Austin Hope, anyone?

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Austin Hope, anyone?

#1 Post by Bob W »

I don't see much talk about Austin Hope around here. Curious why that is. I love it, but then I'm a newb to the world of wine. Every time we have one of their wines, whether it's their Cab, Cab Reserve, Mourvedre, Liberty School, Harvester (especially the Estrella) or Troublemaker, my wife and I always thoroughly enjoy every one. So I'm curious, any other fans, or just me?

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Re: Austin Hope, anyone?

#2 Post by Mike S. »

They are not my style..Way too big and ripe for me. BUT my sister inlaw, my friends wife, and several other friends love them. Spectrum Wine auctions almost always have a case for about $300.
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Re: Austin Hope, anyone?

#3 Post by Eric White »

I've never tried it, but every time I see that label at Costco I wonder how on earth they've avoided a lawsuit from Penfolds.

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Re: Austin Hope, anyone?

#4 Post by L. Bryant »

While certainly ripe and big, I found their earlier syrahs delivered nice savory and textural elements. They even had some syrah "funk"

Have you had any of these 2010-2012 syrahs?

As mentioned above, my tastes have drifted away from that style ...and the quirkiness of older vintages seems to have fallen away.
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Re: Austin Hope, anyone?

#5 Post by J. Rock »

When I first got into wine (not long ago), I LOVED the Austin Hope GSM. I wonder if I'd still like it as much now that I've had so many more wines. Regardless, they are very popular, so they much be doing something right.
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Re: Austin Hope, anyone?

#6 Post by Ryan Gilmour »

J. Rock wrote: January 10th, 2021, 6:41 pm When I first got into wine (not long ago), I LOVED the Austin Hope GSM. I wonder if I'd still like it as much now that I've had so many more wines. Regardless, they are very popular, so they much be doing something right.
I had the Grenache a few weeks ago and really didnt enjoy it, found it flabby, simple and sweet, but it was on the table with a Saxum JBV so maybe not a fair comparison. That being said I frequently recommend the Cab to friends who are looking for an easy to find higher end gift wine for non berserker types.

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#7 Post by Ryan A »

I love big and bold but this and Caymus are just too sweet and linear for me. Having said that it is the wine I start all my friends on to begin their wine journey... never fails to start them on their way. Welcome to a very slippery slope.
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Re: Austin Hope, anyone?

#8 Post by JosephW »

If you’re looking for a good cab out of Paso Austin Hope is great. Prefer their wine To Justin.

The 2018 cab is quite nice and has a distinct style. My local Costco had a bunch for $40 something. Great for the $ too.
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Re: Austin Hope, anyone?

#9 Post by c fu »

I'm on the email list for a coffee shop next to my house and suddenly they've been spamming me with offers selling this wine.
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Re: Austin Hope, anyone?

#10 Post by G. D y e r »

My wife and I received a bottle of the AH Cab as a gift a year or so ago. It is "of a style", driven by oak and ripe dark fruit, crowd pleasing and easy drinking. Well done in that vein, but not a bottling I'd seek out myself at > $40 as I'm looking for stronger site and variety character at that price point.
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Re: Austin Hope, anyone?

#11 Post by Alex N »

I've witnessed it the unamimous (except for me [snort.gif] ) WOTN on a few occassions with some incredible wines in the mix
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#12 Post by JDVanHoose »

It’s a reliable reasonably priced Cab to reach for when we want a big juicy “drinking” wine rather than a “thinking” wine with dinner e.g. a nice grilled steak and baked potato
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#13 Post by Bob W »

Thanks for the responses, all! I wondered if this would be the case - consensus being it's a "beginner" wine. Shows why I like it I guess! It'll be interesting to see if my tastes change to not being a fan over time.
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Re: Austin Hope, anyone?

#14 Post by larry schaffer »

Bob W wrote: January 11th, 2021, 9:16 am Thanks for the responses, all! I wondered if this would be the case - consensus being it's a "beginner" wine. Shows why I like it I guess! It'll be interesting to see if my tastes change to not being a fan over time.
Bob,

I wouldn't necessarily categorize these as 'beginner' wines whatsoever. The vocal group here on WB tend to 'look down upon' riper, more oaky wines in general - but that does not mean that the median wine consumer out in the world beyond this website does whatsoever. Austin and his family have been making consistent wines for quite some time - well before Paso has the reputation that it does. Ultimately, if it's a style you like, you should feel empowered that these wines are readily available and fairly priced . . .

