Austin Hope Graciano 2020
The Graciano is a beautiful dark ruby in color. Aromas of fresh violets, juicy mulberry and a touch of cedar continue through the palate with the addition of a hint of evergreen that are spiced up with white pepper. This incredibly balanced wine finishes with firm integrated tannins
Our Estate Graciano, block 14A was planted in 2012 and continues to thrive. The 2020 growing season and harvest was near normal in some ways and very unusual in others. Rainfall was 12% below average with the bulk of the storms occurring in early winter and early spring. Spring frost threats were mild. Vine growth and berry development was normal through spring. Then, Summer brought relentless heatwaves that lasted for days at a time. Wildfires began erupting throughout the state and the region was inundated with smoke from fires burning both to the north and south of Paso Robles from early August through the end of September. This pattern slowed berry development. October was warm and dry, which helped to quickly mature clusters. Harvest was condensed and flurried as most fruit ripened at the same time. Yields were down by 20% but initial and thorough testing showed no damage from the smoke and very promising quality.
This blend is comprised of 95% Hope Family Vineyard, with another 5% of Merlot from a premium Paso Robles Merlot vineyard. The grapes were hand-picked and fermented separately by vineyard block in five-ton, open-top tanks. After daily pump-overs (for color and tannin extraction) for 10 days, the tanks were tasted and analyzed for their tannin and structure to determine the length of extended maceration. The wines of 2020 were held on their skins for an additional 30 days before they were racked into 50% once used French oak barrels where they aged for 8 months. For the final month of ageing, the wines were blended together and moved onto 36% new French Oak, 60% once used French Oak, and 4% neutral oak. The Graciano was racked a final time before being filtered and bottled in late July of 2021.