2014 Paul Hobbs "Ulises Valdez Vineyard" Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

SKU #1254699 95-97 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The three most limited cuvées of Pinot Noir in 2014 include the 2014 Pinot Noir Ulises Valdez, which has a dense purple color (looking more like Cabernet than Pinot), a terrific nose of rose petals, blueberries and black raspberries, an opulent, even sumptuous texture, and a full-bodied finish. This is a sensational Pinot to drink over the next 10-15 years. Paul Hobbs has emerged as one of the great success stories in Northern California. He’s an international consultant known for his outstanding work in Argentina. He is also now involved in a joint venture in the Finger Lakes region of New York, so hopefully we can anticipate some interesting Rieslings and possibly Grüner Veltliner, Pinot Blanc and even Gewurztraminer emerging from New York State. I had an extensive tasting with Hobbs at his winery in late January, and the results were all impressive. The tastings reflect the fact that, for Chardonnay, both 2013 and 2014 are brilliant vintages, and for Pinot Noir, 2014 may possibly eclipse 2013. As for the Bordeaux varietals, there’s no question that 2013 is the game-changer, as I indicated in previous reports, but 2014 is delicious and another top-notch success. (RP)  (3/2016)

91-94 points Vinous

 The 2014 Pinot Noir Ulises Valdez Vineyard possesses notable purity and depth, but it also comes across as a bit raw and not fully formed. There is plenty to admire in the wine's explosive energy. It will be interesting to see if the new oak and overall impression of elevated ripeness mellow out a bit over time. Paul Hobbs describes 2013 as a consistently warm, dry year but without excesses. I remember stopping by in January of that year, and being quite surprised when Hobbs told me he was likely to start irrigating imminently, which is highlyunusual. Then again, the drought was already causing stress in the vineyards. Overall, the 2014s have a touch more natural acidity and as well as more overall brightness and tension. New oak is up in the 2014s, but most wines appear to have the underlying material to support the oak and what is projected to be longer time in barrel. Most importantly, the 2014s show greater delineation of site than the 2013s. (AG)  (1/2016)

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Price: $79.99
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Pinot Noir

- One of France's most legendary grapes and the grape that earned Burgundy its reputation. The parent of varietals like Pinot Gris/Grigio and Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir is blue to violet to indigo in color with relatively thin skins, and it is said to have been cultivated in France for more than 2,000 years. At its best, Pinot Noir creates elegant wines that are filled with primary red fruit aromas and flavors while young, revealing with an array of secondary characteristics like earth, smoke, violet, truffle and game with age. The varietal is also known, perhaps better than any, for its ability to translate terroir, or a sense of place. While the best Pinot Noir still comes from Burgundy, it is being produced with increasing success in cooler climates around the world. In France, it is part of the trifecta of grapes that can go into Champagne, and it is also grown in Alsace, Irancy, Jura, Savoie, Lorraine and Sancerre. Outside of France it is produced under the names Pinot Nero and Blauburgunder in Italy's mountainous regions, as Spätburgunder in Germany and as Blauburgunder in Austria. In the US, Pinot Noir has found suitable growing conditions in the cooler parts of California, including Carneros, the Russian River Valley, the Anderson Valley, the Sonoma Coast, Monterey County, the Santa Lucia Highlands and Santa Barbara County, as well as in Oregon's Willamette Valley. In recent years, New Zealand has demonstrated its ability to interpret this hard-to-grow varietal, with successful bottlings coming from careful and attentive growers in Central Otago, Martinborough and Canterbury. Chile is also an up-and-coming region for Pinot Noir, creating fresh, fruit-forward, early-drinking and affordable Pinots from the coastal Casablanca Valley and the Limari Valley.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Alexander Valley/Russian River

- Among Sonoma County's northernmost appellations, the Alexander Valley AVA acts as a gateway to neighboring Napa to the east and Mendocino to the north. It is a sprawling appellation, with pockets of distinct microclimates and soils, and as such, is home to a variety of wine grapes and styles. Nearly everything grows in the Alexander Valley, though Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are the most widely planted grapes. The Russian River Valley lies to the south of Alexander Valley, and is marked by much cooler temperatures and frequently heavy fog. The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grown here are some of the state's finest and most sought-after. Aromatic whites like Gewürztraminer and Riesling can also be successful, and sparkling wine production has a long history in the area.