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Produced from only ten blocks of estate grown Chardonnay, employing natural wild yeasts, the 2003 Hope Estate Hunter Valley Chardonnay is no ordinary Australian Chardonnay. Absent is the over the top level of alcohol and copious quantities of raw oak that mar far too many Chardonnays from “Down Under.” Instead, the 2003 Hope Estate is loaded with ripe tropical fruit, a creamy texture, and subtle nutty tones. Both in the nose and on the palate, this Chardonnay remains distinctive and totally natural, right down to the taste of terroir on the finish. In short, it offers more than a glimpse of the hedonistic side of Chardonnay – a side that is sadly far less prevalent today than it used to be. We hope other Australian winemakers will take notice. Enjoy this luscious unique wine well chilled (35°-40° F) and often.
Since the 2003 Hope Estate Hunter Valley Chardonnay is not your typical Chardonnay, it doesn’t call for run of the mill accompaniments. In fact, this wine really doesn’t need much in the way of accompaniments at all. The flavorful, fleshy nature of the Hope Estate Chardonnay provides plenty of easy drinking all by itself. Nevertheless, many interesting, off beat, even spicy concoctions provide excellent companionship for the extroverted Hope Estate Chardonnay. One of our favorite complements to this wine remains Shrimp, with whole wheat pasta, whole plum tomatoes, and red pepper sauce. For an even more intense experience, we suggest substituting a light arrabiata sauce for the sweeter red pepper sauce. Ham, pork tenderloin and most soft, ripe cheeses offer other excellent choices as well. Apples, pears, and pineapples add additional luster. Bon appétit!
Wine has been called “nectar of the gods, a potent elixir, and nature’s own medicine.” For Michael Hope, a successful Sydney pharmacist turned vigneron, wine is all that and more. In 1994, Hope moved his family out of Sydney and up to the bucolic Hunter Valley, with the hope of raising his family in a more rural environment. Immediately, he purchased a pretty piece of vineyard land, and within a couple of years he acquired the adjacent long-shuttered Saxonvale Winery, along with all 200 acres of Saxonvale’s prime vineyard land. In 1997, Hope released his first wine. By 1999 the Hope Estate had already gained a reputation for fashioning some of Hunter Valley’s most popular wines or as Hope himself is fond of saying, “nice, feel good, lifestyle wines that everyone can enjoy.” Hope Estate is located some two and half hours north of Sydney in Australia’s oldest wine producing region. The Hunter is Australia’s Catskills, a dreamy pastoral land of far off Blue Mountains and plenty of legends and lore. It is also a weekend retreat for Sydneyites in search of a little slice of the bush as well as some fine food and a hearty taste of the grape. Hope Estate also offers an excellent restaurant, the Wollemi, that features modern country fare. Hope Estate wines are produced exclusively from Hunter Valley fruit, a rarity oddly enough in the oldest and most established of all Australian wine regions. Chardonnay and Shiraz are this winery’s flagship offerings, but excellent Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Verdelho, are also grown and made here under the watchful eyes of Hope, Neil Orton, Vineyard Manager, and Peter Howland, the estate’s Winemaker. No pun intended, we hope to see a lot more of this estate’s wines in years to come.
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