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CrossBarn by Paul Hobbs Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2013
As a winemaker, Paul is highly regarded for his ability to identify exceptional vineyards, and for his pioneering spirit in working innovatively with new and historical sites and regions. His success has inspired a wealth of nicknames among the press, from quiet trendsetter to prospector to truffle-hunting dog. Initially hired by Robert Mondavi for his advanced understanding of oak aging, he was soon promoted to the inaugural Opus One winemaking team. Following his Mondavi experience Paul joined Simi Winery as Winemaker before going on to consult for Peter Michael, Fisher Vineyards, Lewis Cellars, Bodegas Catena and others. Having founded Paul Hobbs Winery in 1991 and Vina Cobos in 1999, he continues to be a leading consultant winemaker around the globe.
CrossBarn began as just one small lot of Cabernet Sauvignon from the 2000 vintage but its popularity has inspired the introduction of chardonnay and pinot noir, to make a family of three. With CrossBarn, Paul ventures beyond the vineyards sourced for Paul Hobbs wines while holding to his ideals of sustainable vineyard practices and gentle winemaking techniques, to bring you wines of stunning quality and exceptional value.
Home to a diverse array of smaller AVAs with varied microclimates and soil types, Sonoma County has something for every wine lover. Physically twice as large as Napa Valley, the region only produces about half the amount of wine but boasts both tremendous quality and variety. With its laid-back atmosphere and down-to-earth attitude, the wineries of Sonoma are appreciated by wine tourists for their friendliness and approachability. The entire county intends to become a 100% sustainable winegrowing region by 2019.
Grape varieties are carefully selected to reflect the best attributes of their sites—Dry Creek Valley’s consistent sunshine is ideal for Zinfandel, while the warm Alexander Valley is responsible for rich, voluptuous Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are important throughout the county, most notably in the cooler AVAs of Russian River, Sonoma Coast and Carneros. Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah have also found a firm footing here.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While practically every country in the wine producing world grows it, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. As far as cellar potential, white Burgundy rivals the world’s other age-worthy whites like Riesling or botrytized Semillon. California is Chardonnay’s second most important home, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia and South America are also significant producers of Chardonnay.
In the Glass
When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay flavors tend towards grapefruit, lemon zest, green apple, celery leaf and wet flint, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of melon, peach and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut and spice, while malolactic fermentation imparts a soft and creamy texture.
Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with flaky white fish with herbs, scallops, turkey breast and soft cheeses. Richer Chardonnays marry well with lobster, crab, salmon, roasted chicken and creamy sauces.
Since the 1990s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. In Burgundy, the subregion of Chablis, while typically employing the use of older oak barrels, produces a similar bright and acid-driven style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy its lighter style.