Sunday, November 08, 2009

Recent Wines from Paul Hobbs

Many of you who have read my blog from the early days know I am a huge fan of Paul Hobbs’ wines. Over the last few weeks I have had the opportunity to taste a few of the new 2006 and 2007 vintage wines and as usual I am impressed and happy to be an admirer and buyer of Paul Hobbs wines. In fact, not only did I get to drink a few of his wines, but I had some time to chat with him for a few minutes and get a few pictures. We talked about the upcoming and highly anticipated outstanding 2007 vintage Napa Cabernet being extraordinary, some vinous and oenology small-talk about his wines, and the 2009 harvest in Bordeaux being the next blockbuster vintage (it already is being claimed as so, sorry early 2005 buyers). Paul is a really down to earth, friendly and matter of fact guy. From the few times we have chatted and those that know him and what they say about the man, I have no doubt of why he is such a success in his endeavors.

These tasting notes are from over two nights of wine tasting events. I rebuilt them from dribs and drabs I was able to jot down, put into my smart phone, and remember in my head.

2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard, Oakville, Napa Valley

This is the Flagship wine of the Paul Hobbs wine portfolio. The legendary To Kalon vineyard in Oakville spawns many great wines year in and year out and Paul has access to some of its best fruit. The Oakville Bench, the designated AVA the To Kalon Vineyard resides in, has some of the greatest Cabernet vineyards in the world beyond To Kalon. But none of them compare to the powerful and rich wines the To Kalon produces.

Color: Opaque center, almost black, ruby red edges.

Nose: Massive aromas of black currants, black cherry, cassis, earth & pencil lead.

Palate: Exquisitely precisioned. Rich and full bodied, but not overpowering. Long finish. Great acidity. Black currant, black cherry and cassis mingle with savory spice. A touch of oak adds more weight and texture as well as a touch of mocha toastiness. Firm, but ripe tannins.

2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

I have had every vintage if this wine going back to 2001. I almost had the 1999 and never saw the 2000 in the marketplace when I would have been looking. I do have the To Kalon 2000 at home and am thinking that one is on the “To Drink Soon” list. The “Napa Valley” bottling is a go to wine for me to recommend to wine drinkers looking for a solid, well made Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon that can be of great enjoyment now or stand to age a few years and show nicely upon maturity. I have turned on quite a few people to this wine over the years and not surprisingly they are repeat buyers vintages later. Whether a splurge or if you are lucky enough to buy $75 Napa Cabernet consistently, this needs to be seriously considered as a wine you buy not matter the vintage – I know I do.

Color: Vibrant; deep and dark red with garnet edges.

Nose: Black currants, crushed blackberry and pencil lead, toasty well integrated sweet oak.

Palate: Delicious blackberry, cassis, earthy and spicy oak flavors fan out over the palate. Ripe, but not over the top, the tannins frame the wines structure and finish. The acidity focuses the freshness of the flavors. Big, but ripe chewy tannins are pretty standard for the 2006 vintage but in this wine are balanced and give you a well made and balanced wine.

2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, Hyde Vineyard, Carneros, Napa Valley

I liked this probably the most of all the Cabernet wines I had all night, probably even best overall. The Hyde vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon had everything going for it: a wonderfully complex and rich nose and palate; great acidity and superb tannic structure to drink now or to lie down for at least 10 years.

Color: A deep reddish black hue, vibrant red edges. (The room was pretty dark for these next 3 wines, but I did my best)

Nose: Copious amounts of black currant, cherry, blackberry pie, and sweet toasty mocha and oak. I could not stop going back to this wine through the night. The nose alone was outstanding!

Palate: Rich and full bodied, but with a little more acidity than the To Kalon which is to be expected from the Hyde vineyard planted at the foot of the Napa Valley in Carneros. Ripe and fine grained tannins. Super-long finish.

2007 Pinot Noir, Hyde Vineyard, Carneros, Napa Valley

One of my favorite Pinot Noirs that Paul makes is his Hyde Vineyard Pinot Noir. I have had a few vintages and this one is no different in style. Made in a riper style, this is a bigger Pinot Noir but maintains a great balance with excellent acidity. Great aromatics and a full body are standard character for this wine.

Color: Dark garnet red with youthful garnet edges

Nose: Crushed black and red fruits, earthy tones, some spice and a touch herbal wonderful intense aromas jump from the glass.

Palate: Crushed black and bing cherry, blackberry, a touch of earth and spice, and a kiss of oak round out this well balanced, masculine Pinot Noir.

2007 Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, Sonoma

I really like this version of the RR Chardonnay. It’s a little different in style than the past bottlings I have had of Paul’s. This one seemed to have the same rich texture and acidity, but with more tropical flavors and aromas with an earthy counterbalance. Well done.

Color: Glimmering golden straw

Nose: Pear and some pineapple, minerality, fig, some white flowers and a touch creme fresh

Palate: Great mouth feel and lingering finish. Nothing is too over the top here. The oak is in check, acidity is not over-powering, and the fruit is fresh and focused. Lemons, subtle pineapple, a touch of cardamom and vanilla, pretty exotic of Paul Hobbs Chardonnay. The oak is there, but a compliment.

2001 Merlot, Michael Black Vineyard, Napa Valley

Thankfully I have one more of these left (and am considering acquiring a few more)! There is plenty of time left on this baby. It could be at or near its peak it’s so good right now! If you have any they are drinking great right now, but have plenty of time left. Easily another 3 years of good drinking by my estimates.

Color: Medium-Dark and lighter red hues at the edges, darker red center but by no means overly so. No brick colors.

Nose: Beautiful aromas of cherry, chocolate, a nice earthy minerality, some sweet tobacco - very pleasing. I can smell it from the other side of the kitchen counter.

Palate: Amazing purity and complexity, velvety smooth and sweet tannins and surprisingly noticeable acidity. Cherries and mocha throttle the palate's super long finish, sweet oak and earth battle for secondary flavor supremacy.

The acidity is key to this wine's success. It really is refreshing and focus’ the wine’s finish. Superb Merlot, Miles would be proud to drink this.

Life is short, the economy sucks, at least the Yankees won so drink up and keep raising those glasses!


Awesome news - I am almost set to have my first spotlight on another blog. The Hoboken Guy and I have been talking for about 3 months on teaming up on a wine blog entry on his blog "The Hoboken Guy". The blog entry will be on the basic steps on "How to taste a wine" (no, not gulping it thank you)! It's a great idea as most of his entries revolve around the tasty offerings the great city of Hoboken has to offer covering everything from brunch to late night eats. His blog is pretty widely read amongst the Hoboken set and is very exciting for me to get some new reader exposure! If you live in Hoboken or frequent Hoboken - check out his Blog here. We are in the works of finishing up the entry so keep an eye out for the "Hoboken Guy" shortly!

If this is delayed I am playing with the idea of a Thanksgiving wine blog, but honestly I am not sure of the point. People should drink whatever they like. Most great wines of the world will go with a Turkey. But maybe I will drop my .02!



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