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Well now. Let’s get this straight. Paul Hobbs, a former medical student with a farming background and a mother who hated alcohol is today at the helm of one of the most successfully acclaimed vineyards and estates in Argentina. And he’s American to boot? Truth it seems is stranger than fiction.
An American in Argentina
Whatever you think of his non-viticultural background, there is no denying that Hobbs is a genius when it comes to winemaking. A bright and gifted medical student, he quickly saw he was not going to be the world greatest doctor. After being encouraged by a professor to attend a few fine wine lectures in his free time, Hobbs decided to swap medicine for oenology and before you can say Robert Mondavi, he was assigned to the Opus one team. A chance meeting with Jorge Catena (brother of Nicolas) during his tenure at the Simi led to a visit to Argentina and Paul set upon a new path that would change the course of Argentinian winemaking forever. It was 1988.
Livin’ la Vina Cobos
Aware that his skills as a winemaker were in demand, Paul worked on a consultancy basis for some time (notably with his pals the Catenas), but the pull of making his own wines was too strong. In 1991 the first vintage of Vina Cobos hit the shelves, a 100% Malbec blend from 60-80 year old vines that Hobbs had carefully overseen from vine to bottle. Vina Cobos marked a milestone in Argentinian fine wine. Today Vina Cobos sustainably farms over 95-hectares of prime fine wine terroir in Mendoza at altitudes ranging from 995-1,184 metres.
uNico Cabernet Malbec blend is one to watch
Paul Hobbs’ signature, sensitive handling of the fruit once harvested has granted his Vina Cobos range huge success. And while expensive for Argentina (his uNico range is rates as the second most expensive wine in Argentina) is still very reasonably priced at approximately €200 a bottle (Q2 2019), with steady year on year increase. Fine wine investors should take note: Hobbs’ is on record saying uNico should age comfortably for up to 50 years so if you are patient enough, you might be able to get yourself a bit of a bargain.