An Artist Who Works In Grapes

By Robert Parker

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Paul Hobbs, one of California's leading winemakers, offers full-bodied, intensely concentrated wines, in part because he bottles them without filtration or fining, processes commonly used to remove sediment that can also remove flavor. Hobbs started his career as a wine consultant 20 years ago in Argentina, where he still produces wines under the Los Cobos and Marchiori labels. Here are some of my favorite Paul Hobbs wines:

Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2003

89 points.

From a challenging vintage, shows a deep ruby/purple-tinged color, elegant plum, cherry, and anise notes, medium body, and a lusty, heady finish. Drink in three to four years. $40

Chardonnay Russian River Valley 2004

90 points.

Offers up notions of citrus oil and white peaches in a medium-bodied, elegant, refreshing style with great fruit as well as subtle wood. Enjoy it over the next two to three years. $40

Chardonnay Richard Dinner Vineyard 2003

94 points.

Hints of orange marmalade, crushed rocks, honeyed apple skins, and pineapples along with a huge texture, full body, and good underlying acidity. $55

Chardonnay Ulises Valdez Vineyard 2004

95 points.

Boasts a wonderful leesy/brioche character intermixed with honeysuckle, orange rind, tangerine, and hazelnut. With great fruit, full body, superb intensity and concentration, it should drink well for five to six years. $55

Merlot Michael Black Vineyard 2003

93 points.

The final vintage for this wine. Shows off a dense purple color plus a sweet perfume of espresso, white chocolate, black cherries, and figs. With tremendous opulence, density, and a long, lush finish, it will provide plenty of pleasure anytime over the next decade. $65

Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2003

93 points.

A dark ruby/purple-colored, full-bodied, impressively endowed effort offering up notes of charcoal, smoke, crème de cassis, and toasty oak. A wealth of glycerin, concentration, and fruit suggest it will provide ideal drinking now and over the next 10 to 15 years. $65

Bramare Marchiori Vineyard 2003

93 points.

This sensational malbec, from Hobbs's Argentine winery, offers jammy blackberry notes, a touch of smoky oak, and a full-bodied, velvety texture. $85

Cabernet Sauvignon Dr. Crane Vineyard 2003

95 points.

This 100% cabernet sauvignon boasts tremendous fruit and ripeness along with hints of graphite, espresso roast, blackberries, crème de cassis, and spice. This rich, concentrated, prodigious effort should be enjoyed between 2008 and 2020+. $100

Wines rated from 96-100 are extraordinary; 90-95, excellent; 80-89, above average to very good.

To find Paul Hobbs wines, call 707 824-9879 or send an e-mail to

Visit for the Internet's most active wine bulletin board, tens of thousands of tasting notes, or to order his recent book, The World's Greatest Wine Estates: A Modern Perspective. You can also subscribe to Parker's newsletter, The Wine Advocate. Request a sample copy at: The Wine Advocate, P.O. Box 311, Monkton, MD 21111

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