Founded by Kevin Foran six years ago, Hogshead Wine Company is composed of a small team of passionate industry veterans, who work with a growing collection of global wines—wines of integrity, soul, and great taste—across all price points. The foundation of the company began with an appreciation for tradition in the vineyard and the quest to represent growers and importers who embrace this same philosophy, the encouragement of time-honored techniques and minimal intervention, as well organic, biodynamic, and sustainable practices.
“We have always had a focus on the neighborhood restaurant or wine shop, the small, local shops that are connected to their communities, where the buyers know their clientele and their regulars,” says director of sales Jen Pieters. “As a midsize company, we have a big focus on supporting small to midsize businesses in turn, and to building community.”
As summer wanes and autumn vies for our attention, we present a selection of neighborhood retailer highlights from the Hogshead portfolio, with plenty more to be found at additional North Shore purveyors.
Wine and store manager Gina Agostinelli of Andover Classic Wines, takes a classic approach with a German Riesling from Mosel producer Max Ferdinand Richter. This single-vineyard Mülheimer Sonnenlay “Zeppelin,” is an enchanting and exotic, mineral-driven Riesling. A Rhys Vineyards Pinot Noir, from Bearwallow Vineyard in California’s Anderson Valley, presents cool-climate elegance from producer Kevin Harvey, whose Pinot Noir wines have been deemed “New World expressions, shockingly close in quality to the finest red Burgundies.”
For proprietors Bea and Bruce of The Cellar Door in Ipswich, it’s about both discovery and the tried and true. Italian producer Caruso & Minini’s native Catarratto is a new addition; its vineyards bask at the ocean’s edge in western Sicily. This is a rich and herbaceous, lush wine with great minerality and a deep golden hue. South African producer Babylonstoren Wine Estate, in Simonsberg-Paarl in the Western Cape, is a familiar favorite. A smorgasbord of Bordeaux varietals, as well Shiraz and Pinotage, presents a playful, juicy, red-berry mouthful, with a hint of chocolate.
Regina Lane, of Seaview Farm and Farmstead in Rockport, includes two Portuguese beauties in her growing collection: A perfect rosé of affordable, pedigreed elegance from Herdade do Rocim in Alentejo, is a blend of native varietals, dry and with an abundance of aromatics and a silky palate. A Vinho Verde, the Azahar, an indigenous, white varietal blend, is from Gota Wine in the eponymously named region, whose vineyards trellis the Atlantic coast, ensuring a delightful salinity and the scent of orange blossoms.
Alexis Harwood of Helen’s Bottle Shop in Manchester presents an ode to Spain. The wines of producer Envínate come from vineyards grown on the mainland as well on the barren and beautiful Canary Islands. The Palo Blanco, made of Listán Blanco, reflects the islands’ sweep of rugged terrain, with texture from old vines, a citrus core, salinity, and racy minerals. Alfredo Maestro’s “Lovamor,” made from Albillo in Castilla y León, boasts an orange, unfiltered hue thanks to some extended skin contact. It’s a rich and bright wine, with a darling label.
Wine buyer Preet Gill of One Stop Liquors in Beverly, has a neighborly nook within his father’s liquor store, with an entire selection devoted to natural wines. Yetti and The Kokonut B’rosé from Barossa, South Australia, a Cabernet Franc, Sémillon, and Gewürztraminer blend “chases a fresh line of acid congruent with a fresh fruit forwardness.” He has an equal affinity for Summer Water Rosé, a sustainable, late-summer blend of Grenache and Syrah from California’s Central Coast.
Susan and August, at The Cheese Shop of Salem, highlight the glorious effects of high-altitude growing conditions: brilliant acidity and aromatics. Greek producer Tetramythos works magic with indigenous white varietal Roditis, from parcels in the mountainous northwest Peloponnese. Crisp, green apple fruit, white flowers, and a whisper of sea salt prevail. And from the foothills of the Dolomites in Italy’s northeast Trentino-Alto Adige region, comes Castel Noarna’s “Cimber.” A rustic, fruity, and perfectly perfectly toned red made with Lagrein, from vineyards edging up into the Alps.
Contact Helen’s Bottle Shop, helensbottleshop.com; Andover Classic Wines, andoverclassicwines.com; The Cellar Door Ipswich , cellardooripswich.com;
The Cheese Shop of Salem, thecheeseshopofsalem.com; One Stop Liquors, onestopmarketbeverly.com; Seaview Farm and Farmstead, seaviewfarmrockport.com