Just another opinion out there - but just because WBs don't 'like' something or it isn't to 'their tastes' does not mean it's a lesser wine [snort.gif] champagne.gif [wow.gif] [stirthepothal.gif]

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#15 Post by Gabe Berk »

They are well made wines. Not my style as they are the posterchild for overripe fruit bombs. That said, I can see why the brand is very well received. Drink up!!!

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Re: Austin Hope, anyone?

#16 Post by John Kight »

Bob W wrote: January 11th, 2021, 9:16 am Thanks for the responses, all! I wondered if this would be the case - consensus being it's a "beginner" wine. Shows why I like it I guess! It'll be interesting to see if my tastes change to not being a fan over time.
Your tastes are guaranteed to change over time if you continue to drink some combination of "what you like now" and a variety of other wines as well. Many people (understandably) skip this last step, and if you mostly only drink what you like today, then your tastes are less likely to change.....The key (as with the evolution of anyone's taste for different foods over time) is to keep an open mind, and continue to taste a variety wines, even when your first impression of that type of wine may have been "meh".

Regarding Austin Hope being viewed as a "beginner" wine, I don't think that's the right way to view it. Most people in the U.S. "begin" by drinking California wine....because that's what is most widely available here (especially on restaurant lists, etc.). I'm sure many in France might view a Cotes du Rhone, Languedoc wine, or a Medoc wine as a "beginner wine," and their understanding of wine grows from there. That said (and while many here might disagree with this), California wine tends to be more homogeneous in terms of the NUMBER of red grapes widely grown (i.e. it's 90% Cab, Merlot, Pinot and Syrah) and the overall STYLE of wines made. In that context, the primary differentiator between (for example) ten different Cali Cabs is how "big, rich, thick, intense and powerful" they are. It is natural that someone starting with California wines may quickly conclude that "intense and powerful" is what separates a great wine from a lesser wine. To me, that's the trap a lot of people fall into, which is compounded by the fact that many of the "wine critics" tend to score wine the same way, awarding rich, intense, powerful wines with huge scores.

Imagine thinking that the best donut was the one with the most sugar inside and the most icing on top....

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Re: Austin Hope, anyone?

#17 Post by larry schaffer »

John Kight wrote: January 11th, 2021, 11:32 am
Bob W wrote: January 11th, 2021, 9:16 am Thanks for the responses, all! I wondered if this would be the case - consensus being it's a "beginner" wine. Shows why I like it I guess! It'll be interesting to see if my tastes change to not being a fan over time.
Your tastes are guaranteed to change over time if you continue to drink some combination of "what you like now" and a variety of other wines as well. Many people (understandably) skip this last step, and if you mostly only drink what you like today, then your tastes are less likely to change.....The key (as with the evolution of anyone's taste for different foods over time) is to keep an open mind, and continue to taste a variety wines, even when your first impression of that type of wine may have been "meh".

Regarding Austin Hope being viewed as a "beginner" wine, I don't think that's the right way to view it. Most people in the U.S. "begin" by drinking California wine....because that's what is most widely available here (especially on restaurant lists, etc.). I'm sure many in France might view a Cotes du Rhone, Languedoc wine, or a Medoc wine as a "beginner wine," and their understanding of wine grows from there. That said (and while many here might disagree with this), California wine tends to be more homogeneous in terms of the NUMBER of red grapes widely grown (i.e. it's 90% Cab, Merlot, Pinot and Syrah) and the overall STYLE of wines made. In that context, the primary differentiator between (for example) ten different Cali Cabs is how "big, rich, thick, intense and powerful" they are. It is natural that someone starting with California wines may quickly conclude that "intense and powerful" is what separates a great wine from a lesser wine. To me, that's the trap a lot of people fall into, which is compounded by the fact that many of the "wine critics" tend to score wine the same way, awarding rich, intense, powerful wines with huge scores.

Imagine thinking that the best donut was the one with the most sugar inside and the most icing on top....
John,

Great points - but you do understand that a lot of folks out there DO feel that the best donut is the one that has the most sugar inside and most icing on top, right? It is not 'wrong' for them to have this feeling - 'best' is such a subjective term that folks constantly try to objectify (not saying you are whatsoever).

