Larry Hyde’s fruit is among the most coveted in California. Planting began in 1979, and today the vineyards cover 200 acres of dense clay-loam soil in Carneros’ rolling hills, which offer a diverse array of microclimates. Here, at the southernmost tip of Napa Valley, the climate is influenced by the cool air and fog that breezes in from San Pablo Bay. Since Paul Hobb’s inaugural 1991 vintage, the winery has sourced Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon from the vineyard. The yield was cropped for Hobbs at only 2.4 tons per acre in 2014 – needless to say, there’s not much to go around.
Hand-harvested fruit, picked at night when a chill hangs in the air, was hand-sorted while still cool from the field. Following a five-day cold soak, the wine was fermented with a small quantity of whole bunches in open-top stainless steel tanks by indigenous yeast. Spontaneous malolactic fermentation occurred after the wine was racked to barrels. The wine spent 11 months total in French oak (63% new) before it was bottled, unfined and unfiltered.
The 2014 growing season was the third in a string of outstanding growing seasons. What a run! Dry winter and spring conditions limited canopy vigour, and a warm summer without disruptive heat spikes resulted in steady, even ripening through to harvest. The resulting wines possess great site specificity and depth. Elegant and aromatic with dark fruit and violets on the nose, the palate is supple and earthy, giving way to ripe, juicy dark cherry, lavender, and herbal-spice. Polished tannins, clean minerality, and balanced acidity deliver structure and grace.
“The Pinot Noir Hyde Vineyard, a wine that can at times be a bit rustic, is anything but that in 2014. Creamy and voluptuous, the Hyde is also endowed with tremendous thrust. Dark red cherry jam, graphite, herbs, smoke, tar and licorice are all pushed forward. In the end, nothing really sticks out, rather it is the wine’s exceptional balance that is most impressive.“
95 points, Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, Feb 2016
“So much more strawberry and plum with some peach. Medium to full body, soft and velvety tannins and a fresh finish. Vivid. Drink or hold.”
94 points, JamesSuckling.com, May 2017
“As for the 2014 Pinot Noir Hyde Vineyard, this wine exhibits crisp acidity, notes of raspberry, cherry, forest floor, and dusty, loamy soil notes. It is elegant, medium to full-bodied, and just another beauty from Paul Hobbs to drink over the next 5-10 years.”
93 points, Robert Parker, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, March 2016
“Offering notable subtlety and finesse, this is understated throughout, with tender wild berry, cherry, light oak and spicy floral scents, all working to create a complete and enticing effort. Drink now through 2024.”
93 points, Wine Spectator, Feb 2017