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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Hope Family Wines - Portfolio Tasting



Hope Family Wines
I had the pleasure of tasting some new wines from the Hope Family Wines portfolio.

The Hope family arrived in Paso Robles (California) in 1978 and current President Austin Hope, at the age of 8 years, began learning in the vineyards alongside his father, Chuck Hope.

In the late 1980's, the Hope Family began selling their grapes to Chuck Wagner of the famous Caymus Vineyards, to produce Wagner's second label - Liberty School. In the mid-90's, the Hope Family acquired the Liberty School label from Chuck Wagner.

Hope Family Wines now encompasses five brands: Liberty School, Treana (est. 1996 and symbolizes the 3 natural elements: the sun, the soil and the ocean), Austin Hope (high-end, hand-crafted wines inspired by northern Rhône), Candor (multi-vintage Zinfandel and Merlot) and Troublemaker (multi-vintage GSM-blends).

The winery continues to be family-owned and operated, while being actively involved within the community. They have their own vineyards, but do source grapes from nearly 50 growers with an eye towards sustainable growing practices. To soften the filtration process of the wine, they recently purchased a made-in-Italy cross-flow filtering machine. Their 2010 Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon (wine review below) has gone through this machine and the results look very good as it does appear to have more clarity and refinement.

All of these wines (except for the Troublemaker, unfortunately) can be purchased via Trialto Wine Group. Many of these are (or will be soon) available in the Vintages section at the LCBO.

Lineup of Hope Family Wines
Tasting Notes:
LIBERTY SCHOOL CHARDONNAY 2011 - Central Coast, California, USA (#960120) (XD) - $18.95
Consisting of 90% Chardonnay, 5% Viognier, and for the first time 5% Marsanne. Crisp orchard fruit, pear and earth aromas. Full bodied and dry with a creamy mouthfeel and oily texture. Very nice flavours of apple, pear, butter and sweet vanillan. Quite well-balanced with lively acidity. Finish is medium-length. Will be in Vintages on March 30th. Score: 88+ pts

LIBERTY SCHOOL CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2010 - Paso Robles, California, USA (#738823) (XD) - $19.95
Part of the Vintages Essentials collection (i.e. always available). The 2010 just reached the shelves this weekend - if the 2009 is also available, take notice of the new label - it looks much sharper and cleaner! Lovely crushed black fruit, red cherries and cedar oak aromas. Medium-bodied with nice aromas replays on palate, with hints of blueberries and cocoa on the long, smooth finish. Has mouth-watering acidity and velvety tannins. Very nice! Score: 90 pts

LIBERTY SCHOOL SYRAH 2010 - Central Coast, California, USA (#942383) (XD) - $18.95
Was featured as part of the California Trends section of the latest Vintages release and contains small amounts of Viognier. Aromas of dark fruits, mushroom smoked meat, and violet. More dark fruits and violet on the palate, plus blackberry notes. Full-bodied with grippy tannins that are a bit tight. Could use 1-2 years to unwind. Smooth, medium-long finish that's well-balanced. Score: 87 pts

CANDOR LOT 3 ZINFANDEL (NV) - California, USA (#133389) (D) - $21.95
A blend of grapes from Paso Robles and Lodi appellations, from the 2008 (6%), 2009 (78%) and 2010 (16%) vintages. Smells very green with ripe fruits and sour cherry aromas. Medium-bodied, slightly off-dry with notes of raisins, red plums and is slightly jammy. Good acidity with medium-length finish. Will be in Vintages on March 30th. Score: 88

TREANA RED 2009 - Paso Robles, California, USA (#011221) (D) - $39.95
A blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Syrah and high 15% alc/vol. Dark fruits and sweet vanillan aromas. Full bodied with grippy tannins and very good acidity. More dark fruits, black cherry and oak on the palate with hints of mocha. Has a long finish. Drinking well now, but can be enjoyed over the next 5 years. Score: 90 pts

TROUBLEMAKER (NV) - Paso Robles, California, USA (#) (XD) - $24.95
A blend of 4 grapes (67% Syrah, 22% Mourvedre, 8% Grenache, 3% Petite Sirah) from the 2010 and 2011 vintages. 14.5% alc/vol. Intense smoke and fresh wood plank aromas with undertones of sour cherry. Medium-bodied with flavours of black pepper, raspberry, oak and lots of pepper on the mid-palate. Very well-balanced with very good acidity and a smooth, medium-long finish. Score: 89+ pts

TREANA WHITE 2009 - Central Coast, California, USA (#011247) (M) - $29.95
Fresh floral aromas, plus pineapple and honeysuckle. Medium-bodied with an oily texture. Palate consists of lemon, orange rind and some evident French oak ageing. Nice, long finish. Score: 89 pts.
Lineup of Hope Family Wines

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