Paul Hobbs has rapidly rose to prominence as one of the It Winemakers of California, perhaps because he appears to be so very versatile, producing winning bottlings across a range of styles and price points. Today we look at one of his flagship pinot noirs and a new cabernet released under his (slihtly) more affordable Crossbarn brand. Both are from the (current release) 2019 vintage.
2019 Paul Hobbs Pinot Noir Goldrock Estate – An intense Sonoma Coast pinot, filled with notes of graphite and minerally slate, informing a subdued core of plum and blackberry. This pinot threads the needle just about perfectly, never becoming overly fruit-heavy — or really even fruit-focused at all — and avoiding the common, modern trap of falling into a beefy, umami-heavy funk. Ample acidity keeps the wine perked up and alive, touched just so with raspberry and cherry as it develops in glass. Best at cellar temperature but incredibly versatile — I enjoyed it greatly as an aperitif and just as much with a hearty Caribbean pork shoulder. A / $80
2019 Crossbarn Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley – 81% cabernet sauvignon, 12% merlot, 7% cabernet franc. Quite a bit softer than your typical Napa cabernet, with quieter notes of ripe plum and maraschino cherry, the wine lacks the heavy tannins found in most Napa cabs, leaning more forcefully into fruit, then moderated barrel notes — some vanilla, then a moderated spice-driven quality. A more forceful blackberry quality, tempered with violets, gives the finish a even more of a summery, fruit-driven lift. Somewhat unexpected, but solid all around. A- / $50