Paul Hobbs without Paul Hobbs? Let’s talk a bit about Paul. He is one of the most celebrated Napa winemakers alive today: he worked for Mondavi and was on the team that created Opus One in the ’80s. He went on to found Paul Hobbs Winery in 1991 and started knocking out iconic Cabernets every vintage. He was a Napa legend, and then he started looking to expand into Argentine, long before anyone else had heard of its Malbec.
In 1999, Mr. Hobbs joined up with Andrea Marchiori and Luis Barraud to found Vina Cobos in Argentina. Since then, Paul and his partners have been crafting insanely good Cabernet and Bordeaux blends. At price points north of $40, these are some of the most expensive wines coming out of South America, but they are worth it.
The bottle I am reviewing today is a side project of his Argentine winemaking partners, Marchiori and Barraud. The grapes were sourced from a 50-year-old vineyard in Perdriel in Lujan de Cuyo. Fermented with native yeasts and barrel-aged for 12 months in second-year French barrels. This is a wine with a serious pedigree. This is Paul Hobbs without paying for Paul Hobbs.
Varietal aromas of pencil shavings and cigar boxes are predominant on the nose. A touch of burnt tobacco and fresh eucalyptus are present, as well. On the palate, it is dense and opulent. The tannins are huge but melting, very approachable. Savory dark fruit is backed up with toasted fennel, marjoram, and another layer of eucalyptus. The finish is dense with black pepper and cassis.