Paul Hobbs is one of the most famous and restless winemakers in the world. Thanks to that restlessness one can have the delightful experience of tasting, for instance, this wine, unaware of its provenance and with no preconceived notion of its quality–indeed, its moderate price would argue against its being authored by such an eminent person–and after you express your appreciation for it and are told who made it, your faith in the wine world will be, at least a little bit, restored. We have actually had that experience a number of times as Paul Hobbs has wineries on 4 continents and only a few of the wineries are named after him. Paul Hobb’s history in Argentina goes back more than 30 years. After his stint as winemaker at Opus One, and while making the wines at Simi, Paul visited his former UC Davis Enology classmates Nicolás and Jorge Catena, whose family owned vineyards in Mendoza, Argentina. Nicolás is now credited with transforming the Argentine wine industry and with being the godfather of Malbec, but Paul had more than a little to do with that. Here is how Paul tells it, “Nicolás did not want to make Malbec, but our importer wanted a red wine. Of course, the logical red wine was to make Cabernet Sauvignon. Nicolás had a vineyard, so … I, however, became infatuated with the Malbec grape, something I didn't know or had familiarity with. Nicolás Catena had an old vineyard, nearly a 100- year- old vineyard in a little area called Lunlunta along the Rio Mendoza river. That old vineyard inspired me and so even against Nicolás’ wishes, because I asked Nicolás if he would help finance some experimental trials with the grape, I proceeded. He said, ‘No, the French have already demonstrated. They did not replant after phylloxera. They have already demonstrated as well, documented in the literature about this grape, so we're not going to invest in Malbec.’ Nevertheless, his head viticulturist humored me and we began working on a section of the vineyard to grow the grapes in a way that I needed them grown. When we did a tasting of wines in March 1993 for the American press; the show done there to launch the Chardonnay from Catena; that was the opportunity that I took to show them the Malbec. Thomas Stockley, the writer for the Seattle Times wrote an article after that tasting called, “Don’t cry for me Argentina,” and he largely talked about the Malbec and the guests indicated that they liked it. Nicolás decided in this case, we should make Malbec, and so he changed. That was the beginning of a brand that is well known today called Alamos.” Argentine Malbec has since gone on to become a staple of the modern wine world, far outshining the French offerings. Hobbs founded his own Mendoza winery, Viña Cobos, in 1999, and Felino is the entry level line. The sustainably farmed grapes are hand picked and sorted, fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks and aged in French Oak barrels, 8% new, for 9 months. Enjoy the plum and bing (with pits), blueberry and floral flavors, the fine, mouth coating tannins, of this OG Malbec with barbeque!