Paul Hobbs Endless Summer of Wine on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show©


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Welcome to the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© this Sunday morning.  Paul Hobbs has been referred to as pioneer, trendsetter, trailblazer, and a prospector.  Originally from Upstate New York Paul grew up in a farming environment.  His first exposure to wine was a 1962 Château d’Yquem that his father brought home and poured into paper cups at the family dinner table.  This memorable wine filled the room with an unforgettable aroma and a never ending impression on Paul’s mind and palate.  His love and passion for wine began and in 1969 Paul convinced his father to replace trees in their apple orchard with grape vines.

Paul studied at Notre Dame with the intent of becoming a doctor.  His botany professor had been a former winemaker at Christian Brothers Winery in California and held weekly wine tasting seminars.  The rest was history, Paul’s focus shifted to winemaking.  His master’s program took Paul to UC Davis were he enrolled in the Master of Food Science program in the Department of Enology.

Paul’s thesis on Oak Extraction landed him a research job with Robert Mondavi Winery.  It was at the Mondavi Winery that his hands on wine production experience gained him a promotion as Enologist.  In 1981 Paul was named Head Enologist of Opus One.

In 1985 Paul moved to Simi Winery as Assistant Winemaker and it was here that his interest in other wine-regions around the world grew.  Chile and Argentina were two of the emerging new wine-regions that really intrigued him.  Paul’s recognition as a winemaker landed him consulting rolls with many other premium wineries in California.

In 1991 Paul decided to strike out on his own and founded Paul Hobbs Winery.  His mission was to produce small lot, hand-crafted, vineyard designate wines.  He started with three wines—one chardonnay, one pinot noir and one cabernet sauvignon.  He strove to produce wines that represented a sense of place and today he produces a dozen wines from new and historic vineyards.

Paul purchased 19 acres of land in 1998 located in the Russian River Valley.  He produces wine there that is recognized throughout the world as some of the very finest.  Paul Hobbs is one of the top winemakers in the world now and as a trailblazer he lives an Endless Summer of wine.  During our North American winter Paul travels to Argentina in the Mendoza wine-region to make wine at his property that he is a partner in, Viña Cobos Felino. 

Viña Cobos owners  Andrea Marchiori, Luis Barraud, and Paul Hobbs all whose winemaking backgrounds are steeped in Old World European winemaking tradition.  This team’s goal for Viña Cobos was to produce an unparalleled Malbec that exuded power and elegance.  In 1999 Viña Cobos released their first vintage of Malbec which received the highest score for any Argentinean wine.

The portfolio of wine has grown with continued accolades for the Viña Cobos partners.  This family of wine now includes three tiers which include Cobos, Bramare and Felino.  All three of these labels offer exceptional chardonnay, merlot, malbec and cabernet sauvignon.

Paul Hobbs has always been committed to crafting unfiltered and unfined wines and utilizing native yeasts in the fermenting process.  His commitment to winemaking technique results in exceptional wines that are well structured. Paul’s wines are a product of classic old world technique.

The Felino wines express great balance of pure, concentrated fruit that is lively with acidity and smooth, fine, tannins.  The Viña Cobos Felino label offers Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Chardonnay that is vibrant, lush, mouth-filling wine with beautiful texture that pairs exceptionally well with food.  Did I mention these wines sell for under $16.00.  These wines offer incredible value as many of Paul’s California wine offerings are far north of $100.00.

I recently tasted through a horizontal lineup, or wines from same vintage of 2009 Viña Cobos Felino starting with the chardonnay.  Visually this wine has beautiful straw color and the wine is not fined which allows sediment to be suspended in the glass.  This is not to say that the wine does not present elegant.  This chardonnay is produced utilizing the native yeast which forms on the grapes in the vineyard.  This allows the wine to truly deliver a real sense of the vineyard in which the grapes are grown.  On the nose this wine presents nice vegetal, herbaceous, caramel and earthy aromas.  My palate came alive with green apple, white pepper, straw, acid, citrus, and yeast.  Just delightful.  The finish is what I loved though as I found it to be one of the most unusual finishes I’ve experienced in a wine.  The finished lingered like that of a nice single malt Scotch, clean with a little heat from the white pepper.  A very nice wine indeed.

The 2009 Viña Cobos Felino Cabernet Sauvignon is 88% cabernet sauvignon, 8 % syrah, 4% petit verdot.  The grapes get a 3 to 4 day cold soak; 15 to 18 days total maceration and are fermented with selected and native yeasts.  This wine receives second native malolactic fermentation in barrel for 5 months and is then aged 9 months in American and French oak barrels, 20% of these are new oak.

This is a big, 14.5% alcohol,  yet very refined in a way that it has not been over manipulated.  A deep ruby hue paves the way for a nose that is ripe with aromas of saddle leather, subtle sweet tobacco, minerality, and earthiness. The palate is lush with a rich well rounded mouth-feel that is complex.  There is a great balance of dark fruit, black currant and boysenberry, mineral, sweet tobacco, and acid. This wine is both rich yet remains lively and well structured with perfect tannin.

2009 Felino Viña Cobos Malbec. This 100% malbec undergoes a 3 to 4 day cold soak with a 15 to 18 days total maceration.  There is secondary native malolactic fermentation in the barrel taking 4 months to complete.  Visually this 2009 Malbec presents a beautiful crimson color in the glass.  The nose of this South American beauty is ripe with red raspberry, anise, with a slight nuance of cocoa, a wonderful aroma.  The palate delivers a rich spicy mouth-feel that reveals fruit, a hint of caramel and mineral.  This malbec has a nice round balance with sturdy structure.  This wine is supple, smooth with refined tannin that makes this a great wine to drink and pair with food.  A long finish from this wine that you don’t want to end.

The wines reviewed today all receive the WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval™

"from my table to yours"

"from my table to yours"

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