And yep, 'rich, thick, intense and powerful' wines are popular with reviewers - and many on this board as well. There are plenty of examples of wines that can be pointed out here on this board that are loved by many that quite a few would put in this category . . .

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Re: Austin Hope, anyone?

#18 Post by Bob W »

Really enjoying this conversation. Thanks all! Learning a lot.
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Re: Austin Hope, anyone?

#19 Post by J. Rock »

If you like it, it's a good wine (for you). Don't question your taste because others have different opinions.

If you like Austin Hope Cab and Mourvedre a lot and you want to find other wines you like, I think you'll likely enjoy bigger reds from Paso Robles (e.g., Epoch Estate, L'Aventure Optimus, Turtle Rock, etc.) and more modern styled Cabs from Napa (e.g., Myriad, Caterwaul, Eylse [once the 2018 comes out], etc.).
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Re: Austin Hope, anyone?

#20 Post by Mike R »

I've always called this "baby Caymus" because it tastes so similar. Not a fan of it, but if you like Caymus you'll like this too (at half the price!)
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Re: Austin Hope, anyone?

#21 Post by G. D y e r »

Bob W wrote: January 11th, 2021, 9:16 am Thanks for the responses, all! I wondered if this would be the case - consensus being it's a "beginner" wine. Shows why I like it I guess! It'll be interesting to see if my tastes change to not being a fan over time.
I don't think it's necessarily a beginner wine. The vast majority of "beginner wines" are either balanced, but dull or intense, but unbalanced. They either are so innocuous they fade into the background or have so much of everything that their flaws are more readily masked.

My impression is that AH is not masking flaws with intensity and definitely is not bland. Yet there is also a distinctive "house style."

I'd phrase it this way. Cabernet is the canvas (or one of the canvases) upon which AH expresses their house style. Cabernet is a means to an end--it can support ripeness and provide structure to build a wine of high intensity and richness quite successfully.

Many very experienced drinkers and collectors prefer this paradigm. I have never tasted a Sin Qua Non (SQN) wine, for example, but the descriptions of SQN are clearly of wines where the grape variety provides a scaffolding over which some very exotic and rich producer style is overlaid. For many, it is a unique producer 'personality' that is sought.

The other direction that wine drinkers tend to go over time is looking to experience difference through varied regions and grape varieties. There is a lower level of ripeness and imposition of "house style" where intrinsic character of the grape is on more even footing if not dominant in the wine.

Either way, the tendency is for wine drinkers to expand interests over time, but it's not always in one dimension.
Last edited by G. D y e r on January 11th, 2021, 7:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Austin Hope, anyone?

#22 Post by Bob W »

Thanks again all for the thoughtful replies. I really do appreciate it. Love this place.
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Re: Austin Hope, anyone?

#23 Post by Ben M a n d l e r »

About three years ago I served the 2015 AH Cab blind at a tasting to a group of 30 casual wine drinkers, most of whom would say they know they like red or white better, maybe some know they like Malbec or Chardonnay. You get the gist. None were experienced tasters. I served it alongside 2015 Chateau d’Armailhac. Both $50 wines, very different in style. I’d say the Austin Hope was the clear favorite of maybe 25% of the group, some of whom absolutely loved it. Another 25% liked both equally. Everyone recognized the clear stylistic differences between the two.

I don’t personally enjoy drinking Austin Hope wines very much, but I understand and respect the tastes of those who do.
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Re: Austin Hope, anyone?

#24 Post by Bob W »

Ben M a n d l e r wrote: January 11th, 2021, 8:31 pm About three years ago I served the 2015 AH Cab blind at a tasting to a group of 30 casual wine drinkers, most of whom would say they know they like red or white better, maybe some know they like Malbec or Chardonnay. You get the gist. None were experienced tasters. I served it alongside 2015 Chateau d’Armailhac. Both $50 wines, very different in style. I’d say the Austin Hope was the clear favorite of maybe 25% of the group, some of whom absolutely loved it. Another 25% liked both equally. Everyone recognized the clear stylistic differences between the two.

