The wine has rich plum and bright fruit flavors. Sure, the Syrah comes through with wonderful spice and earthiness but the often-sweeter-on-the palate Grenache provides perfect balance. If you’ve ever read a wine review, shelf talker, or blogger who talked about “velvety tannins” on the finish and thought “huh?” – you need to taste this wine.

For the football fans, the “46” is a salute to the style of defense Hoage played under colorful NFL coordinator and head coach Buddy Ryan.

The critics loved this wine. Wine Advocate gave it an outstanding 93 points. Cellartracker members rated it 90.3.

I had the chance to meet Hoage during a wine press trip in the fall of 2010. We had a “Rhone Rangers” tasting seminar at his winery. A couple of us scooted to the tasting room before leaving to buy a bottle.

I don’t collect much wine memorabilia or trinkets, but I do collect signed bottles. Hoage signed this one for me as you can see above!

Terry Hoage Vineyards “The 46,” $50, Very Highly Recommended. UPDATE: I had originally posted this particular vintage was sold out but heard from the winery they do have a very limited amount available but only at or directly from the winery. The Hoage website linked above also has a 2010 vintage listed for $55.

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