Paul Hobbs, Chardonnay, Russian River, USA, 2016
Paul came to winemaking via studying to be a doctor and this scientific background and attention to detail has helped hone his approach to crafting wonderfully precise, complex wines in California, and around the world. He has famously been called the 'Steve Jobs' of wine by Forbes magazine and it is clear he is a driven perfectionist whose hard work has paid off with numerous 100 points scores from the critics. However, to stop there would do Paul an injustice. Notwithstanding his mainstream winemaking training at USC Davis, Paul has been a long advocate of low intervention methods.
Since the late 1980's, long before it was popular, Paul was using wild yeast to ferment and organic vineyard management techniques to get the best from his vines and protect the land. Like his wines, he is a complicated, multi-layered man and across all his ranges there is an elegance and lightness of touch that makes you realise there is a truly talented winemaker at work here. Produced from fruit from carefully selected vineyards in prime appellations in the Napa Valley. Yields are carefully managed for maximum ripeness and concentration and the harvest is carried out by hand to ensure that the fruit is in immaculate condition when it arrives at the winery.
Hand-harvested at night the whole clusters are sent direct to press, whilst still cold from the field. Barrel fermented with indigenous yeats taking 4 months for completion. Spontaneous malolactic fermentation in barrel and then aged for 12 months in French Oak Barrels, 50% New and 5 months in stainless steel. Aged sur lies with bi-weekly bâtonnage. Bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Time: 12 months; Type: French; % oaked: 100; % new oak: 50;
Pale straw with a chlorphyllic tint, the 2016 Russian River Valley Chardonnay displays a lovely pearlescence in the glass. Arresting aromatics of Asian pear, white florals, and tangerine peel leap dramatically from the glass. Dynamic flavours of Ginger Gold apple, zesty lemon pie, brioche, and ginger spice emerge harmonious from a palate—round and supple in texture—with energetic acidity, elegance, and very long length.
Serve with fish as salmon, tuna or monkfish or white meats with creamy sauce.