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2020 Paul Hobbs Chardonnay Russian River Valley

2020 Paul Hobbs Chardonnay Russian River Valley

93 JD

From the critics:

93-95 RP

93 WS

91 AG

Featured Review
The 2020 Chardonnay Russian River Valley is sunny with golden pineapple, Meyer lemon, and wet stone. It has a delicately rounded feel on the palate without being weighted down, with fresh pear, orange pith, and green almond. Classic and elegantly expressive of the Russian River Valley, drink it over the next 6 years. Jeb Dunnuck

Jeb Dunnuck | 93 JD

Critic Reviews

A barrel sample, the 2020 Chardonnay is scented of baked apples and touches of almonds, flint and mushrooms, with those wafts of reduction still taking center stage at this point in time. The palate is medium-bodied, deeply fruited and pleasingly textural, finishing long and spicy.

Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 93-95 RP
The 2020 Chardonnay Russian River Valley is sunny with golden pineapple, Meyer lemon, and wet stone. It has a delicately rounded feel on the palate without being weighted down, with fresh pear, orange pith, and green almond. Classic and elegantly expressive of the Russian River Valley, drink it over the next 6 years.

Jeb Dunnuck | 93 JD
Starts off subtle and taut, with crunchy citrus and pear flavors, flinty minerality and peppery white flower aromatics. Gains momentum and torque on the long finish, expanding into lemon zest and more mineral-driven nuances. Drink now through 2035. 4,500 cases made.

Wine Spectator | 93 WS
The 2020 Chardonnay (Russian River Valley) is a very pretty, elegant wine. Soft and silky, with gentle contours, the 2020 is a real pleasure to taste. Lemon confit, chamomile, dried flowers, mint and light pastry notes open effortlessly. This mid-weight, creamy Chardonnay is an absolute delight.

Antonio Galloni | 91 AG

Wine Details for 2020 Paul Hobbs Chardonnay Russian River Valley

Type of Wine California White : If you're in the mood for a creative, compelling white wine, few regions can compete with California, and it's immense varietal diversity. With the pure, potent essence of grapes such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Pinot Gris, these wines will stimulate your senses and arouse your intellect. Give in, and enjoy.
Varietal Chardonnay : Chardonnay has carved its path towards the title “king of white grapes” in subtle yet striking fashion, playing instrumental roles throughout the course of history. It was the chosen grape variety which celebrated the inception of the very first Champagne house - Ruinart, which insists “Chardonnay is the golden thread that runs through the Ruinart taste. “ “Remember men, it’s not just France we’re fighting for, it’s Champagne,” Winston Churchill. The infamous and celebrated French author, Alexandre Dumas once declared a high quality chardonnay wine from Le Montrachet was one that is only appropriate to sip “on bended knees, with head bowed.” And of course, history was made once again when a bottle of 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay was awarded first prize in the famous tasting of the “1976 Judgement of Paris,” changing the world’s view on California Chardonnay, inspiring vintners and altering the landscape of California winemaking forever.

The origin of the Chardonnay grape can be traced back to the small village of Macon in the Burgundy appellation of France. The varietal, whose name means “a place of thistles” in Latin, is the offspring of Pinot Noir and Gouais Blanc. Like most prominent grape varietals, the exact circumstances of its inception are unknown; however, it is interesting to note that Gouais Blanc originated in Germany. It is speculated that the ancient Romans, who successfully subdued the Germanic tribes in 6 AD, planted Gouais Blanc in French soil, unwittingly prompting the crossbreeding of the two varietals. If this is the case, the history of the Chardonnay grape goes back much further.

The Noble Chardonnay grape variety is most happy in the winegrowing appellation of Burgundy, its home and birth place. Burgundy’s grand Terroir of marl limestone soils and cool climate allows the Chardonnay grape to express itself to its full zenith. Interestingly, the varietal is extremely flexible and can adapt to a wide diversity of soils, allowing the terroir in which it grows to dictate the qualities of the grape and thus revealing a multitude of personalities. For instance, there are subtle yet distinguishing differences in terroir in the Burgundian villages of Puligny-Montrachet, Chablis, Meursault, Corton Charlemagne, Macon, etc. which are all fashioned in their own unique way. The difference in each Climat or Lieu-dit, such as Le Montrachet (Puligny-Montrachet) and Valmur (Chablis) can take one further down the proverbial “rabbit-hole” and into the wonderful, yet complex world of Burgundy wines. However, Burgundy is but one prime growing location for this tremendously adaptable grape variety.

The spread of Chardonnay would eventually take root in Champagne, where it excelled in the region’s cool climate and chalky, sub-soils. For top Champagne producers, it became the main ingredient in their high quality, high profile Blanc de Blancs. It would also begin to be blended with the two other acceptable varietals of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier (red skinned grapes). The chardonnay grape is now planted in 10,000 of the 34,000 hectares of Champagne.

Chardonnay would find its way to California in the late 1800’s but would remain obscure for more than a century due to ignorance of the varietal and lack of knowledge on how to marry it with appropriate terroir. Things changed in the 1970’s when Chardonnay saw a resurgence world-wide, mostly due to the 1976 Judgement of Paris. The unthinkable happened when a bottle of 1973 Chateau Montelena bested some of Burgundy’s finest chardonnay offerings from Batard-Montrachet and Meursault. This event helped place California on the map, changing the face of California winemaking forever. It rejuvenated the cultivation of the Chardonnay grape variety, which saw an exponential growth world-wide.
Much like the climats of Burgundy which have their own unique terroir, Chardonnay’s adaptability has found a home in the diverse appellations, terroirs and climates of California. The cool climate locations produce crisp wines with Burgundian nuances, while warmer climates produce wines with opulent, ripe fruit reminiscent of pineapple, mango and papaya. Terroir also dictates the personality, steel and concrete tanks versus oak, and the list goes. From buttery, oak-infused heady wines to crisp, refreshing cool climate fashioned Chardonnays, the grape variety can be extremely modified. There are not enough letters in Microsoft Word to demonstrate all the different nuances, qualities, differences of terroir, climate and winemaking techniques that would encompass in full, the details of the Chardonnay grape.

The well-travelled grape varietal of Chardonnay has become the fascination of consumers around the world, becoming the most written about of all grapes. Today, it is planted in over 40 countries, amassing an impressive 211,000 hectares (500,000 acres) across the globe. From Burgundy to Champagne, Napa to Sonoma, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, Chardonnay graces vineyards around the world, captivating its audience with its multiple personalities. “So powerful is the ‘C-word’ on a wine label,” as the famed Jancis Robinson exclaimed. Since its discovery in Macon, this C-word has become a dominant force in the world of wine, changing history, winemaking and the understanding of winegrowing and its powerful attributes to a single varietal.

Country US : 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.
Region California : 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.
Subregion Russian River Valley

Overview

Producer Paul Hobbs : 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.

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