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Hillick & Hobbs Dry Riesling 2021

Finger Lakes DRY Riesling

Product image 1Hillick & Hobbs Dry Riesling 2021
Product image 2Hillick & Hobbs Dry Riesling 2021

Regular price $34.99

2021 Dry Riesling
94SP / 91WS / 94WS / 91D
Hillick & Hobbs
Seneca Lake, New York

  • Harvest: Hand-harvested and sorted in the vineyard, October 11-20
  • Winemaking: Conventional, pressed whole cluster and steel tank fermentation.
  • Aging: 100% stainless steel fermented and aged
  • ABV: 12%

As I mentioned above, this was one of my favorite wines of the week.  Paul Hobbs is behind the winery but winemaker Lynne Fahy makes the wine and lives in the vines and amongst the Finger Lakes community.  She is young, energetic, and very talented based on what I tasted and from listening to her talk a few times during our trip.  We had a few side conversations too that really impressed me.  Paul Hobbs, the celebrity winemaker that made his name in wine with Napa Cabs, Sonoma Pinot/Chards, and Argentinian Malbecs, is actually from New York State.  Paul grew up outside Buffalo and he had been searching for a site to make wine from in the Finger Lakes for a VERY long time as a tribute to his family's roots. Hillick is in fact his mother's maiden name.

My Tasting Note: A shimmering medium lemon yellow in color.  The nose is med+ with lime citrus, Fuji apple, with fresh and supple stone fruits like white peach, a creamy edge, with slate minerality and subtle notes of white florals. On the palate there is excellent med+ acidity, with a medium body that is densely flavored with a subtle creaminess with med+ flavor intensity and a long, fresh, and complex finish.

91 pts Wine Spectator
Crackles nicely with pippin apple, lime and slate notes. Reveals flashes of yellow apple and chamomile on the finish, with the slate edge lingering nicely. Drink now through 2027. Tasted twice, with consistent notes. 4,500 cases made.
94 pts Stu Pigott
One of the stars of this challenging vintage. Cool and reserved nose with fresh mint, parsley and basil aromas. Some aeration in the glass teases a lot more crisp pear and yellow-apple aromas out of the wine and expands the mid-palate creaminess. Excellent structure and juiciness on the sleek and precise, medium-bodied palate. Complex wet-stone minerality at the self-confidently dry and crisp finish. Drink or hold.
94 pts Wine & Spirits
This is Paul Hobbs's homecoming, a traveling winemaker returning to his family's roots, the winery named for his parents. This third release is a posh wine, dry and lean, with yeasty scents of apple, celery and lime. The flavors lean more tropical, with peach and passion fruit, all delivered within a beautiful structure, elegant, modestly creamy, with a delicious mouthwatering tang. The flavors drive long into the finish, for pasta with parsley pesto.

In April 2024 I had the pleasure to go on my first sponsored work trip.  I headed up to Rochester, New York to participate in a 3 day immersion in the Finger Lakes wine region with producers and other fellow wine pros from all different backgrounds and professions.  When they say all wine roads lead to the same place, this was about as perfect an example that I have ever participated in. We had events all over the region's main thoroughfares along the shores of Seneca Lake, Cayuga Lake and Keuka Lake.

It's rare to offer a Finger Lakes wine in NC, there is just not much available here as it is a region sadly underrepresented by the suppliers that work our market. This offer is a break from that and a wine I tasted a few times last week and just so happened to be one of my favorite wines of the trip. One of our stops was to the new Paul Hobbs property Hillick & Hobbs perched on the eastern cliffs of Seneca Lake with the winemaker Lynne Fahy.  I also tasted the 2019, 2020, and 2022 and was very impressed with each wine as Lynne participated in a few events and brought a different vintage for those events.  Bone dry, but rich, with some saline in cooler years and a little more fruit and density in warmer years - just like many of Germany's best GG's.  I had the pleasure of speaking with Lynne on several occasions over my time there and really enjoyed our conversations about the property, the farming and her winemaking.

And, to be fair I was impressed by A LOT of wines from a LOT of different producers that week but this is one of the few I can offer you immediately.  I hope to bring you some amazing sparkling traditional method wines, a few of the top red wines, and many more of the outstanding riesling wines from the region over the coming months.

ALSO, if you are headed to the Finger Lakes or are thinking about visiting, I would be happy to help you out with suggestions for wineries!  The wine community here is second to none and one that helps each other out and works together to enhance the region as a whole.

Hillick & Hobbs
An Homage to Paul Hobbs' NY State Roots!

Here are a few excerpts from the Hillick & Hobbs website....

Named after Paul's parents who first met while attending nearby Cornell University, Joan Hillick and Edward Hobbs, Paul founded the winery with the vision to create riesling that rivals its European brethren by pushing the boundaries of modern viticulture in the Finger Lakes.

When growing up with his 10 siblings on the family farm in Niagara County, his father Edward would travel to the region and return with stories to share at the family table, sparking Paul’s interest and forming the building blocks for a lifelong vocation in wine. At the age of 16, his father instructed him to convert some of the farm’s orchards to vineyards after seeking advice from local growers. The family began selling grapes to nearby wineries in the Finger Lakes, and while attending college at Notre Dame, his father persuaded him to pursue wine. During his studies at UC Davis, Paul naturally developed an interest in Riesling, particularly those from Germany, which he considers his first love.

After solidifying an international winemaking career, he began to recognize that the Finger Lakes had all the desirable attributes–climate, slate soils and slopes–of the greatest Riesling producing regions. Paul, along with his younger brother David Hobbs, began actively searching for a site, and after years combing the area, discovered a property south of Hector Falls that drew notable similarities to the Mosel. In 2013, the purchase of the property was finalized and the labor- and capital-intensive process of developing a vineyard from scratch began that Labor Day weekend. It took nearly a decade before the inaugural vintage release to establish the 78-acre estate (25 planted).

Dedicated entirely to Riesling, the vines are planted to high density and grown on steep slopes in predominately hard slate soils, making machine work nearly impossible.

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