I first experienced Paul Hobbs Pinot Noir at The French Laundry in Yountville, CA (ie Napa Valley). For those of you who don’t know about TFL, it’s an amazing EXPERIENCE, much less a meal. Hell, Joe Montana held the door for us, as his family was entering the same time as ours. We ate there on our honeymoon, and we were WAY over our heads financially, culinary, and culturally.
That night, the Sommelier recommended Paul Hobbs, and we’ve never looked back.
The thing about Pinot Noir, as we all know, is how hard it is to do RIGHT. The French have it down, but you pay for it. There are plenty of $8-15 Pinots that you can get domestically, but you’re better off just not. It’s usually the equivalent of sugar-water.
The other end of the spectrum are the high-end California Pinots that I personally find fantastic…especially those from the Santa Lucia Highlands and Carneros. To me, there are 2 very distinguishing components of these wines – the penetrating noses, and the depth and viscosity that you don’t get in the inexpensive Pinots.
The 2007 Paul Hobbs Russian River Pinot Noir takes it to the next level. It’s most powerful in it’s structured understatedness (which I don’t think is an actual word). The nose is beautifully floral and cherried, but not piercing. In a way, you almost have to strain to get enough of the nose that you expect. It’s fantastic once you find it though.
The other distinguishing characteristic that I noticed was that it doesn’t fall off a cliff when it comes to tartness. Recently, even with the higher-end domestic Pinots that I’ve drank, I’ve found it difficult to get thru (my half) of the bottle. Towards the end, it just gets to be too much sourness. I’m probably just so pre-dispositioned to Cabernets & Syrahs that I’m just not used to it. I admit that. But it stood out to me that this Pinot didn’t do that. It was fantastically well balanced and enjoyable through-and-through.
I’ve got one bottle left, and it’s going to rest. 2007 is supposed to be the banner year for CA Pinots…so I can’t wait to see how this one benefits from a little bit.
- Deeper in color than most Pinots, it has less of a watered-down color. Rich & ruby.
- Floral nose, more strawberry than cherry, but a little of both.
- Lots of earthy goodness, coupled with a syrupy sweetness.
- Black cherries, subtle strawberries, and a subtle spiciness that carries through and through.
- Its in no rush to finish…its loooooong.
- This is a very gracious wine.
OFW = 93 pts.