Paul Hobbs Ellen Lane Estate Chardonnay 2018
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
More tart citrus, caramelized pineapple, white flowers, and Meyer lemon notes emerge from the 2018 Chardonnay Ellen Lane Estate, another flawlessly balanced Chardonnay from Hobbs. Medium to full-bodied, with terrific acidity yet also terrific concentration, it’s drinking spot on already, with the more flattering, charming style of the 2018 vintage, yet is going to evolve for 5-7 years with no problems.
Barrel Sample: 93-95
The 2018 Chardonnay Ellen Lane Estate is creamy, open-knit and sensual, with no hard edges and impeccable balance. Apricot and lemon confit give the Ellen Lane inner sweetness and perfume to match its gracious, mid-weight personality. This is very nicely done. Drinking window: 2020 - 2026.
Deep and youthful, yet already inviting and not at all held back in rich fruit and gorgeous creamy oak on the nose, Mr. Hobbs’s Ellen Lane Chardonnay verges on opulence without going to extremes. It is as exuberant as it is concentrated and far-ranging in character with a great sense of stamina and a terrifically sustained finish that refuses to quit, and the only problem it poses is that waiting for the three or four years needed for it to grow into its very considerable best is likely to test the will power of even the most patient collectors of top shelf Chardonnays.
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.