Monday, July 13, 2015

Summer Wine: Paul Hobbs Gets Pink With CrossBarn Rosé

Paul Hobbs' love of farm life, inspired by a childhood spent on his 150-year-old family farm in upstate New York, is the impetus behind the name of this label. The "cross barn" holds dear memories for him, and he keeps it alive in this line of CrossBarn wines.

Hobbs has been Winemaker of the Year, more than once, and has a hand not only in California wine but in Argentina as well. An article in Forbes called him the Steve Jobs of wine, for his attention to detail in turning grapes into something a lot more interesting.

Winemaker Greg Urmini certainly had to feel Hobbs' breath over his shoulder as he led his winemaking team through the 2014 vintage. This beautiful CrossBarn Rosé was crafted with Pinot Noir grapes harvested from the Sonoma Coast appellation. There was no malolactic fermentation, so the wine retains as much crisp freshness as possible. Four months aging took place with the spent yeast cells still in the juice, allowing for a full softness in the mouthfeel. Nearly all the wine was fermented in steel tanks, with only five percent in neutral oak. Alcohol is quite restrained at 12.5%, and the wine retails for only $18 per bottle.

The winery's website likens the rosé's color to Himalayan salt, but I find it a much richer hue. Bright salmon pink, the wine shows a summery nose of cherries, strawberries and a little orange peel. Great minerality joins the fresh, red fruit. Zippy acidity refreshes, and makes me want a Cobb salad. Of course I always want a Cobb salad. I'd take a nice chicken taco salad with it, too. A little hint of raspberry on the finish lends a tart side to an otherwise very ripe and fruity wine.

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