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Paul Hobbs has a colorful winemaking background. He studied pre-med at Notre Dame University but after joining a wine tasting club, switched to a career in winemaking. After studying at University of California, Davis, he rose to notoriety at Robert Mondavi, Simi and Opus One in the mid 1980s, subsequently made wine in Argentina (Catena), consulted for Peter Michael, Fisher, Lewis and Chalone, and was involved in a winemaking project in Hungary.
He started his namesake label in 1991. In 1998 he planted his estate vineyard, Lindsay Vineyard, located near Graton in the Russian River Valley and named it in honor of his father. The 14-acre Lindsay Vineyard is planted to three rootstocks and five clones of Pinot Noir. In 2003 he built a gravity-flow winery overlooking this vineyard.
In 2004, Hobbs was named "Most Important Winemaker in California" by Robert Parker, Jr.. He currently has fifteen winery clients he consults for in the United States (including Pinot Noir producers Chalone, Stewart Cellars, Guarachi Family and Walker Station), thirteen in Argentina, three in Chile, three in France, and one each in Canada, Uruguay and Armenia, and has been looking at Ensenada, Mexico and China. He launched Vina Cobos in Mendoza, Argentina in 1999, as one of the first to recognize the winemaking potential in this country.
The Paul Hobbs Pinot Noir lineup includes a Russian River Valley appellation blend, a Ulises Valdez Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, a Lindsay Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, and a Hyde Vineyard Carneros Pinot Noir. There is also small-lot, vineyard-designated Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. A second label, CrossBarn by Paul Hobbs offers appellation blends at lower prices. Both Paul Hobbs and CrossBarn wineries produce Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, and are located in Sebastopol for which fruit is grown in both Sonoma and Napa counties.
Paul Hobbs Winery produces about 15,000 cases per year. CrossBarn produces approximately 15,000 cases per year, and Vina Cabos imports approximately 30,000 cases per year to the United States through Paul Hobbs Imports. Paul Hobbs Imports also imports Alto Limay Pinot Noir from Pantagonia, Argentina. Named after the neighboring Limay River , Alto Limay draws snowmelt from the Andes Mountains to water the vineyards in the geographically semi-desert area. Sandy, rocky soils are situated on a foundation of limestone, resulting in thick-skinned Pinot Noir with aromatic depth and silky tannins.
The wines are sold primarily through a mailing list. Tours and tasting are available by appointment to mailing list members (707-824-9879x21).
2011 Paul Hobbs Russian River Valley Chardonnay
14.2% alc., · Light golden straw color in the glass. Aromas of lemon curd, honey, buttered popcorn and oak. Layers of flavors including lemon, white peach, poached apple, spice and caramel with a dry, lemony finish. Oak is used to an advantage. Very Russian River Valley in character. Not for mineral-driven Chardonnay aficionados, but rather fruit and oak forward Chardonnay lovers. I can appreciate the appeal of this style which is very popular. Very good. Reviewed May 5, 2013 ARTICLE »
2011 Crossbarn by Paul Hobbs Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
14.1% alc., 3,000 cases, $25, screw cap. · Light straw color in the glass. Fresh aromas of lemon, pear, banana peel, vanilla, roasted nuts and sea shells. Slightly creamy on the palate with appealing flavors of lemon pudding, peach skin, and tropical fruits with a slight nuttiness in the background. A solid wine with reasonable vibrancy and a smooth finish. Good. Reviewed October 26, 2012 ARTICLE »
2011 Crossbarn by Paul Hobbs Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., 4,000 cases, $35, screw cap. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Scents of darker berries, rhubarb and forest floor lead to flavors of black cherries, blackberries and a sidecar of herbs and oak. Nothing special, but enough richness to satisfy, and styled with soft tannins for easy drinking. Decent. Reviewed October 31, 2012 ARTICLE »
2011 Paul Hobbs Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., $50. Sourced from selected lots of fruit from Katherine Lindsay Estate, Bellflower, Fraenkle, Gap’s Crown, Ulises Valdez and Walker Station vineyards. Clones Beba, Calera, 115, 667 and 777. Yields 1.4 to 3.4 tons per acre. Indigenous fermentation, 2.5% whole cluster, aged 11 months in 45% new French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Black cherries and berries are featured on the nose and palate in a big, bold, dense style with notes of cola, oak, anise, dark chocolate and clove spice. Generous tannins support the concentrated fruit. Finishes with a fruit-driven flourish, leaving a hint of heat in its wake. A Schwarzenegger wine. Score: 86. Reviewed July 21, 2013 ARTICLE »
2011 Paul Hobbs Ulises Valdez Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay
14.3% alc., $72. Harvest Brix 24.2º. Barrel fermented with indigenous yeasts, aged 15 months in 67% new French oak barrels, aged sur lies with biweekly batonnage. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Opens nicely in the glass to reveal a perfume of buttery brioche, apple and lemon blossom. Well-crafted with inviting flavors of fresh apple, pear, lemongrass and honey, with just the right handle of nutty oak. Creamy on the palate with some finishing presence. Score: 90. Reviewed September 5, 2013 ARTICLE »
2011 Paul Hobbs Katherine Lindsay Estate Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., $80. Goldridge sandy clay loam. Harvest Brix 25.2º. Indigenous fermentation in stainless steel open-top fermenters. 5% whole cluster. Aged 15 months in 63% French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · Dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Lovely aromas of Bing cherries, dark berries and dark chocolate. Soft and smooth as a baby’s bottom, with good depth and richness of dark berry, cola and clove flavors, and finishing goodness. A ripe, juicy, and generous wine with modest tannins and a good tug of oak on the finish. Score: 92. Reviewed September 5, 2013 ARTICLE »
2009 Crossbarn by Paul Hobbs Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
14.7% alc., $35. A blend of vineyards. 14 day total maceration. Aged 12 months in 23% new French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate reddish-purple hue in the glass. Perfume of plum sauce, dark berry jam and seasoned oak. Veers to the riper fruit flavor spectrum with tastes of plum, blackberrry and ollaliberrry. Full-bodied, smoothly textured and endowed with a firm tannic structure. The fruit is quite luscious and will find many fans. Good (+). Reviewed February 22, 2012 ARTICLE »
2005 Paul Hobbs Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
A plush wine with a striking mid palate richness and a gorgeous peacock tail of spices, notably cinnamon, on a never ending finish. Reviewed March 5, 2007 ARTICLE »
2005 Paul Hobbs Lindsay Estate Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.8%, $85. The inaugural release from this estate vineyard by well-known winemaker Paul Hobbs. · Deep indigo in color. A brooding nose needs plenty of time to open up. Black cherry fruit and toasty oak are evident with coaxing and carry through to the finish which has an earthy bent. A big-boned wine packed with fruit trying to get out. Decant or cellar for a year or two. Reviewed November 12, 2007 ARTICLE »
2005 Paul Hobbs Lindsay Estate Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.8% alc., $85. · A plush wine with a striking mid-palate richness. Still backward with plenty of tannin at this point. Reviewed March 5, 2007 ARTICLE »
2004 Paul Hobbs Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.7% alc., $45. · Highly unusual perfumed nose, very floral with peculiar lacquer and medicine cabinet scents. Moderately weighted redder fruits veer toward raisin. Slippery tannins and a brisk, slightly citric finish. Tasted twice with similar results. Reviewed January 1, 2009 ARTICLE »