Tag: Jay Miller

Apr 04 2011

Hobbs Shiraz Gregor: An Australian Take on a Famous Italian Wine Style

Posted on April 04, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Over the past few months, I’ve talked quite a bit about how Australian winemakers are increasingly working with alternative or less well-known grape varieties, such as tempranillo, viognier and chenin blanc. But perhaps less evident to consumers is the number of wineries that have adopted non-conventional wine styles. Interestingly, Hobbs, the artisan Barossa Ranges winery, has embraced with great success the challenges of employing alternative winemaking styles on typical ‘Australian’ varieties like shiraz!

Hobbs of Barossa Ranges is owned by Greg and Allison Hobbs. They have 15 acres of  vineyards, which are home to some of the Barossa’s oldest shiraz.  Nestled in the cool, beautiful Barossa Ranges, where the elevation, climate and ancient decomposed clay soils, allow for the slow ripening of the fruit, the vineyards are dry-grown, biodynamically farmed, hand-pruned and hand-picked.

The Hobbs vineyards are contiguous with Chris Ringland’s famed Chris Ringland Shiraz vineyards (formerly Chris Ringland’s Three Rivers). Ringland acts as a consultant winemaker, working with Pete Schell from Spinifex Wines, who makes the wines for Hobbs. Previously Schell was the head winemaker at Turkey Flat before starting Spinifex in 2001.

Little wonder then that this enviable combination of wine growing and winemaking skills has helped Hobbs attain critical acclaim and a strong following for its small range (only seven different wines) of very limited production wines – typically 250 or less dozens of each.

Hobbs makes a very highly rated old vine shiraz and shiraz viognier, but it is the Amarone-style Hobbs Shiraz Gregor that represents a new direction in the style of Australian shiraz.

Amarone della Valpolicella is the rich, heady red from the Valpocella region near Veneto in northern Italy. Typically it is made with the corvina grapes, a variety unique to the region, and sometimes rondinella and molinara grapes are … Read the rest

Mar 03 2011

Vega Sicilia Único : A Uniquely Spanish Wine!

Posted on March 03, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Bodegas Vega Sicilia in Ribera Del Duero is Spain’s most famous winery. Its flagship wine, which is widely regarded as Spain’s best, is the tempranillo-based Vega Sicilia Único Reserva Especial. Michael Broadbent MW describes this wine as “Lafite of Spain”.

What I find fascinating is that the wine is actually a non-vintage blend. The 2010 release, for example, is a blend of the 1991, 1994, and 1995 vintages.  But as Jay Miller of the Wine Advocate notes, “what vintages are in each bottling..makes little difference. The Reserva Especials are blended to a house style designed to reflect Vega Sicilia at its very best.”( Wine Advocate # 189 June 2010)

As I mentioned in my previous post, Penfolds Bin 389: Perfecting the Art of Blending, the Penfolds fabled Grange and Bin 389 are made very much to a house style. But the Reserva Especial takes the art of blending red wine to a whole new level.

Vega Sicilia also makes a highly acclaimed vintage wine, the Vega Sicilia Único Gran Reserva. It is only made with the best vintages and released only after a minimum of 10 years of ageing: seven years in barrel (a mix of new and seasoned American and French oak) and at least three years in bottle! Like the Especial Reserva, this wine is also renowned for its longevity. They can be drunk young, but will also age gracefully for 20 to 25 years. As Miller remarks, “When you consider that the Reserva Especial sells for less than half the price of a Bordeaux First Growth (and you don’t have to wait for 20 years for it to be approachable) it is one of the great bargains in world-class wine.” (Wine Advocate # 189 June 2010)

The Vega Sicilia vines were first planted in 1864 … Read the rest