Paul Hobbs’s Russian River Chardonnay brings together fruit from some of the area’s most prestigious vineyards, vineyards planted in the valley’s unique weathered sandstone soil. Highlighting the best characteristics of the region, this Chardonnay is a real beauty in the glass: pearlescent pale straw, with lifted aromas of citrus, chamomile tea, and a whole meadow of yellow flowers. The richly-textured palate is layered with white fruit and brioche, and the long finish closes with a hint of minerality.
Relative to the preceding three years, the 2016 growing season was notably cooler, with lower than average daytime highs and colder nights. Though harvest commenced a week earlier than typical, the weather remained stable throughout the ripening phase with no significant heat spikes. The result was balanced fruit of optimal quality and a short harvest period, concluding within a two to three-week timeline.
Harvested at night in early September, when fruit is cool and flavours are fresh, grapes were whole-cluster pressed while still cold from the field. Following a long, slow barrel ferment and complete, spontaneous malolactic ferment by indigenous yeast, the wine matured 12 months in French oak (50% new) and four months in stainless steel. Fine lees were stirred bi-weekly, introducing rich texture and beautiful bakery aromatics. The finished wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered.
“The 2016 Chardonnay features a wonderfully spicey nose of nutmeg, ginger ale and coriander seed with a core of Bosc pears, ripe nectarines and applesauce. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has fantastic freshness with a zippy acid line lifting all those fantastic spices to a good long finish. 5,390 cases were made. 2018-2025.”
92 points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, June 2018