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Sanglier Cellars

Syrah-loving Texas transplants find hog heaven in Healdsburg

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There are lots of folks who move to the wine country for the lifestyle—at least, the lifestyle that those who can afford to purchase vineyard estates and collect expensive wines enjoy. And there are those locals whose family business it is to farm those vineyard estates and grow the grapes for said dear wines. And then there's Glenn Alexander, who wasted no time in becoming both kinds of folks at the same time.

Alexander joined Sonoma County's seeming diaspora of wine-loving Texans in 2001 after a running a successful manufacturing business that involved whirlpool baths, says his daughter Chelsea Hawley with a hint of Texas twang. She caught up with the family in 2007.

After purchasing a tractor for his eight-acre vineyard, Alexander found himself tooting around his neighbors' vineyards on request. He then obtained a viticulture certificate from Santa Rosa Junior College and founded Bacchus Vineyard Management, which farms vineyards for such hot-ticket brands as Kosta Browne, Paul Hobbs and Pahlmeyer.

Key here is that Alexander uses only grapes that he farms for clients. There's Pinot and Chard, but the core wines are sourced from Kick Ranch, the sought-after Rhône varietal sensation located in unlikely Rincon Valley.

Viognier, Roussanne and Marsanne make up the lovely 2011 Blanc de Tusque ($22). It's got an oily quality to the palate ("unctuous," for us wine snobs) with honeyed floral and apricot aromas and a dry, saline finish. Mostly Syrah, the 2010 Rouge du Tusque ($26) jots a note with purple marker on the nose—it says, "exotic, figgy, licorice, plush."

The signature 2009 Boar's Camp ($45) is a blend of Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault poised between wet stone, blood and blueberry syrup, while aromas like savory herbs, crushed blackberries and raspberries add complexity to the palate-friendly 2009 Kemp Vineyard Syrah ($40). Not too showy, serious but immediately enjoyable, the Sanglier style is a nice addition to the wine country. Lifestyle not included.

Sanglier Cellars, 132 Plaza St., Healdsburg. Daily, 11am–6pm; Saturday, 11am–7pm. Winter, closed Wednesdays. Tasting fee, $10. 707.433.6104.

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