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Lines were long for Legacy Brewing Co. of Oceanside at the recent Carlsbad Brewfest. Rachael White is shown offering the popular Chesty Irish Red Ale. Photo by Frank Mangio
ColumnsTaste of Wine

Taste of Wine: If you are not looking for Paul Hobbs, you should be

For those who are fortunate enough to be close to Paul Hobbs, the universally respected Sonoma/Napa winemaker, the answer to Hobbs’ whereabouts is simple … “you will most likely find him in a vineyard.”

He founded Paul Hobbs Winery in Sonoma’s Petaluma in 1991, but not before gaining fame being able to identify exceptional vineyards from a cultivated flavor  profile in his youth in upper New York.

Without much fanfare, Paul Hobbs has become one of the most prolific and respected winemakers from his base in Sonoma, the Katherine Lindsay Estate. Photo courtesy Paul Hobbs

His reputation followed him to Napa Valley where he was hired by Robert Mondavi to help his Opus One project succeed.  Hobbs moved on to later make wines and consult for such names as Lewis, Simi, Peter Michael and several top international wineries, especially Argentine and France.  His relationship with the Mondavi Winery and the famous Opus One wine, would aid him later  in negotiations to purchase grapes from the famous Mondavi Opus One To Kalon vineyard to make his acclaimed “Beckstoffer To Kalon Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley, the latest being the 2014 ($499).

Hobbs prefers contracts with the area’s best vineyards.  “I pay for acerage  that are some of the highest prices for grapes in the country.  That’s what is needed in order to get what you want in a wine.”  This is a massively concentrated wine with the potential for 100 points, to join a few other 100 point wines that he has in his trophy case. 

Crossbarn was a small lot on the family property in upstate New York where Hobbs got his start.  It’s now a brand of its own in Sebastopol.

Among the wines of note, its Cabernet Sauvignon, honoring his family history (2014,  $57.)  Congratulations to my friend Victor at Vittorio’s  for bringing in Paul Hobbs wines recently.   Enjoy more at



On a hot Saturday afternoon, the beer was running fast  from over 35 brewers, nearly all from San Diego County, fast becoming the craft beer capital of the U.S.

It was the Carlsbad Hi-Noon Rotary’s annual Brewfest,  benefitting teens and Marines. 

Legacy Brewing Company of Oceanside made the biggest splash at the event,  led by Rachael White and her Chesty Irish Red,  a traditional Irish Red Ale with its reddish auburn color with perfect caramel and honey notes.  At the brewery, a full pour goes for $5.79 and a 64 ounce Growler is priced at $16.20.  You may be interested to know the top three beers made in the area are:  Ballast Point, Stone and Green Flash.

You may see Legacy in the top 10 sooner more than later.  Check out Legacy  at



About 11,000 firefighters have finally gained the upper hand on some 12 major fires that began Oct. 8 but not before 245,000 aces have burned — including 5,700 structures that burned down.  Santa Rosa and Sonoma city in Sonoma, the Silverado Trail near Atlas Peak and easterly acreage west of Calistoga Napa Valley were hit the worst.  From reports I had, approximately 17 wineries were either damaged or destroyed.  I am happy to report that a historic Napa winemaker and good personal friend, 94-year-old  Mike Grgich, evacuated his home and Zinfandel vineyard overlooking Calistoga late in the evening of Oct. 8 and after several moves to escape the lung-burning smoke, is safe. His winery, Grgich Hills in Rutherford, is back open as are most of the Napa/Sonoma wineries.


• Albert’s Restaurant in the San Diego Zoo is presenting a Duckhorn wine dinner Nov. 4 from 6 to 9 p.m.  This will be a gourmet 4-course dinner enhanced by an executive from Napa’s Duckhorn.  Cost is $92 per person.  Call 619-718-3000 for details.

• A class exploring Big, Bold, Bodacious Red Wines is set for Meritage Wine Market in Encinitas Nov. 7 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., conducted by M Wine Education and Consulting.  Cost  is $79, including 8 global red wines tasted blind plus a variety of appetizers.  You’ll be able to recognize tannins, bouquet, acidity and body from both blends and full varietals.  Call 858-442-2749.

• Congratulations to Dustn Cano and Dave Wiegel of Meritage for their efforts with the recent Make A Wish event.  They helped raise $370,000 for local kids.

• Seasalt Seafood Bistro in Del Mar is presenting a Napa Valley Caymus Vineyards wine dinner  Nov. 9 at 6 p.m.  There are no better wines than these and show over 40 years of family tradition.  $65 each  includes the wildly popular Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon and a 5-course dinner.  Call 858-755-7100.

Frank Mangio is a renowned wine connoisseur certified by Wine Spectator.  He is one of the leading commentators on the web.  View his columns at Go to menu then columns. Reach him at [email protected].