Haute Wines: Taking Hope to Another Level

Inspired by the essence of Côte Rôtie, Austin Hope’s namesake wine merges innovative, forward-thinking winemaking techniques with the old-school classicism of French history and origin. Austin articulates his passions for Rhone Valley wines by utilizing traditional varietals, but expresses a New World sensibility full of aromatic, textural and flavorful lushness. This stylistic opulence and generosity is cultivated through strict vineyard management, the mitigated use of oak and extended macerations. Although the Syrah bottling is the label’s flagship wine, the beauty of Austin Hope wines is that each bottle bears his personal signature having planted the vines himself in the Hope Family Vineyard and serving as winemaker for the brand.

Austin Hope is a third-generation wine grower and the current president and director of wine making for his family’s winery. Personable, dynamic and highly intelligent, he strikes the great balance of devoted husband and ambitious entrepreneur constantly aiming to create great wines and grow his company’s portfolio all while setting his sights on the big picture – his family, his peers and his home.

One of Paso Robles’s largest producers, Hope Family Wines takes a definitive slant on how they choose to operate. Despite their size, each brand is treated like a small winery always dedicating the utmost care and attention to every aspect resulting in a seemingly hand-crafted, artisanal selection of wines. 1996 marked the year the Hope Family went from grape growers to wine makers with the debut of Treana, their Super-Paso blend, and in the last 14 years have grown to include four additional brands – Liberty School, Candor, Austin Hope and Westside wines.

This week’s Haute Wines picks are a tribute to a young winemaker and his enterprise where every breath is dedicated to making fantastic wine and being able to do so by “the beat of their own drum.”

Haute Picks:

Austin Hope Grenache, Paso Robles 2008 – Commonly compared to pinot noir’s masculine cousin, grenache possesses a luscious combination of red fruit and delicate, floral aromatic qualities albeit with a dose of muscle. Austin Hope’s particular version takes this interpretation of grenache to the nth power as it pours out of the bottle dark and inky giving way to intense, bright and crisp aromas of fresh boysenberries, cherries and violets. The aromas persist on the palate as they explode on contact along with a nice hit of sweet vanilla and a blend of savory herbs. The mouth feel is ample with present tannins and deliciously suited to be enjoyed with a plate of Pappardelle con Ragu di Cinghiale (Wild Boar Ragout).

Austin Hope Syrah, Paso Robles, 2008 – Most representative of Austin’s very personality, Austin Hope Syrah says, “Hellooo, I’m here.” Following an extremely extended maceration of 75 days, this wine presents itself in a confident and unabashed way. The deep, dark staining of the glass resulting from that pleasure inducing initial swirl is but an indication of the sumptuous expression of fruit, spice and tannins that are to come.  Blackberries, blueberries, dark currants and plums concentrate on the palate while tannins envelop the tongue making for the ideal accompaniment to a spit-fire roasted leg of lamb or a garlic studded porchetta further intensifying some of the smoky bacon, cedar and chocolate qualities present in the wine.

Austin Hope Rose, Paso Robles, 2009 – Rosé buffs are in for a treat with this wine. Made with the runoff juice from its super powered vinous siblings, Austin Hope Rosé is intense. More akin to a light red wine, it possesses intense aromas of ripe strawberries and peaches, full and round, with a light set of tannins and intense acidic structure. Great for quaffing on a hot day, but a serious rosé never the less.