Paul Hobbs, Chardonnay, Russian River, USA, 2019
Raised on a farm on the east coast of the United States, Paul Hobbs grew up in a tee-total household but this did not stop his first taste of wine being Chateau Y'quem. It is tempting to say 'and the rest is history' and leave it at that, but there is so much more to this man.
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 yeasts taking 4 to 7 months for completion. Spontaneous malolactic fermentation in barrel and then aged for 10 months in French Oak Barrels, a round 50% in new Oak and 5 months in stainless steel. Aged sur lies with bi-weekly bâtonnage. Bottled unfined and unfiltered.
% wine oaked: 100
% new oak: 55
A youthful pale straw colour and fragrant citrus blossom and white florals. Lively flavours of Golden Delicious apple and fresh peach emerge on the palate that give way to complex notes of lemon meringue and baking spice. Refined and focused, the finish is long and lifted, framed by a cool minerality and refreshing acidity.
Serve with fish as salmon, tuna or monkfish or white meats with creamy sauce.
12 x 75cl
Award: Robert Parkers The Wine Advocate 90 Points