2008 Paul Hobbs Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard

Year: 2008
Appellation: Russian River Valley
Country: USA - California
Wine Spectator: 88
Wine Advocate: 92
Vinous Media: 92
Connoisseurs' Guide: 96
White Wine
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"Offers a mix of tight ripe pear, melon and green apple. Medium- to full-bodied, clean and refreshing, ending with a citrusy edge. Drink now through 2014. 463 cases made." (WS)

"I liked it as much as the more expensive 2008 Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard, a grand cru site for sure given the number of top wines (made by different producers) that have emerged. Elegant white peach, honeysuckle, orange marmalade and white currant aromas intermixed with earthy undertones are followed by a crisp, medium to full-bodied, impressively ripe white wine. Drink it over the next several years.

The irrepressible Paul Hobbs fashioned a beautiful portfolio of Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays in both 2008 and 2009. His style of Chardonnay comes directly from the Burgundy handbook, meaning cool vineyard sites, full malolactic fermentations, lots of lees contact and the use of well-established clones, such as the old Wente and occasionally some of the newer Dijon clones. The 2009 Chardonnays are slightly more perfumed as well as lower in alcohol." (WA)

"($70) Vivid yellow. Vibrant, exotically perfumed nose offers orange marmalade, nectarine and a livelier note of lemon zest. Tight and high-pitched on entry, then gains flesh and depth in the middle palate, offering lush pit fruit and lemon custard qualities. Distinctly rich chardonnay, but nervy acidity gives brightness and energy to the fruit. Finishes with building minerality and very good persistence." (IWC)

"Mr. Hobbs rarely stints when it comes to either deep, optimally ripened fruit or to sweet, very flamboyant oak, and, when at their best such as is clearly the case here, his Chardonnays achieve remarkable balance rarely found in wines of such volume and range. Unctuous and oily, yet never heavy, this big, amazingly rich effort seems to unfold with more and more fruit and sweet spice as it goes, but for all of its immediacy and come-hither appeal, it is structured to last and is certain to age into better." (CG)

Winery Notes:
The old vines of Ritchie Vineyard produce an intriguing, complex chardonnay that achieves a fine balance of intensity and elegance. Pale yellow with a touch of green, it exhibits an exotic nose of stone fruit and spice accented with tropical notes of guava and passion fruit. A firmly structured, steely palate provides the backbone around which layers of fresh apple, Asian pear and toasted brioche wrap themselves seamlessly. Notes of custard persist, accented with ginger and clean slate over a memorable finish. Alcohol 14.6%