Wren Hop Vineyards

Owner(s) James McDonough, James McDonough Sr
Web site www.wrenhop.com
 
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Wren Hop Vineyards

A family winery run by partners James McDonough in Sonoma and his father James McDonough Sr. in Chicago. "Some families play Monopoly, this family would rather debate rootstock and French barrel selection." The winemaker is Russell Bevan and vineyard management is by Glenn Alexander of Bacchus Vineyard Management. Greg Bjornstad is the viticulturist.

James McDonough and his spouse Jennifer bought a 10-acre Russian River Valley property in 2008 and released their first wines in the following vintage. McDonough had been introduced to wines by his father, and he furthered his interest in wine while working for an ad agency in San Francisco, one of whose clients was Robert Mondavi Winery.

The 6-acre vineyard was named Wren Hop after the resident birds. It is organically farmed and sits in Goldridge soil. Grapes are also purchased from other Sonoma County and Sta. Rita Hills vineyards.

In 2009, the inaugural vintage, the winery released a "Omens & Prophecy" Estate Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, a "Siren's Lure" Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir and a "Shipwreck Savior" Sonoma Coast Chardonnay. Bevan tries for full-bodied wines that are aged in 100% new French oak.

The wines are sold through the winery's online store and via a mailing list. Production is about 1,400 cases annually.

Reviewed Wines

2013 Wren Hop Vineyards “Oracle’s Whisper” Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.36, 332 cases, $72. Sourced from Wren Hop Estate Vineyard, clones 667, 777 and 115. Vineyard is located in the Middle Reach of the Russian River Valley on a hillside protected from afternoon heat. The vineyard is planted in Goldridge soil and farmed with organic and biodynamic practices. Aged 14 months in 100% new French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Deep aromas of ripe Bing cherry, boysenberry, Hoison sauce, dark red rose petal and wine cave. A generous charge of sweet black cherry fruit greets the mid palate, encased in firm but refined tannins and accented by welcome oak seasoning. A seamless offering that is luscious and extracted yet agile, finishing with uncommon fruit expression. Score: 92. Reviewed April 2, 2016 ARTICLE »

2013 Wren Hop Vineyards “Witch’s Ladder” Green Valley of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.52, 288 cases, $72. Sourced from Swicegood and Wren Hop Estate vineyards, clones 777 and 115. Aged 14 months in 100% new French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish purple hue in the glass. Nicely perfumed with scents of black cherry, black raspberry, sous bois and seasoned oak. The mid weight darker fruits are lush and sappy, yet bright and crunchy. A riff of spice and oak top note add interest. The tannins are well-managed and the finish is generously endowed. The wine is nicely composed although the oak detracts a bit of pleasure for me, but the oak is non drying and should integrate further over time in the bottle. Score: 91. Reviewed April 2, 2016 ARTICLE »

2013 Wren Hop Vineyards “Architects & Saboteurs Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

pH 3.65, 160 cases, $78. Sourced from Bent Rock Vineyard, clones 777 and 115. The vineyard is but a few miles of the Pacific Ocean and has a major maritime influence allowing slow ripening. Aged 14 months in 100% new French oak barrels. · Dark reddish purple color in the glass. Deep, haunting aromas of blackberry, cassis, oak spice and cigar humidor. A mid weight plus array of dark fruits are enchanting and delicious. The tannins are soothing, the texture is refined and the mild oak notes of tobacco and toast are gratifying. This wine has the most extraction of the three wines tasted here, but the acidity keeps the wine nimble. Even better when tasted later in the day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. A bodacious charmer. Pull the cork, put the dog out, find your spouse, turn off all distractions, dim the lights, and engage in some Pinot heaven. Score: 94. Reviewed April 2, 2016 ARTICLE »

2010 Wren Hop Vineyards Rebel & Martyrs Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.5% alc., pH 3.43, 165 cases, $48. Sourced from Sun Chase Vineyard, located where the Petaluma Gap joins with Sonoma Mountain at an elevation of 900 to 1400 feet on a southwestern facing hillside. Dijon clone 96. Aged 11 months in 100% new French oak barrels. · Light straw color with a very slight haze in the glass. Shy aromas of citrus, wet stone and dried seeds. Dry, soft and smooth on the palate, offering more nutty, yeasty and toasty flavor than pear and citrus fruit. Still, a refreshing wine with admirable acidity that finishes clean and bright. Good. Reviewed February 27, 2013 ARTICLE »

2010 Wren Hop Vineyards Trial by Lightning Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.4% alc., pH 3.47, 325 cases, $48. Sourced from Gap’s Crown Vineyard, located on the western edge of Sonoma Mountain. Dijon clone 76. Aged 11 months in 100% new French oak barrels. · Light straw color with a very faint haze in the glass. Delicate aromas of lemon curd, buttered toast, and spice. The wine has an appealing steeliness to invigorate the lemon, lime and baked pear flavors. Oak jumps in to offer notes of maple syrup, almonds, toast and marshmallow. Good (+). Reviewed February 27, 2013 ARTICLE »

2010 Wren Hop Vineyards Shriveled Hand Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., pH 3.95, 50 cases, $62. Grapes sourced from Sun Chase Vineyard in the Petaluma Gap. Clone 777. Aged 14 months in 100% new French oak barrels. · Dark purple color in the glass. Aromas of dark mocha java with little fruit evident. Bigboned, with generous amounts of coffee-scented, sweet black cherry fruit wrapped in firm tannins. Promising fruit core which is buried in oak at present. Give this wine time in the cellar. Good. Reviewed December 8, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Wren Hop Vineyards Stolen Crown Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., pH 3.73, 75 cases, $62. Clones 667, 777 and 115. Aged 14 months in 100% new French oak barrels. · Dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of black grape juice, blackberry jam, cooked fruit and oak. Full-bodied, rich and dense with dark berry fruit, prodigious tannins including some oak tannins, notes of oak-driven dark caramel and anise in the background, finishing with a bit of heat. Decent. Reviewed December 8, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Wren Hop Vineyards The Fire Messenger Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., pH 3.80, 100 cases, $62. Grapes sourced from Wren Hop and Gap’s Crown vineyards. Swan clone. Aged 11 months in 100% new French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Appealing scents of black cherries, black raspberries and spice. A full mouth of luxurious black fruits with accents of cola and dark chocolate. This wine displays much better acidity and good integration of oak, and has a very seductive soft, velvety mouth feel. Very good for its style. Reviewed December 8, 2012 ARTICLE »

2009 Wren Hop Vineyards Shipwreck Sailor Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.5% alc., 202 cases, $42. · Straw color with slight haze in the glass. Shy white stone fruits and buttered brioche on the nose. Fairly intense flavors of white peaches, melon, citrus and oak, all combined in a creamy, rich style that lingers on the flamboyant finish. Good (+). Reviewed July 1, 2011 ARTICLE »

2009 Wren Hop Vineyards Siren’s Lure Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., 212 cases, $54. · Moderate reddish-purple color and slight haze in the glass. Complex aromatic profile offering bright scents of dark red berries and cherries, dusty road, seasoned oak, spice and cut flowers. Moderately rich core of dark red cherries and raspberries with a hint of mocha, vanillin, spice and savory dried herbs. Interesting, layered and seamless. Holds up beautifully in the glass over an hour’s time. Still great the next day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Very impressive debut. Reviewed July 1, 2011 ARTICLE »