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Hobbs to make Mosel-style Riesling in USA

Consultant winemaker Paul Hobbs plans to make Mosel-style Riesling in the US having partnered with a German producer.

Paul Hobbs in vineyard
Paul Hobbs is planning to make Riesling in his native state of New York

Hobbs, who was born in New York State, told db during a tasting in London last month that next year he plans to plant Riesling on a 65-acre plot he’s bought in his native state’s Finger Lakes wine region.

“I have always loved German Riesling and I feel there is an opportunity for Riesling in America,” he said.

Continuing he said, “I have partnered with a top producer in the Mosel,” although, he added, “but I can’t say who that is.”

The plot is on the south east side of the lake near Watkins Glen, and the soil has some of the highest shale and slate content of the region according to Hobbs.

“We are starting from scratch, and we are preparing the land now,” he recorded, adding that he spent three years surveying the area before finding this site.

Speaking of the style of wine he plans to make with the help of his German partner, Hobbs said he would make an off-dry Riesling.

Watkins Glen, Finger Lakes, New York State. Source:

“We will definitely make some wine in the Mosel style,” he admitted, adding, “but we will be trying dry Riesling too.”

He also said he might plant some Gewurztraminer.

Meanwhile, he enthused about this year’s vintage at the Paul Hobbs winery in California, particularly the Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley.

“2013’s Napa Cabernet is the best I’ve made by far, and we’ve not even finished malo-lactic,” he recorded.

In particular, he said that 2013 was “a brilliant vintage for Cabernet Sauvignon.”

And although last year’s harvest was widely heralded as a first-rate vintage, Hobbs said that “2013 is better”, before comparing 2012 and 2013 to the previous consecutive excellent vintages of 2001 and 2002.

Notably, the 2002 vintage yielded the first (and last) 100-point score for a Paul Hobbs Cabernet Sauvignon from Robert Parker.

When asked whether he expected to receive another perfect score from the famous critic for the latest harvest, Hobbs said, “It would be disappointing if the wine I made in 2012 or 2013 was not better than in 2002, otherwise we are just treading water.”

Continuing he said, “There have been huge advances since then [2002].”

However, speaking more generally about the notion of a perfect score he said, “No wine I’ve made earns 100 points in my mind because I always aspire to do better, but 100 points represents the best of what’s know at that moment.”

Outside the US, as previously reported by db, spring 2014 will see the start of Hobbs’ first Armenian viticultural adventure, and you can read more about that project, which he believes will be the most difficult of his life, here.

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