Paul Hobbs is a boutique winery in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County, California. It was founded in 1991 by Paul Hobbs, who worked at Robert Mondavi, Opus One and Simi Winery in various winemaking capacities before starting his own winery. He also consulted in Argentina, and now makes Malbecs from Argentina with other business partners under the Vina Cobos label. Hobbs uses grapes from numerous vineyards under contract to his estate to make well-reviewed Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. His wines from the several Beckstoffer vineyards and the Hyde vineyard are particularly noteworthy. Robert M. Parker Jr. has called Hobbs “one of the great names in winemaking…(he makes) full-throttle, intense wines made with classical European methods.”
Carneros AVA, also known as Los Carneros, is at the southern end of the Napa and Sonoma Valleys at the top of the San Francisco Bay. The 8,000 vineyard acres are mostly planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, both of which thrive in the district’s cool, marine climate. Carneros became an AVA in 1983 and it has attracted foreign wine companies along with local producers. It has been especially appealing to European producers of sparkling wines including the giant Spanish cava producers Codorniu and Frexinet, and the French Champagne house Taittinger. Codorniu in Carneros is called Artesa, and Frexinet’s Carneros brand is Gloria Ferrer. Taittinger calls its Carneros winery Domaine Carneros. The European producers also make still wines in Carneros.
This red wine is relatively light and can pair with a wide variety of foods. The grape prefers cooler climates and the wine is most often associated with Burgundy, Champagne and the U.S. west coast. Regional differences make it nearly as fickle as it is flexible.