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Paul Hobbs Russian River Chardonnay 2016
Pale straw with a chlorphyllic tint, the 2016 Russian River Valley Chardonnay displays a lovely pearlescence in the glass. Arresting aromatics of Asian pear, white florals, and tangerine peel leap dramatically from the glass. Dynamic flavors of Ginger Gold apple, zesty lemon pie, brioche, and ginger spice emerge harmonious from a palate—round and supple in texture—with energetic acidity, elegance, and very long length. Try paired with Gruyère gougères, or scallops of almost any preparation. Serve at 45°-50° F.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
A creamy white with some mangoes and sliced lemons. Medium body, a round and soft texture and hints of lemon rind.
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 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.