I don’t personally enjoy drinking Austin Hope wines very much, but I understand and respect the tastes of those who do.
I just put Chateau d’Armailhac on my shopping list!
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#25 Post by JDVanHoose »

Bob W wrote: January 10th, 2021, 2:53 pm I don't see much talk about Austin Hope around here. Curious why that is. I love it, but then I'm a newb to the world of wine. Every time we have one of their wines, whether it's their Cab, Cab Reserve, Mourvedre, Liberty School, Harvester (especially the Estrella) or Troublemaker, my wife and I always thoroughly enjoy every one. So I'm curious, any other fans, or just me?

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#26 Post by Bob W »

JDVanHoose wrote: January 11th, 2021, 8:56 pm By the way, love your backyard view!
Hey thanks!
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Re: Austin Hope, anyone?

#27 Post by Greg Smith »

larry schaffer wrote: January 11th, 2021, 10:04 am
Bob W wrote: January 11th, 2021, 9:16 am Thanks for the responses, all! I wondered if this would be the case - consensus being it's a "beginner" wine. Shows why I like it I guess! It'll be interesting to see if my tastes change to not being a fan over time.
Bob,

I wouldn't necessarily categorize these as 'beginner' wines whatsoever. The vocal group here on WB tend to 'look down upon' riper, more oaky wines in general - but that does not mean that the median wine consumer out in the world beyond this website does whatsoever. Austin and his family have been making consistent wines for quite some time - well before Paso has the reputation that it does. Ultimately, if it's a style you like, you should feel empowered that these wines are readily available and fairly priced . . .

Just another opinion out there - but just because WBs don't 'like' something or it isn't to 'their tastes' does not mean it's a lesser wine [snort.gif] champagne.gif [wow.gif] [stirthepothal.gif]

Cheers
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Re: Austin Hope, anyone?

#28 Post by John Kight »

larry schaffer wrote: January 11th, 2021, 11:59 am John,

Great points - but you do understand that a lot of folks out there DO feel that the best donut is the one that has the most sugar inside and most icing on top, right? It is not 'wrong' for them to have this feeling - 'best' is such a subjective term that folks constantly try to objectify (not saying you are whatsoever).

And yep, 'rich, thick, intense and powerful' wines are popular with reviewers - and many on this board as well. There are plenty of examples of wines that can be pointed out here on this board that are loved by many that quite a few would put in this category . . .
Agreed...However, I would say that experience with drinking a variety of wines and education about wine tends to change people's subjective idea of what is good. While "rich, thick, intense and powerful" certainly doesn't mean that a wine is less good (even to me), I do believe that with experience, these characteristics cease to be a "stand-in" for "good wine". There are plenty of wines I love that have these descriptors, but they are not the REASON I love the wines. And, as you say, there's noting wrong with folks who believe a wine is good just because it has high alcohol and density. But in my experience, people who taste a lot of wine over time, stop viewing such characteristics as inherently making the wine "delicious".

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Re: Austin Hope, anyone?

#29 Post by Bob W »

Ben M a n d l e r wrote: January 11th, 2021, 8:31 pm About three years ago I served the 2015 AH Cab blind at a tasting to a group of 30 casual wine drinkers, most of whom would say they know they like red or white better, maybe some know they like Malbec or Chardonnay. You get the gist. None were experienced tasters. I served it alongside 2015 Chateau d’Armailhac. Both $50 wines, very different in style. I’d say the Austin Hope was the clear favorite of maybe 25% of the group, some of whom absolutely loved it. Another 25% liked both equally. Everyone recognized the clear stylistic differences between the two.

I don’t personally enjoy drinking Austin Hope wines very much, but I understand and respect the tastes of those who do.
After reading your comment I had "Chateau d’Armailhac" on the brain so I swung by Total Wine today and grabbed a 2017. It's delish! Really enjoying it. Obviously a completely different animal than Austin Hope (any of them) - I'm getting a lot more layers, or "dimension" from this. There's just a lot more to pick apart. I don't know that I like it more than AH, but I can see being in a mood for this one night, and in the mood for the other another night. Same thing with my bourbon and scotch library; some nights I want a pour of Pappy, some nights I want a Glendronach. Completely different taste profiles, but neither is bad by any stretch in my opinion.

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Re: Austin Hope, anyone?

