Archive | personality profile RSS feed for this section

Paul Hobbs: Argentine Pioneer

18 Sep
vineyards of vina cobos, mendoza

Vineyards of Viña Cobos, Mendoza

As a winemaker, Paul Hobbs is highly regarded for his ability to identify exceptional vineyards and for his innovation and pioneering spirit in working with new and historical sites and regions. His success has inspired a wealth of nicknames among the press, from quiet trendsetter to prospector to truffle-hunting dog. Hired by Robert Mondavi for his advanced understanding of oak aging, he went on to become winemaker for Opus One and Simi wineries.

Paul Hobbs on Wine Taste TV

Paul Hobbs on Wine Taste TV

Recently, Paul is known for his namesake winery in Napa Valley, which has received high accolades (including multiple 100-point scores from Robert Parker) for its Cabernet, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay. What is less well known is that Hobbs is a pioneer in fine wine production in Argentina, having started there in 1988 with Decanter Magazine’s “Man of the Year” for 2009, Nicolas Catena. Señor Catena gives Hobbs much credit for the success of Catena-Zapata’s Chardonnay program. He has since extended his consulting efforts both in Argentina and Chile, consulting with various producers, including La Pampa winery Bodega Del Desierto. But the pinnacle of Hobbs’ work is Mendoza winery Viña Cobos, which began in 1998 and moved into its own winery facility in 2007.

Viña Cobos has expanded its lineup to include the Felino range of varietal wines: Chardonnay, Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon.  The 2007 vintage saw the entire Felino range score 90 points or better by Winedesierto Advocate reviewer Jay Miller.

Bodega del Desierto is the first winery in the Argentine province of La Pampa, a new viticultural region on the western border of the desert route to Patagonia, 700km south of Mendoza. The premium 25/5 varietal range posses Hobbs’ signature rich concentration and drinkability and have been included in”Smart Buy!” and “Top Value” lists by Wine Spectator magazine.

felino cabernetViña Cobos Felino Chardonnay 2008
Classic Argentine Chard, with pronounced oak, but well-balanced by tropical fruit and decent acidity.  90 points, Wine Advocate (August, 2009) $21.99, Everything Wine

Viña Cobos Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
Good concentration for the price, with solid cassis fruit, dark berry and sweet vanilla.  91 points, Wine Advocate (December, 2008) $21.99, Everything Wine

Bodega del Desierto 25/5  Chardonnay 2007Bodegas_del_Desierto_25-5_Chardonnay
Top-notch Chardonnay by Mr. Hobbs, with a rich and creamy mouthfeel, great fruit concentration and enough acidity for food pairing. $27.99, Everything Wine

Bodega del Desierto 25/5 Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
Another good example of the fruit-forward Paul Hobbs style.  Concentrated blackberry and sweet cassis fruit.  Good tannic structure and oak influence. $27.99, Everything Wine

sources:
http://www.bodegadeldesierto.com/

http://www.vinacobos.com/
http://www.paulhobbs.com/
http://www.erobertparker.com/
http://www.winetastetv.com/

Bunnell Family Cellar Boushey-McPherson Vineyard Syrah (2006)

17 May


Rattlesnake Mountain, Yakima Valey AVA

Rattlesnake Mountain, Yakima Valley AVA

Yakima Valley Syrah
The first Syrah grapes in Washington were planted in the Yakima Valley in 1986. National recognition for Yakima Valley Syrah, together with wide consumer appeal has lead to a substantial increase in Syrah plantings in the past few years. Syrah is just one of the Rhône varieties sparking new interest in Washington State. A spicy, rich, complex varietal, Syrah grapes turn into big, dark, intensely concentrated wines with aromas and flavors of blackberries, black currants, roasted coffee and leather.

Boushey Vineyards
Boushey Vineyards, owned by Richard (Dick) and Luanne Boushey, are located in the Yakima Valley five miles north of the town of Grandview on the southern slopes of the Rattlesnake Mountains. The vineyards are planted on several sites within a two mile radius; generally south facing slopes varying from 700 to 1200 ft. elevation. The first blocks of grapes were planted in 1980 and the youngest were recently planted in 2003. Dick’s philosophy of grape growing is to compliment mother nature. Occasionally he tries to fool her into thinking she is in control but most of time it is the other way around. Varietals currently grown include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, and Sangiovese.

thanks to Wine Yakima Valley

The Bunnell Family Cellar
Boushey-McPherson Vineyard Syrah 2006

Yakima Valley, Washington
$42.00 (USD) Winery direct

After stints at Beringer, Kendall-Jackson and Chateau St. Michelle, Ron Bunnell, along with his wife Susan, created Bunnel Family Cellar, specializing in small bunnellBousheyMcPSyrahhandmade lots of wine from Rhône Valley grape varieties. The Boushey-McPherson Vineyard, at 1200 ft. elevation, is one of the highest in the Yakima Valley. It is farmed by Dick Boushey, whose reputation for producing world-class Syrah is already well established. Dick’s expert water management produces uncommonly small berries for Syrah, concentrating the flavor and colour in the wine. This fruit is usually the last Syrah harvested for Bunnell. Extended hang time produces a wine of exceptional complexity, depth and substance. The ’06 offering boasts intense aromas of blackberry, blueberry smoke and cured meat, with pickling spice, licorice and mineral notes. The palate is silky smooth, with creamy vanilla oak framing crème de cassis, cherry cola, peppery spice, rose petal, tar and perfectly integrated tannins and acid. 94 points

Fred Franzia: Champion of Cheap

15 May
Fred "Two Buck Chuck" Franzia, admiring his work.

Fred "Two Buck Chuck" Franzia, admiring his work.

Fred Franzia, the owner of Charles “Two Buck Chuck” Shaw just sold his 400 millionth bottle of wine. Mr. Franzia and his “super-value” wine segment is outlined in this great article, courtesy The New Yorker:

Fred Franzia owns forty thousand acres of vineyards, more than anyone in the country; crushes three hundred and fifty thousand tons of grapes a year; and his company, Bronco, has annual revenue of more than five hundred million dollars. Recently, Franzia celebrated the sale of the four-hundred-millionth bottle of Charles Shaw, known as Two Buck Chuck, which is sold for $1.99 at Trader Joe’s.

Franzia’s objective is to sell as much wine as possible—he sells twenty million cases a year now, making Bronco the fourth-largest winery in the U.S., and would like to reach a hundred million. He believes that no bottle of wine should cost more than ten dollars. Franzia is sixty-five and twice divorced. He is both a major seller and a major buyer on the bulk market. He owns several wineries, including one in Sonoma, and he acts as a custom winemaker for wineries without his capacity. In 2000, he opened a ninety-two-thousand-square-foot bottling plant near the Napa airport.

Talking about his wine, Franzia can sound like an old-fashioned Democratic populist, though personally he’s more of a Darwinian capitalist. With Two Buck Chuck, Franzia invented a category, now a significant segment of the marketplace, which is known as “super-value” wine. His idea was to make cheap wine that yuppies would feel comfortable drinking.

how did he do it? read more at http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/05/18/090518fa_fact_goodyear

see also: Two Buck Chuck founder defends cheap wine at examiner.com

and: His Two Bucks Worth from The New York Times

and: Charles Shaw Wine on Wikipedia

Yes, it's really $2

Yes, it's really $2