Saturday, August 05, 2006

Paul Hobbs Cabernet

Last night I had a very memorable meal at Evvia. A sister restaurant to Kokkari, Evvia has been one of the best spots on the Peninsula since its début more 10 years ago. The open sliding doors to Emerson Street, the exhibition kitchen with its wood-fired oven, and the packed house each evening give it a buzz unusual for Palo Alto.

Everything we ordered was excellent, but the standouts in each category were:

Appetizers: Gigantes – large fava beans wood oven baked with a marvelous rustic sauce of tomatoes, leeks & herbed feta
Salads: Horiatiki - "classic Greek salad" with tomatoes, cucumbers, green pepper, red onion, oregano, olives & feta
Entrees: Psari sta Karvouna – a whole mesquite-grilled striped bass with lemon-oregano vinaigrette & braised greens
Desserts: Galaktoboureko - vanilla semolina custard wrapped in phyllo wrapped and topped with pistachio ice cream

However, as good as the food was, the wines were better. Brian brought a flavorful 1990 vintage Champagne to start our meal. Stuart followed this with a phenomenal 1989 Chateau L’Arossee Bordeaux commemorating the year we finished college. But, the star among stars was the blockbuster 2003 Paul Hobbs Napa Cabernet Jeff selected from Evvia’s reserve wine list. Incredible nose and even larger taste, the big red had all of the intense and concentrated flavors that have made Paul one of California’s most accomplished winemakers.

Paul Hobbs makes single-vineyard unfined and unfiltered wines in artisanal fashion. The current Cabernet releases are:

2003 Paul Hobbs Cabernet Sauvignon, Beckstoffer Dr Crane, St. Helena, Napa Valley (95 points, Robert Parker)
2003Paul Hobbs Cabernet Sauvignon, Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard , Oakville, Napa Valley (97 points, Robert Parker)
2003 Paul Hobbs Cabernet Sauvignon, Stagecoach Vineyard, Napa Valley (94+, Robert Parker)

and they are worth seeking out online or, for a very special occasion, ordering at Evvia. Those who are a bit more price sensitive (like me) might also consider Hobbs’ second label, the CrossBarn Cabernet. And, those with a sweet tooth will enjoy the desert wine our waiter brought for us: Nivole Moscato d’Asti. Fruity and sparkling, the Nivole can be found for ~$10 for a 375ml bottle.

Bonus link: read about Paul Hobbs’ winemaking philosophy

Evvia Estiatorio: 420 Emerson St, Palo Alto, CA (650) 326-0983