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Wine Time

Dennis Sodomka is a guest columnist | Contact Dennis

Wine Time: Treana Red 2009, Paso Robles

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COST: $34-$36

WHAT: This silky, smooth beauty brings a smile to your face almost as soon as you open the bottle. The deep red color and aromas of strawberry and plum start the senses going even before you taste the wine.

The taste is spectacular, with lots of complex fruit and herb flavors rolling over your tongue. It’s one of those great wines that keeps changing in the glass, getting better and better. Some of the flavors I picked up were cherry, cocoa, anise and plums. There is a long, smooth finish that fills your mouth.

It is an incredibly pleasant wine, with no harsh edges. Everything blends together perfectly. I would open the wine 30 minutes before drinking.

The wine is a blend of 70 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 30 percent Syrah, fermented individually in open-top, stainless steel tanks for 14-20 days. Pump-overs and long macerations brought out more color and tannins. Each varietal was aged separately in 50 percent new French oak barrels for nine months. After blending, the wine spent another five months in barrels.

The Hope Family first made this wine in 1996, after 15 years of growing grapes in Paso Robles. They were among the first in the area to release a premium red blend. Today that style is known as a “Super Paso,” and is very popular.

The Treana Red highlights the best of Cabernet Sauvignon’s robust flavors, but the Syrah smooths everything out. It’s a powerhouse wine with a great deal of finesse. It should cellar well for another seven to 10 years.

“We walk the fine line all California winemakers walk,” says Austin Hope, “aiming for wine that’s not over the top, not all lushness, but with some grace and elegance.”

The company also produces Treana White, a 50-50 blend of Marsanne and Viognier. It is an outstanding wine, one of my favorites.

WINERY: When the Hope family moved to Paso Robles in 1978 to grow grapes, they made farming quality fruit a top priority. They became one of a handful of pioneering families who helped shape the region that has gained widespread recognition for quality.

At first their fruit was bought mainly by wineries outside the region. Then in the early 1990s, the family began producing estate wines under the Hope Family Farms label. They decided that Paso Robles was better suited to produce bold red wines that can compete on an international level.

Their other high quality labels are Liberty School, Austin Hope, Troublemaker and Candor.

QR codes are placed on the back of the Candor bottles. Scanning the codes with a smart phone takes you to funny, entertaining videos, but they get important points across about the wines.

GOES WITH: Teri and I had this with breaded pork tenderloin cutlets that I made from a recipe my mother and grandmother used when I was a child. It’s one of those comfort foods that always evokes pleasant memories. I added to that pleasure with another culinary delight from my childhood: potato pancakes.

The Treana was a perfect complement to the meal, bringing out the best of the pork and potatoes.

I think it also would go well with grilled steak, veal chops, roast chicken, roast duck, grilled cheese sandwiches and many lighter beef dishes.

WINE EVENTS

MARCH 15
Wine and tapas tasting,
5-6:30 p.m., La Maison on Telfair, 404 Telfair St.; four wines and three tapas, $19.99; (706) 722-4805
Wine tasting,
5-8 p.m., Wine World, 133 Georgia Ave., North Augusta; three white wines and three reds, plus cheese; $5, with $3 rebate on purchase of one bottle of the featured wines; (803) 279-9522

MARCH 16
Wine and beer tasting,
4:30-6:30 p.m., Vineyard Wine Market, 4414 Evans to Locks Road, Evans; price dependent on flight selection; (706) 922-9463

MARCH 17
Wine and beer tasting,
1-6 p.m., Vineyard Wine Market, 4414 Evans to Locks Road, Evans; price dependent on flight selection; (706) 922-9463

APRIL 6
First Friday wine tasting,
5-8 p.m., Wine World, 133 Georgia Ave., North Augusta; three white wines and three reds, plus cheese; $5, with $3 rebate on the purchase of one bottle of the featured wines; (803) 279-9522


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