Paul Hobbs Edward James Chardonnay 2017
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The 2017 Chardonnay Edward James Estate is another Russian River release that has a vivid medium gold color as well as exotic notes of honeyed citrus, pineapple, white flowers, and some salty minerality. It's pure, medium to full-bodied, has a seamless texture, and a great finish. The oak is nicely integrated, and given the overall balance here, it's going to evolve nicely for 7-8 years at a minimum.
While fully evocative of the undisguised oaky richness and fruity depth that we expect from Chardonnays of its maker, this enveloping, downright luxurious rendition is admittedly long on hard-to-resist present appeal, yet, while hardly retiring, it comes with a sense of reserve and not-yet-fully-realized potential that makes a persuasive case for setting it aside for at least a couple of years. It proves that succulence and structure are far from mutually exclusive, and, as good as it is in its youth, it will only get better with time.
A dense and oily white with sliced apples, pears and cooked pineapple. Tight, linear and fresh. Beautiful. Polished and sassy. Drink now.
Paul Hobbs has built his winery's portfolio from the ground up on a foundation of strong, collaborative relationships with the growers of some of Napa's and Sonoma's most compelling and historical properties. Meticulous vineyard management followed by minimally-invasive winemaking techniques is Paul Hobbs approach for producing wines that express their vineyard origins with utmost finesse, complexity and authenticity; in other words, wines with a sense of place. As a winemaker, Paul is highly regarded for his ability to identify exceptional vineyards along with his pioneering, innovative work with new and historical sites and regions. His success has inspired a wealth of nicknames among the press, from quiet trendsetter to truffle-hunting dog. He founded Paul Hobbs Winery in 1991, Vina Cobos in 1999 and is a leading consultant winemaker around the globe.
A standout region for its decidedly Californian take on Burgundian varieties, the Russian River Valley is named for the eponymous river that flows through it. While there are warm pockets of the AVA, it is mostly a cool-climate growing region thanks to breezes and fog from the nearby Pacific Ocean.
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir reign supreme in Russian River, with the best examples demonstrating a unique combination of richness and restraint. The cool weather makes Russian River an ideal AVA for sparkling wine production, utilizing the aforementioned varieties. Zinfandel also performs exceptionally well here. Within the Russian River Valley lie the smaller appellations of Chalk Hill and Green Valley. The former, farther from the ocean, is relatively warm, with a focus on red and white Bordeaux varieties. The latter is the coolest, foggiest parcel of the Russian River Valley and is responsible for outstanding Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
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 it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.