2018 Paul Hobbs Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard
Robert Parker | 98 RP
Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 98 RP
The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard is such a gorgeous and highly representative wine off this site. Crushed rocks, graphite, menthol, crème de cassis and spice are so typical of this site. At this stage, the Piedras does not have the sheer appeal or immediacy of the Crane, but then again, that is Piedras. All of this fruit is Clone 4, which in this rugged site yields very small berries with plenty of concentration. And that is exactly what comes through in this majestic Cabernet.
Vinous Media | 96 VM
A juicy, round-textured red with plum and berry character, as well chocolate and spice. Wet rock, too. It’s full-bodied and layered with pretty fruit and a long, flavorful finish. Extremely polished and poised. A little tight at the finish. Drink after 2023, but already very attractive.
James Suckling | 96 JS
Ripe and vivid, with a lovely display of cassis, plum and anise flavors driving through nicely, while violet and graphite accents add range and length. A light bramble accent underscores it all, adding good energy. A really strong showing. Best from 2022 through 2036. 396 cases made.
Wine Spectator | 95 WS
Wine Details for 2018 Paul Hobbs Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard
|Type of Wine
: Whether it's Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah or Zinfandel, Californian red wine producers have a lovely habit of taking a varietal and expressing its essence in a unique, never before seen way. From Napa Valley to the regions south of Los Angeles, there's a red for everyone - and it's never too late to start exploring.
: It is recognized worldwide, referred to as “king of grapes” and has easily become the most popular grape variety in the world. Cabernet Sauvignon has seemingly taken the world by storm. It has seen exponential growth and popularity in American and around the world over the past thirty years. The phrase “Cabernet is king,” is a common maxim in the world of wine. Cabernet Sauvignon wine has become so popular that when being referred to can be recognized by simple slang, such as “Cab” or “Cabernet. It might appear simple, straightforward and easily understood; yet, interestingly remains an enigma, which has both baffled and excited oenologists since its discovery.
The exact origin and circumstances of this world-altering event are still enigmatic; however, at the end of the 20th century, UC Davis Scientists (John Bowers and Carole Meredith) were able to solve part of the mystery using DNA fingerprinting technology that proved Cabernet Sauvignon to be the offspring of a surprising spontaneous crossing of Bordeaux varietals, Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. By the 18th century there were already records of Cabernet Sauvignon being well-established on the west side of the Gironde Estuary (Left Bank) in the Medoc and Graves.
Although tremendously popular in California and what seems to have become the identity of Napa Valley winemaking, Cabernet Sauvignon’s birth took place in the Bordeaux region of southwest France by fortuitous unification. Whereas Napa Valley experienced a winemaking renaissance during the 1970’s and 1980s (greatly due to the 1976 Judgement of Paris) quality wine from the Cabernet Sauvignon grape has been produced in the Medoc, on the Left Bank of Bordeaux for over 400 years.
Cabernet Sauvignon’s first recorded plantings in California can be traced back to the 1850’s when Antoine Delmas, a French nurseryman, brought French vines (including one called ‘Cabrunet’) to the Santa Clara Valley. Early cultivation suffered due to obscurity of the varietal and improper planting in inhospitable soil. It wasn’t until pioneers such as Robert Mondavi, Randy Dunn and Warren Winiarski with their amazing foresight and understanding of terroir, would the grape variety finally find its niche in California winemaking.
Cabernet Sauvignon thrives in warm climates moderated by a cooling marine influence. It is perfectly attuned to gravel-based soils with good drainage. Whether on flat land or a hillside, the Cabernet Sauvignon grape flourishes in proper climates and terroir, producing incredible yields. The thick grapevine is extremely vigorous allowing it to exploit its natural host. Its distinctive small, black berries (reminiscent of blueberries) adhere firmly to the stalk and are capable of a very long “hang time.” These berries are extremely concentrated, producing intensely flavored fruit. The thick skins of the grape are characterized as having highly astringent flavor, high tannin, acidity and dark color. Coincidentally, the variety has a special affinity for oak, which helps soften the bitterness.
