18 February 2011

Austin Hope & Liberty School

Hope Family Wines of Paso Robles produces wines under five different labels: Austin Hope, Liberty School, Candor, Treana, and Westside Red. With this review, I've covered everything except for Treana--most recently, the casual red Troublemaker, and earlier with a review of Liberty School and Candor. The divisions represent different styles as well as different price points, so if you're a fan of their winemaking you have a fairly broad range of options to choose from.

The Liberty School wines are at the bargain level of the product line, and are widely available throughout the country. There is also a Syrah and a red blend called Cuvée.

2008 Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon
100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Paso Robles
$12, 13.5% abv.
Rich and spicy with black cherry and cloves. Full bodied with a short, neat finish. Classic pairing for a grilled steak, though it's going to work well for a meaty pizza.

2008 Liberty School Chardonnay
95% Chardonnay, 5% Viognier
Central Coast
$12, 13.5% abv.
Round and fruity with elements of peach and apricot. There's a touch of oak, not too heavy on the butter or vanilla. Good all-purpose Chardonnay for salads and poultry dishes.

At the top end of the product line are those bearing the name of winemaker Austin Hope. Coming from specially selected vines, these are produced in much smaller quantity, less than 10,000 bottles of each. Both of the current releases are great Rhone-style wines, and would benefit from aging for a couple of years. Go for Southern French food here, with lamb and olives and dashes of rosemary and lavender wherever you can get away with it.

2009 Austin Hope Grenache
Paso Robles
$42, 15.5% abv.
Very mild, low tannins, strawberry, cassis, a little spice. Round but not particularly fruity. If Paso Robles makes you think of bold, full flavored wines, be sure to give this delicate and restrained wine a try.

2009 Austin Hope Syrah
Paso Robles
$42, 15.55 abv.
Lots of black pepper and black cherry, firm tannins, little bit of tartness. While all of the classic Syrah elements are here, they are properly balanced and allow you to really sit back and enjoy a grape that has gone in some crazy directions recently.

Note: These wines were received as samples.

1 comment:

Pour Me Some Grapes said...

I love the entire line of Hope wines and the winery is most supportive of so many important causes. Haven't tried the Troublemaker yet, but it's on my list!