When Robert Hill Smith from Australia's oldest family owned winery Yalumba, joined forces with Clare winemaker extraordinaire, Jeffrey Grosset to create a new Eden Valley Riesling, it was clear that this would be no ordinary wine. Jeffrey Grosset needs no introduction. His Polish Hill and Watervale Rieslings are highly prized Australian wines. The Hill Smith's Pewsey Vale Riesling is now regarded by many as a benchmark Australian estate Riesling.
Born of occasional musings between Robert Hill Smith and Jeffrey Grosset, the essence of this project is two of Australia's best known Riesling makers working together to elevate the status of both Riesling and the Eden Valley. The project also offered a forum in which both winemakers could share ideas, debate and discuss.
Given both Grosset's and Yalumba's history with Stelvin screw cap closures, it was only natural that this wine should be bottled under Stelvin. Yalumba was instrumental in the pioneering development of the Stelvin closure in the early 1970s. Jeffrey Grosset was a protagonist for the Clare Winemaker's 2000 and 2001 releases of Riesling with Stelvin closures.
"This single word represents so much of the philosophy behind the wine - the weaving together of ideas and the combining of skills and knowledge" said Robert Hill Smith.
Jeffrey Grosset, a graduate of Oenology and Agriculture, he gained vast experience with larger Australian companies, and in Europe, before starting his own winery in 1980. Grosset Wines is in the historic township of Auburn, the gateway to the Clare Valley. Emphasis is placed equally on technical expertise in winemaking and viticulture.
All six wines Jeffrey produces consistently achieve outstanding ratings but he is best known internationally for his Polish Hill and Watervale Rieslings. In 1998, Jeffrey was voted The Gourmet Traveller Wine magazine "Australian Winemaker of the Year" and in the same year, named the inaugural "Riesling Winemaker of the Year" at the Riesling summit held in Hamburg, Germany.
A fifth generation descendant of Samuel Smith, who founded Yalumba in 1849, Robert did not need to look far to find an industry in which to build a career. He graduated with a degree in Business Administration, majoring in Marketing and after working in a variety of wine roles and extensive travel he was in 1985 appointed Managing Director of the Yalumba Wine Company at 34 years of age. Under his tutorship, Yalumba has excelled with fine wines including the estate vineyards of Pewsey Vale and Heggies where Riesling is a major focus.
Robert's passion for wine and drive for perfection can be seen throughout the company from Yalumba's innovative vine nursery to its on-site barrel cooperage. His respect for terroir is evident throughout the portfolio with Eden Valley Riesling, Barossa Shiraz and Viognier, Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon, Tasmanian Sparkling and Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (NZ) to mention just a few.