More and more winemakers in California seem to be starting small, eponymous labels on the side, which invariably allow them to concentrate on their true passion, whether it be for a particular varietal, style of winemaking, or region of the state.
Austin Hope, currently a winemaker for Treana and Liberty School wines, has turned to his own label to pursue his love of the Rhone, specifically Syrah. Austin's family has been farming in Paso Robles for decades, and that seemed a natural place for him to establish his own winery, both because of his three generations of farming history there, as well as for the region's ability to produce excellent Rhone varietals.
Austin Hope Winery produces three wines, a Rhone style blend called Westside Red, a Rousanne, and this Syrah. Each is carefully crafted starting with high density extremely low yield farming techniques, cramming many more vines per acre than normally found in the region, yet limiting each vine to produce merely 8 clusters of grapes from his French cloned vines. This technique, Austin believes, concentrates the fruit and builds complexity.
The Syrah is aged in 100% French oak for 15 to 18 months before bottling and is made in extremely limited quantities. I believe that the 2001 is the inaugural commercial vintage for this wine, and if that is the case it's a great effort. Keep an eye on this one.
Dark garnet in the glass with hints of blue, this wine has a strong nose that includes aromas of sawdust and ripe, ripe black cherries. In the mouth it incorporates flavors of blackberries, blueberries, and black cherry, with elements of chocolate and vanilla that shine through in the finish. This is an extremely extracted wine, and ultimately suffers from a lack of balance, with too much fruit and not enough acidity and spice notes to balance it out. Despite that, the flavors it presents are extremely pleasurable.
Given the heavy fruit nature of this wine, I'd pair it exclusively with strong cheeses like Stilton or Roquefort, or serve it with your spiciest of spicy foods: habanero stuffed tacos or jalapeno soup -- you get the picture.
Overall Score: 8/8.5
This wine received 93 points from Wilfred Wong.
How Much?: $48
I believe some wine is available for purchase from the winery, as well as from select Internet merchants. Try Wine Searcher.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
Tallying the Damage from the Napa Quake Vinography Images: A Sea of Blue Vinography Unboxed: Week of September 14, 2014 The Taste of Something New: Introducing Solminer Wines Vinography Images: Swift Work Social Media Answers the Question: Where Did Australian Wine Go Wrong Hourglass, Napa Valley: Current and Upcoming Releases Drought Problems? Just Have an Earthquake Vinography Images: Just One Vinography Unboxed: Week of September 1, 2014
Masuizumi Junmai Daiginjo, Toyama Prefecture Wine.Com Gives Retailers (and Consumers) the Finger 1961 Hospices de Beaune Emile Chandesais, Burgundy Wine Over Time The Better Half of My Palate 1999 KirÃ¡lyudvar "Lapis" Tokaji Furmint, Hungary What's Allowed in Your Wine and Winemaking Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Appreciating Wine in Context The Soul vs. The Market 1989 Fiorano Botte 48 Semillion,Italy