This morning we are delighted to release Paul Hobbs Beckstoffer Dr Crane Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, the magnificent world beating Napa superstar. In 2015, Paul Hobbs Dr Crane has already been awarded 99 points from Lisa Perrotti-Brown of the Wine Advocate, continuing the long run of brilliant form for this wine. The 2015 vintage appears to be the last of four banner years in Napa, broadly expected to surpass the 2014s and among the finest Estates, equalling the best of the 2012 and 2013 vintages. However, following four years of drought, the vines are feeling the effects, meaning that while quality is very high, unlike the aforementioned plentiful vintages, production is greatly reduced. As such, demand is expected to be fierce, yet largely unfulfilled. Only 815 cases of Paul Hobbs Dr Crane have been produced in 2015, down from the low 1,200 in 2014, making this an exemplar of US winemaking nobility extremely rare indeed, very few cases will be exported outside the US and we have the lion’s share of the allocation.
Indeed, last year we released the 98-100 point 2014, which has since risen 17.5% in value and been awarded a straight 100 points. The 2013 To Kalon was originally awarded 95-98+ from Robert Parker and marked up to a straight 100 points; it trades today at £1,650, a 50% premium to the 2015’s release price. Taken together the 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 are the highest scoring in the wine’s history. The wine is on an incredible trajectory and with so little made it is an excellent short and long term investment play. More than this, it is a brilliant example of what one of the leading winemaker in the world can achieve with the grapes from the mighty Dr Crane vineyard.
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Paul Hobbs is spoken by many as the Michel Rolland of California. The peripatetic Hobbs has his own great wine brands spread all over the world, Vina Cobos in Argentina, another in New York State as well as projects in Chile and Tokaji, Hungary. The latter makes sense when you consider his Eureka moment in wine was a 1962 Yquem which he shared in 1969 with his dad in New York. Of course, his greatest winemaking achievement is Paul Hobbs wines in California, which he supplements with over 35 other consulting roles spread across the Napa Valley. Hobbs was named the ‘Steve Jobs of wine’ by Forbes and twice personality of the year award by Robert Parker.
It all started with his first winemaking position at Robert Mondavi winery in Oakville in 1978 and in 1984 he moved to work on Opus One. In fact, he had a hand in the creation of this great wine for Mondavi and Baron Philippe de Rothschild. This was before he spent 10 years in Argentina as a consultant for Nicolas Catena. It was the 10 years spent consulting for Bodega Catena Zapata which made the Paul Hobbs winery possible. His work here was ground-breaking. At the time many people, especially at the University of California, where Hobbs studied oenology and viticulture, were saying that Argentina was too hot, only capable of making plonk. Hobbs convinced Cantena Zapata that Malbec would be an export hit, having witnessed the stunning potential in the vineyards, the rest is history. He even spent time with the great Henri Jayer in Burgundy.
At this time he had fast become one of the world’s most promising winemakers and in 1991 he felt it was time to start the Paul Hobbs label, thereon building a winery in Russian River Valley. However, it is his Paul Hobbs Beckstoffer Dr Crane and To Kalon wines that are considered his master work. In 2002 Robert Parker awarded 100 Points to Hobb’s Beckstoffer To Kalon and in 2013 both Hobb’s To Kalon and Dr Crane were awarded 100 points.
Paul Hobbs is one of the world’s finest winemakers and the Beckstoffer vineyard is one of the truly great vineyards. It is situated on the west side of St.Helena, boasting gravelly, loamy soils with a balmy climate. It lends itself to velvety wines, with deep, rich flavours and intense, long finishes. When combined with Hobbs’ mastery the wines add incredible, balance, harmony and elegance.