To dedicate oneself to winemaking is to potentially have walked into a life-long vocation. It is impossible to master wine in one’s lifetime; a seemingly countless number of grape varieties, an infinite number of potential winegrowing sites, unimaginable terroirs that have yet to be discovered; the opportunities are endless. And, yet, since I started working with cabernet sauvignon in 1978, I felt that I might someday gain a deep understanding of this variety and how it expresses itself in the Napa Valley.
For forty years, I have made this my personal mission as a winemaker. It is impossible to know cabernet sauvignon without the benefit of time. The experience that I developed over the years, and that shaped me as a winemaker, required the passage of years. Over the decades, I gained experience working not only in solitude, but just as importantly, with a community of vineyard managers and winemakers, with whom I worked closely to identify and study special blocks and sites throughout the Napa Valley…some that eventually became recognized as hallowed designates. My 1999 Beckstoffer Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (under the Paul Hobbs label) was the first designated wine from Beckstoffer’s famed To Kalon Vineyard.
Nearly six years ago, I established Nathan Coombs estate; my first estate vineyard in the Napa Valley. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the founding of this site was a necessary precursor to the debut of HOBBS.
In tandem with these explorations, were equally vital experiments that unfolded over the decades; how does a certain site respond to different clonal material, trellising system, canopy management decision, etc? And, how does that site than respond to cooperage: to a barrel from Darnajou versus one from Taransaud? And how might that wine be different during a warmer growing season, versus a cooler vintage? Only through the passage of time can those results be revealed.
Nearly six years ago, I established Nathan Coombs estate; my first estate vineyard in the Napa Valley. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the founding of this site was a necessary precursor to the debut of HOBBS. Now, through a process of establishing pedigreed blocks off our estate, while working in collaboration with neighbors on select parcels, the foundation for a new concept has finally been brought to life. HOBBS represents my vision to create cabernet sauvignon from the Napa Valley. It represents 40 years of experience and experimentation through the prism of my own understanding and appreciation for this beautiful, noble variety and how it reveals itself in the soils of Napa Valley. It also suggests the continuation of this exploration and my quest for further delineation and precision.