This week we have introduced a range of wines to our Burrows Lightbourn stores from the Hope family, who have been farming in Paso Robles for more than 30 years.
When they arrived in this barely discovered region, they planted apples and grapes. Little did they know that the rolling, oak-studded terrain would one day become a viticultural terroir of significance and one of the top wine-growing regions for quality red wine within the central coast of California.
I find the label on the Hope Family Grenache 2012 quite fascinating. Rather than ask “Who painted it?” one should ask, “What painted it?”
The answer, of course, is an elephant in India, and this is quite a story if I had time to tell. Austin Hope Grenache has an aromatic intensity marked by dried red and black cherry, strawberries and rhubarb, while dusty saddle leather, dried rose petals, savoury herbs, cardamom and sweet vanilla add to its complexity.
On the palate, bright, juicy red fruits along with big, gripping tannins show just how elegant and powerful grenache can be, while being perfectly balanced by the acidity. The family use four grenache clones, including Garnacha #814 from Spain, where this grape variety originated.
The Wine Enthusiast magazine rated the 2012 93/100. It tops the prices for Hope family wines at $44.
The Hope Family Troublemaker is a non-vintage blend of 71 per cent syrah, 16 per cent grenache, 8 per cent zinfandel, 3 per cent petite sirah and 2 per cent mourvedre. Aromas of plums are followed by dried cherries, vanilla and blackberries seasoned by lavender and white pepper. Blueberries and cedar are also evident.
The power and elegance of Troublemaker make it a good accompaniment for flavourful dishes such as barbecue ribs. It is certainly a robust example of the red blend trend of very tasty and not too dry, wines. $26.25.
Treana 2014 is a 75 per cent cabernet sauvignon and 25 per cent syrah blend that Tasting Panel magazine rates 93/100
It has this to say about it: “The 2014 Treana Red has an opaque, inky-black colour with a ruby-black rim. Bold fruit aromas of dried blackcurrant, blackberry pie filling and pomegranate combine with lavender, menthol and leather with undertones of dark chocolate, roasted coffee, sweet cinnamon and a hint of smoke.
On entry, the wine is big and intense, boasting flavours of ripe currants and blackberry pie filling, anise and dark chocolate. Firm tannins and mouthwatering acidity bring the wine to life while toasted oak rounds out the lengthy finish.”
The family comments: “Treana is the sum of elements that influence our wines: the land that our family farms, the warm California sun that nurtures, and the cooling ocean breeze that balances. These elements combine to create the perfect growing conditions for our grapes. As the original label of Hope Family Wines, Treana represents more than 30 years of grape-growing history. A classic Paso Robles blend of cabernet sauvignon and syrah, Treana Red uses fruit from our finest vineyards. Combined with a passionate winemaking team and years of refinement, Treana Red is the Paso Robles benchmark blend.” $43.45.
The Hope Family believe that with some wines they find the character that they want by blending various vintages and areas and so there is no vintage on their Candor Lot 7 Zinfandel. Lot 7 is an opaque ruby-garnet colour and it displays spicy fruit aromas of raspberry and boysenberry. It has a subtle leather aroma with touches of black pepper, sage and allspice.
On the palate, Candor Zinfandel shows a sweet mix of juicy mixed berries, with a bit of vanilla, spice and black pepper on the finish. A full-bodied wine, tannins are firm but velvety with balancing acidity and a long finish. It does contain 11 per cent merlot and is matured for 18 months in a combination of American and French oak. $25.35.
They also own Liberty School and we have their 2014 chardonnay that is barrel-fermented in neutral oak and aged sur lie for 6-8 months. The nose is of baked apple, lemon curd, faint baking spices. Dry, full bodied with balanced, juicy acidity, it is elegant and restrained with notable purity of fruit and subtle oak. $24.45.
Liberty School 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon is matured for 16 months in a combination of French and American oak, only 5 per cent new. It shows dark brooding fruit with blackberry, stewed plum, blueberry pie, pepper, spice, cedar and toast. Full and plump with supple tannins and generous texture. $24.45.
• This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. E-mail email@example.com or 295-0176. Burrows Lightbourn has stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554), Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355) and St George’s (York Street, 297-0409). Visit www.wineonline.bm</i>