Christie Kiley on November 2, 2015 0 Comments ‘Tis the season for comfort foods, guilty pleasures and the excuse to relax with our diets. After all, our summer figures won’t be on display much for another few months. I’m thinking homemade pot pies, autumn fruit inspired pies and tarts, macaroni and cheese with a seasoned crumble bread topping, sausages, mashed potatoes, soups, and baked ziti. I hope you have started your weekend shopping list for some belly and heartwarming meals this weekend. All of this seriously good food calls for seriously good wine. For most of these dishes there is one varietal that seems to have the most diversity, Chardonnay. So what is an example of a seriously good Chardonnay? Try the CrossBarn 2014 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay from Paul Hobbs. This world-renowned flying winemaker has plenty of fans and followers around the globe. There is no argument that the man knows how to make a great wine. From trying some of his wines from California and other parts, I’d have to say he really knows how to make an amazing Chardonnay. Paul Hobbs never seems to disappoint. Paul Hobbs and CrossBarn Wines Mr. Paul Hobbs grew up on a working farm run by his father in upstate New York. Much of the farm was made up of orchards. Paul was influenced at an early age by his father who would take him around the various estates to sample the same variety of apple from different parts of their land. It was this experience that Paul learned the significance of the land and soils and how the microclimates can influence fruit. He was one of eleven children and it was him who helped his father obtain his dream in transforming orchards of peaches, apples and nuts into grape vines. From the beginning of his career in wine, he was known for his keen eye in picking out the best vineyard sites and regions. He has been part of winemaking teams with Mondavi, Opus One and Simi Winery. Today he is the consulting winemaker for wineries in North and South America with even some recent groundbreaking wine projects in Armenia. He even has his sights set on Asia where a new consumer base of wine lovers is ever expanding. The namesake of CrossBarn wines is dedicated to the CrossBarn found on Paul Hobbs’ family estate in upstate New York. It was a favored place to play and meet with his siblings growing up and holds great memories of youthful adventure, mystery and imaginative times. About Sonoma Coast Chardonnay At this point, Chardonnay and Sonoma are basically synonymous. This grape has found sort of a symbiotic relationship in this coastal region. The summers here are long, but the fogs which roll in during the early mornings and linger until mid-day keep hot temperatures at bay. Sea breezes offer not just cooler and moderate temperatures, but can also add to the depth of a wine with maritime nuances. The entire region of the Sonoma Coast Appellation starts in San Pablo Bay and goes to the county line of Mendocino. The landmass covers 480,000 acres but only 7,000 acres are planted with vineyards. Growing grapes here for the viticulturist is not an easy task, but the hard work is often worth it, as the area is known for producing wines with an intense yet graceful character. The CrossBarn 2014 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay As always, the grapes of 2014 were hand-picked and were kept in their whole clusters until they arrived at the winery to be pressed immediately. Of the entire batch, 90% of the pressed juice was fermented in stainless steel tanks, while the other 10% was finished in used French oak barrels. Paul Hobbs is a big fan at letting nature showcase her best work, and he does so here as some of the yeasts used in fermentation are native. The wine was finished with a secondary fermentation to add some more character. The wine has also not been fined and remains true to its beauty and original structure, from the vine all the way to your table this autumn season. If you’re looking to pair this wine with a meal, how about you make your best homemade macaroni and cheese, except this time use a mix of brie and some soft Gouda instead. Or if you are making some homemade pot pie, either keep it simple or add pulled pork with shallots, onions, potatoes and other root vegetables topped with a buttery, flaky crust. It sounds like some serious food, but as I mentioned before, this is a serious wine. The bouquet of late summer orchard fruits of sweet and juicy peaches, apricots and baked, buttery apples are livened with hints of lemon drops. It is a wine with some good minerality on the palate, but the fruits on the nose persist in flavor on the palate and will make for a lovely pairing for the above comfort foods and many more. Have a lovely, delicious week!