#30 Post by JosephW »

Bob W wrote: January 11th, 2021, 9:16 am Thanks for the responses, all! I wondered if this would be the case - consensus being it's a "beginner" wine. Shows why I like it I guess! It'll be interesting to see if my tastes change to not being a fan over time.
I think people are confusing ‘beginner’ with an ‘approachable’ wine.

Austin Hope is a crowd pleaser. It is complex enough that their own style comes out and it offers something that I instantly pick up as unique to Paso cab.

Is it some multi-layered work of art that evolves greatly in the glass? No. But you don’t need to be an expert in nuance to see why it’s good and that in of itself shows it is a well made wine when drinkers across the spectrum can enjoy it.
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Re: Austin Hope, anyone?

#31 Post by Karl F »

Bob W wrote: January 12th, 2021, 6:38 pm
Ben M a n d l e r wrote: January 11th, 2021, 8:31 pm About three years ago I served the 2015 AH Cab blind at a tasting to a group of 30 casual wine drinkers, most of whom would say they know they like red or white better, maybe some know they like Malbec or Chardonnay. You get the gist. None were experienced tasters. I served it alongside 2015 Chateau d’Armailhac. Both $50 wines, very different in style. I’d say the Austin Hope was the clear favorite of maybe 25% of the group, some of whom absolutely loved it. Another 25% liked both equally. Everyone recognized the clear stylistic differences between the two.

I don’t personally enjoy drinking Austin Hope wines very much, but I understand and respect the tastes of those who do.
After reading your comment I had "Chateau d’Armailhac" on the brain so I swung by Total Wine today and grabbed a 2017. It's delish! Really enjoying it. Obviously a completely different animal than Austin Hope (any of them) - I'm getting a lot more layers, or "dimension" from this. There's just a lot more to pick apart. I don't know that I like it more than AH, but I can see being in a mood for this one night, and in the mood for the other another night. Same thing with my bourbon and scotch library; some nights I want a pour of Pappy, some nights I want a Glendronach. Completely different taste profiles, but neither is bad by any stretch in my opinion.

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OK....That's It!

I'm opening one of my 2012 D'Armailhac's
It was one of the first Bordeaux's I bought and I still have it.
Never tried.
I bought 3 more in NJ recently as the reviews were so enticing I couldn't pass up the price they were going for.

I also have never tried a AH Cab either.
But want to very much.
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Re: Austin Hope, anyone?

#32 Post by John Glas »

When I first started drinking wine I would have loved this wine. As others said sweeter and more oak than what I like now. That being said when I first started drinking wine I drank Dr. Pepper daily so drinking Bordeaux would not have worked. As I stopped drinking soda my tastes did change and I tried the world of wine.

I still like Australian Shiraz but different styles than I first gravitated too. There is good wine around the world from all regions and if you like Austin Hope keep enjoying it but try other regions and see if you like those too.

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Re: Austin Hope, anyone?

#33 Post by Ben M a n d l e r »

Bob W wrote: January 12th, 2021, 6:38 pm
Ben M a n d l e r wrote: January 11th, 2021, 8:31 pm About three years ago I served the 2015 AH Cab blind at a tasting to a group of 30 casual wine drinkers, most of whom would say they know they like red or white better, maybe some know they like Malbec or Chardonnay. You get the gist. None were experienced tasters. I served it alongside 2015 Chateau d’Armailhac. Both $50 wines, very different in style. I’d say the Austin Hope was the clear favorite of maybe 25% of the group, some of whom absolutely loved it. Another 25% liked both equally. Everyone recognized the clear stylistic differences between the two.

I don’t personally enjoy drinking Austin Hope wines very much, but I understand and respect the tastes of those who do.
After reading your comment I had "Chateau d’Armailhac" on the brain so I swung by Total Wine today and grabbed a 2017. It's delish! Really enjoying it. Obviously a completely different animal than Austin Hope (any of them) - I'm getting a lot more layers, or "dimension" from this. There's just a lot more to pick apart. I don't know that I like it more than AH, but I can see being in a mood for this one night, and in the mood for the other another night. Same thing with my bourbon and scotch library; some nights I want a pour of Pappy, some nights I want a Glendronach. Completely different taste profiles, but neither is bad by any stretch in my opinion.

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Totally agree that they're different wines for different purposes. Glad to hear you like the both of them - bodes well for finding more gems in the future :-)
ITB

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