'80 Hidden Mountain Ranch (HMR) - Printable Version

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- MikeE - 05-09-1999

This is one of those that unless you were told to try, you would just look at a 1980 Cabernet from Paso Robles and quickly move on to the next bottle.

Well, I'm told that this wine was made by the famous Andre T (can't remember how to spell his name; Jerry can you help on this one?) and what an elegant wine. Smooth, well integrated tannins and acidity, and ripe red currant fruit is still vibrant. What a find!

It's still remarkable that a 19 year wine from Paso Robles is this good...


- Jerry D Mead - 05-09-1999

Andre Tchelistcheff was the consulting winemaker at HMR when it was Hoffman Mountain Ranch (founded by a Dr. Hoffman and his family) but I don't remember if he continued after the debt holders took over, or the Japanese who later bought bought it, and it became Hidden Mountain Ranch.

It just so happens that two gentlemen who were once G.M's of the property are friends of mine...I'll see if I can get them to comment.

HMR was, of course, most famous for Pinot Noir. It's 1975, along with Ken Burnap's Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard of the same vintage were the Williams-Selym and Gary Farrell of the day.

I once spent the night at HMR when Andre and his wife Dorothy were there for their annual consumting swing...but I can't remember who was owner/manager at the time.


- Randy Caparoso - 05-09-1999

I don't think Tchelistcheff was consulting at that time, either. But if anything, it goes to show how underrated Paso Robles is as a grape growing region. The Cabernet Sauvignons from the hillside/chalky soils of this region are some of the most elegant -- i.e. balanced, compact, deep and harmonious -- in the world. Perhaps better yet are their Cabernet Francs and Merlots. Justin Vineyards, in my opinion, is the reigning king in this area.

- Jerry D Mead - 05-10-1999

The following is from Ray Krause who was G.M. at HMR for a time:

Actually made by Mike Hoffman under some guidance from Andre. Grapes were from the Home ranch vines( same vintage and vineyard that gave the legendary 1980 Pinot/RK

- Jerry D Mead - 05-10-1999

From Ed Masciana...another former HMR G.M. and the author of "Shortcuts to Wine":

The 1980 was probably the Dr. Reserve. It was made from estate grapes and narrowly selected by André, myself and the idiot winemaker from about 200 barrels. I believe there were 300-400 cases made.

When HMR sold to the Japanese in '86 or so, they sold all the inventory to Trader Joe's. The 1980 was an unbelievable bargain at like $8.99 or such. I'm not surprised that it's held up so well. A luncheon there in 1985 with Andre and a dozen of my best wholesalers featured all the wines we'd made to date. The overall concensus (how many times does THAT happen in a wine tasting?) was that the Pinots were good, but inconsistent (the '75 already tired and showing it's over-ripeness since it was almost 16% alc.) but the Cabs were the stars of the show.

It was an interesting time and certainly a precursor to the insanity that pervades the industry today. Anyone want more info, I'd be glad to share with you.

Ed Masciana