Friday, December 12, 2014

Paul Hobbs' Big, Fat California Pinot Noir

This Pinot Noir is huge.  Remember how they used to say "big, fat California Chardonnay?"  That was back before they became "lean, steely California Chardonnays."  Is California Pinot Noir taking possession of that big, fat monicker - since Chardonnay isn't using it anymore?

The Paul Hobbs 2012 Pinot Noir is a cuvée of five different soils, six different clones and seven different Russian River Valley vineyards.

Fermented in steel tanks, the wine aged for eleven months in small French oak barrels, just under half of which were new - meaning you get a "big" end result from them.  That's where the spontaneous malolactic fermentation occurred, which gives the wine a leg up when it comes to feeling big in the mouth.  Three percent of the grapes were pressed whole cluster, adding an herbal touch to the proceedings.

First of all, it's extremely dark wine.  Up to the light, I can't see my fingers on the other side of the glass.  Isn't Pinot Noir supposed to look a little on the thin side?  Taking a whiff, I think I'm smelling six Pinots at once.  The aromas are there - tart raspberry, black tea, coffee - but they are super-concentrated.  Flavor, it's got, too - and plenty of it.  Red currant, black raspberry, spice and an earthy streak that's made to pair with mushrooms.  It goes great with roasted potatoes and carrots, too.

This Pinot Noir is huge, so if you are looking to be finessed, keep looking.  If you like your wine on the "blunt force trauma" end of the spectrum, however, here ya go.  It does get darker and tamer sipping it over three nights, but does not lose a bit of its massive character.  Enjoy it with whatever meat will be straining the supports of your holiday table, roasted root vegetables and a handful of cashews.  Happy Holidays.

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