WineGuyMike: CrossBarn Winery


Paul Hobbs and his 11 siblings were raised on a 150- year-old farm in upstate New York.  If you placed an X in the center of that farm you would be standing at the barn the Hobbs children knew as wondrous and magical, a place Hobbs now refers to as the CrossBarn.

Hobbs is arguably one of the top winemakers in America. He is also respected as one of the top wine consultants worldwide, producing world-class wines in California and Argentina.  Regarded for his ability to recognize vineyards of exceptional character, Hobbs infuses innovative ideas and techniques into new wine areas, as well as into historical regions featuring legendary vineyards.  Hobbs latest collaborative effort is the CrossBarn Winery in Sonoma, California.

Producing wines of distinct character requires sourcing grapes from only the finest vineyards, a task at which Hobbs excels.  As a child, Hobbs’ father drove him to nearby apple orchards where he tasted the same variety of apple at each orchard.  Apples from each of these orchards had very distinct flavor and texture, likely due to varying microclimates, soil composition, elevation and exposure to sun.  Geography, geology and climate affect a fruit’s expression and unique sense of place, and the French refer to it as “terroir.”

Hobbs understanding of varietal characteristics of grapes, coupled with the valuable apple-tasting lesson his father taught him, have served him well.  Great winemakers often comment that great wines are made in the vineyard, and Hobbs begins making great wine by utilizing grapes grown in special areas.  The terroir of these areas reflect superior varietal characteristics in the fruit.

A winemaker with Paul Hobbs CrossBarn Winery, Scott Morrison’s career in wine began in a very practical way, interning at a winery in the Napa Valley.  After discovering his passion, Morrison embarked on an academic track, studying viticulture and enology at the University of California at Davis.  After finishing school, Morrison traveled to New Zealand, a country that focuses on growing cool weather varietal grapes. It was in New Zealand where he honed his white winemaking skills.  Once back in California, Morrison worked with the Hess Collection and Rudd Winery, and most recently at the Paul Hobbs CrossBarn Winery where he is now head winemaker.

CrossBarn Winery produces elegant wine offering true consumer value, thanks to the collaboration of Hobbs and Morrison.  While these wines may be a bit pricey for a weekday wine, they are certainly wines to consider for the weekend and special occasions.  There are three wines currently featured within the CrossBarn label: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon.

The grapes used in CrossBarn wines are carefully hand-harvested, striving to preserve the core integrity of the fruit.  All three current wines are from the 2009 vintage.

CrossBarn Chardonnay – this wine is pale yellow in color, aroma of subtle white flowers, pear and citrus.  The palate delivers crisp Fuji apple, white peach and subtle lemon.  The finish has mineral, citrus and vanilla, with racy acidity.  You will want to lick the glass, it is that good.

This wine pairs well with shellfish.

CrossBarn Pinot Noir – bright ruby in color and scented with raspberry and Darjeeling tea, this wine truly comes to life on the palate with fine powder like tannin, dark berry, black cherry, a hint of vanillin, dust earth.  The finish is smooth, long and balanced.

This wine pairs well with lamb and chops seasoned with herbs.

CrossBarn Cabernet Sauvignon – the nose of this gem is aromatic with dark fruits, figs fresh figs, spice, a little cocoa, gentle oak, and minerality.  The crimson colored wine is lush and sturdy on the palate.  Beautiful rich, clean finish.

This wine pairs well with grilled meats with ample marbling.

From my table to yours,


Read more on WineGuyMike’s blog, or listen to the  podcast featuring Paul Hobbs and CrossBarn Winery.


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