Today, the Noble Bordeaux varietal of Cabernet Sauvignon is planted on 340,000 hectares (741,300 acres) of vineyards across the earth’s surface. From Sicily to Sonoma, Chile to Bordeaux, South Africa to Napa. It has found symbiosis in terroir hotspots that mimic that of the Medoc and Napa Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon’s globetrotting has allowed the grape variety to take root all over the world, captivating its inhabitants and influencing winemaking. This serendipitous marriage between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc centuries ago, which offered to the world its progeny, has changed the landscape of winegrowing, winemaking and the face of the entire wine market forever. It has influenced blending, changed civilization and has cultivated a place for itself in today’s world… the very pinnacle.
: As one of the most prolific and innovative wine regions in the world, America is a joy to explore. Most wine connoisseurs will agree that the nation's finest and most compelling wines are being produced today, which means that we have front-row seats to one of the most inspirational stories in wine history. While other regions tend to focus on specific wine styles and have somewhat strict rules as to which varietals you could grow, areas like California have few such restrictions in place. As a result, creative visionaries behind America's most reputable estates have been able to develop compelling, unique, and innovative styles, with a level of terroir expression that rivals even France's largest giants.
: With a history of wine production that dates back to the 18th century, California currently sits as one of the world's most prolific and reputable wine regions. With an area as vast as California, you can expect a colorful collage of terroir profiles, a series of microclimates, and micro-environments that give the wine a unique, memorable appeal. The region's produce is far from homogenized in that sense, and it would take you countless hours to sample all of it. While the region boasts scars from the Prohibition era, it went through what can only be described as a viticultural Renaissance sometime after the 1960s. At that point, California went from a port-style, sweet wine region to a versatile and compelling competitor on the world market. Today, no matter which way your taste in wine leans, you can find a new favorite producer among California's most talented.
Notable sub-regions include legendary names like Napa Valley and Sonoma County, places that any wine lover would die to visit. California's quintessential warm climate allows for incredibly ripe fruit expressions, a style that provides a stark contrast to Old World-inspired, earthy classics. Even where inspiration was clearly taken from staple French appellations, Californian winemakers put their own unique spin on the wine.
|Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard
: Growing up on a family farm in upstate New York, Paul Hobbs learned the discipline of working the land by planting, harvesting crops, and selling them to nearby farmers’ markets. He experienced first-hand the influence of terroir on the character of fruit. His father would challenge him by tasting a variety from different orchards that were only miles apart so he could understand the importance of terroir. The diversity of flavors and textures made an impression on him, filling him with inspiration that would persist throughout his many winemaking endeavors. This discipline and knowledge instilled in Hobbs helped to achieve his father’s lifelong desire to transform the family farm from apples, nuts and peaches to wine grapes, and ultimately would influence his approach on his own winemaking.
Hobbs has an impressive resume of consulting for multiple well-known producers in diverse locations around the world. With his advanced understanding of oak aging, he was hired by Robert Mondavi, then moved on to the Opus One winemaking team. He would continue his consulting for Peter Michael and Lewis Cellars in California, Bodega Catena in Argentina and also spent time working with Henri Jayer in Burgundy, where he developed a desire to implement a Burgundian approach in California soil.
It was while working at Catena where he finally found the inspiration to form his own winery. He had an impressive understanding of terroir, the diversity of grapes and how the land, climate and meticulous human effort could create tremendous wines. His vision 30 years ago to craft vineyard designate wines from the most compelling sites in California came to fruition in 1991. After speaking with Larry Hyde in Napa and Richard Dinner in Sonoma, convincing them to sell some of their grapes, Hobbs was able to debut the fruits of his labor.
Today, Hobbs makes about eleven vineyard-designate wines each year from multiple locations in Napa, Sonoma, Russian River Valley and various others. He cultivates Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah from Carneros and Sonoma County, and Cabernet from Napa. Hobbs believes that the true character of a site is only revealed through the work and determination of tending each vineyard with meticulous care and vinifying with minimalist winemaking techniques that fully express the terroir. The result is a portfolio full of bright, fresh fruit wines with supple tannins, and age-ability.
Through true determination and the innate comprehension of great terroir, Hobbs has fulfilled his vision of creating a brand that devotes itself to expressing the individual personality of each variety planted. Hobbs has achieved greatness and has elevated his winery to the top tier of California producers, and in 2004 was named “Most Important Winemaker in California,” by Robert Parker Jr. The winery produces 15,000 cases annually, which have become some of the most sought after wines in America. Paul Hobbs turned a childhood passion into a profession to which he excels at the highest level.