The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2015

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Page 98 of 136

98  /  the tasting panel  /  december 2015 PASO ROBLES while picking earlier from warmer districts like Estrella in the warmer Eastern Ranges. "It's a myth that the region's top wines are only sourced from certain districts," said Hope, who wants to have the most options on hand when it's time to blend. Hope works closely with Director of Winemaking Jason "JC" Diefenderfer, who has had a hand in making Hope Family wines since 1998. He describes Diefenderfer as an "analytical wine- maker," which is evidenced by the proprietary technology that's in place at the winery. JC's elegant solutions are the result of challenges to improve sustainability—85% of their fruit is SIP-certified—and wine quality and he succeeds on all accounts. Filtration, a standard practice that often adversely impacts quality, takes on a whole new meaning with a proprietary crossflow system designed by Diefenderfer and Stefano Migotto at Winetech. "Skillful filtering can make a clean wine taste even better," he said. But the true test of quality in Bordeaux varieties at any price point comes down to tannin. And it's here where Hope's lifelong familiarity with how the variety performs across the AVA and Diefenderfer's astute management of tannins in the cellar have earned the Liberty School 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon and the Liberty School 2014 Merlot their gold stars. Second-generation winegrower Austin Hope. "BUILDING THE REGION HAS BEEN LIKE RIDING A ROLLERCOASTER"

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