Austin Hope Lagrein/Petite Sirah 2020
Our second release of this Lagrein/Petite Sirah blend is a beautiful rich deep purple color. On the nose, brooding mulberry is brightened by a splash of fresh blueberries and a hint of sweet sage. The dark fruit flavors continue onto the palate with the addition of rich chocolate shavings and crushed black pepper. On the finish, a surprising touch of acidity rounds out this robust red wine.
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.
After harvest, one Lagrein and four Petite Sirah lots were fermented individually in stainless-steel tanks for 10-14 days. Extended macerations and carefully managed pump overs enhanced the extraction of color and tannin. The varietals were aged separately for 9 months, the Lagrein in 100% neutral French and American Oak and the Petite Sirah in 40% twice used French Oak, 60% neutral French and American Oak. The lots were racked only once during its cellar life, with the final racking occurring to blend, just prior to filtering and bottling in July of 2021.