Xabregas, Paul Hogan, Mount Barker
This story begins with the Hogan family five generations of Western Australians deeply ingrained in sheep grazing and forestry in the Great Southern District since the 1860s.
The Hogan family story begins with one man, the first vigneron and patriarch of Xabregas, Terry Hogan. His view that the Mt Barker region was "far too good a dirt to waste on blue gums" changed his priority from forestry to viticulture and after planting three vineyards in 1996 and making a wine from the first vintage, we all tend to agree with him.
Terry Hogan's wine passion was seeded from a visit with his elegant wife, Wendy, to the coastal town of Lisbon in the 1960's. He fell in love with the "European culture of wine appreciation and celebration" so foreign to his native home in Western Australia at the time. The poignant moment being the couples' visit to the 15th century Monastery of Sao Lucien high on the hillside overlooking the central port region of Lisbon, known as Xabregas.
Regions evolve as do winemakers, and the Hogan family begin to evolve and shape the future of Xabregas by concentrating on the regions strengths, Shiraz and Riesling. Terry would argue that we need only to concentrate on Shiraz, as it is very clear what wines he favours;
‘I am sure Shiraz is the wine that they serve in heaven, if not then I’m going to need to find alternative lodgings for eternity’
Youngest Son and dominant force in the development of the brand is Paul Hogan, who is ‘mad passionate’ about Riesling, “there is serious discussion between my father and brothers as to what constitutes our best wines, but I know that Riesling has true nobility.”
The winemaking and vineyard team at Xabregas work side by side. However, it is the belief of Paul Hogan, that the alchemy of winemaking takes a back seat to the grape quality coming from the our vineyards of the Xabregas estate. “It has become a cliché but all great wines come not from a great winemaker, but a great vineyard. The grape quality of our vineyards speak for themselves and it is why we do not source grapes from other peoples vineyards, we simply don’t need too.”
“You cannot make a silk purse from a sow’s ear”
Our viticultural team is equipped to tend the vineyard in a clean green sustainable manner and at the same time, focus on producing fruit to specification. Says a team leader, "We grow wine, not grapes. It sounds strange but when you walk into this vineyard, it is all about how the grapes taste not about how the vines look."