On 12th February 2013, I was honoured to participate in tasting of seven wines from the Hope Family Wines as presented by Méliza Jalbert, Export Director, who happens to be Canadian. Most wines are or will be appearing at LCBO Vintages as I indicate in the separate reviews. All seven wines were great, but my favourite goes to the Treana White followed by Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon & Troublemaker. What’s interesting is that Hope Wines have started to use a cross flow machine to filter their wines, which some suggest have improved the quality of their wines, and I am one who agrees with them.

LIBERTY SCHOOL CHARDONNAY 2011, Central Coast, California

Liberty_Chardonnay-2011

Cost: $18.95
Grape: 90% Chardonnay, 5% Viognier, 5% Marsanne 
Alcohol: 13.5% 

Description: Bright gold in colour with a medium+ intense nose.

Positives: An excellent palate cleanser, and quite complex especially for a wine under $20. This wine starts off buttery, then goes to mineral, then to fruit and finishes off with mineral. The wine features mild toasted oak, lemon, butterscotch, granny apples, golden apple, apricot, peach and limestone. Medium to medium full body with good acidity and a fairly long length.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: Scheduled to be in Vintages 30 March 2013.

Drink now or over the next 2 years on its own or pair it with monkfish Saltimbocca.

Best Buy

Score: 9/10, Value: 9.5/10, Total: 18.5/20

Out of 5 stars, I rated this wine: 4+

LIBERTY SCHOOL CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2010, Paso Robles, California

Cabernet_Sauvignon_Liberty_School_web (1)

Cost: $19.95 
Grape: Cabernet Sauvignon 
Alcohol: 13.5% 

Description: Medium+ ruby in colour with a medium+ intense nose.

Positives: It’s a rare wine for being under $20 to have such complexity as this wine and to have both a beautiful nose and the taste is just as good. The wine features spiced oak, dark cherry, violets, plums, cinnamon, ripe tamarinds, cloves, blueberry, piped tobacco, Allspice and graphite. Medium body with medium+ tannins, good acidity and a long length. Nice to see the alcohol at 13.5%.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: In Vintages now. It’s a Vintages Essentials.

Drink now or over the next 3-4 years on its own or pair it with grilled beef striploin in Bordelaise sauce.

Top Pick and Best Buy

Score: 9+/10, Value: 9.5/10, Total: 19/20

Out of 5 stars, I rated this wine: 4.5

LCBO#: 738823

LIBERY SCHOOL SYRAH 2010, Central Coast, California

2010_Liberty_School_Syrah_web

Cost: $18.95 
Grape: Syrah with small amounts of Viognier 
Alcohol: 13.5% 

Description: Medium+ ruby in colour with a medium to medium+ intensity on the nose.

Positives: An easy drinking wine featuring light oak, violets, black cherry, plums, pipe tobacco, blackberry, Allspice, white and black pepper, oyster mushrooms and cured meat. Medium body with medium to medium+ tannins, good acidity and a fairly long length.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: In Vintages now.

Drink now or over the next 2-3 years on its own or pair it with a lightly pepper dusted pork chop, soothed with balsamic blueberry reduction.

Best Buy

Score: 9/10, Value: 9/10, Total: 18/20

Out of 5 stars, I rated this wine: 4

LCBO:# 942383

CANDOR ZINFANDEL LOT 3 NV, California

Candor

Cost: $21.95 
Grape: Zinfandel 
Alcohol: 14.5% 

Description: Medium ruby in colour with medium intensity on the nose.

Positives: A lushus yet not jammy wine with a peppery nose that is followed on the taste with blueberry, plums, dark cherry, raisins and boysenberry. Medium body with  medium to medium+ tannins, good acidity and a fairly long length.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: Scheduled to be released 30th March in Vintages. This wine is produced from multi-vintage years.

Drink now or over the next 2 years on its own or pair it with BBQ beef ribs.

Score: 9/10, Value: 8.5+/10, Total: 17.5+/20

Out of 5 stars, I rated this wine: 3.5+

TREANA RED 2009, Paso Robles, California

Treana Red

Cost: $39.95 
Grape: 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Syrah 
Alcohol: 15% 

Description: Medium to medium+ ruby in colour with medium+ intensity.

Positives: You’re getting true value for your money in this wine. A delicious wine featuring oak, black cherry, plums, anise, black and white pepper, turmeric, graphite, pipe tobacco and sage. Medium body with medium+ tannins, good acidity and a long length.

Negatives: A little heat from the 15% alcohol.

Interesting Points: 1. Treana is Latin meaning the 3 elements of water, sun & soil. 2. I like the early Californian Spanish American label, and what’s interesting Méliza reports that the British aren’t too fancy about it. 3. In Vintages now.

Drink now or over the next 5 years on its own or pair it with a T-bone steak, medium rare.

Score: 9/10, Value: 8.5+/10, Total: 17.5+/20

Out of 5 Stars I rated this wine: 4

LCBO#: 11221

TREANA WHITE 2009, Central Coast, California

White Treana

Cost: $29.95 
Grape: 50% Marsanne, 50% Viognier 
Alcohol: 14.5% 

Description: Deep gold in colour with a medium to medium+ intense nose.

Positives: This is the closest to a Condrieu without being one that I have tasted to date, and I love Condrieu, so it goes without saying why I made this my favourite wine of the tasting event. The wine is oily and smooth as silk, featuring light oak, Ylang Ylang, pineapple, macadamia nuts, lemon, East Indian mangos, peaches and white pepper.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: This is so good that I could easily drink two bottles in a night. In Vintages now and I’m slowly buying up the stock.

Drink now or over the next 5 years on its own or pair it with seared Chilean sea bass with roasted root vegetables.

Top Pick

Score: 9.5/10, Value: 9.5/10, Total: 19/20

Out of 5 stars, I rated this wine: 4.5+

LCBO#:11247

TROUBLEMAKER MAKER BLEND 5 NV, Paso Robles, California

Troublemaker

Cost: $24.95 
Grape: 67% Syrah, 22% Mourvedre, 8% Grenache, 3% Petit Syrah 
Alcohol: 14.5%

Description: Medium+ ruby in colour with a medium intense nose.

Positives: This plush wine is smooth as silk and easy to drink featuring pine, cranberry, raspberry, white pepper, plums, blackberry and arugula. A beautiful nose to go with the taste. Medium body with medium+ tannins, good acidity and a long length.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: Troublemaker is named after Austin Hope for his youthful ventures. Made from multi-vintage years. Slated on Vintages panel, no release date yet.

Drink now on its own or over the next 3 years on its own or pair it with pistachio, hazelnut & pecan crusted Tatamagouche rack of lamb.

Top Pick & Best Buy

Score: 9+/10, Value: 9.5/10, Total: 18.5+/20

Out of 5 stars, I rated this wine: 4.5

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