An artful blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (50%) and Carmenère (50%), the 2003 Guelbenzu Hoppe is well endowed with a dense, profound, nearly opaque royal robe, opulent fruit, and subtle but complex earth tones that recall top notch classified Bordeaux. The product of an excellent estate as well as one of Chile’s finest vintages in recent memory, the 2003 Hoppe is nothing short of masterful. The sensual scents of Cabernet and Carmenère play beautifully off of one another, creating a feast for the nose. Blackberry, plum, dark Belgian chocolate, and roasted coffee cascade from the glass. In addition, a set of rich, well-delineated flavors fill the mouth and leave the senses begging for more. Full but quite textured, a myriad of complex flavors well up from the depths of the Hoppe: black fruits, chocolate, fennel, and spicy oak come readily to mind. In the finish, this lush, highly textured red is complete; it makes its exit with rich, ripe tannins that complement the wine’s luxurious fruit. Although beautiful to drink now, the 2003 Hoppe will continue to improve in bottle for at least several more years. Serve the 2003 Guelbenzu Hoppe a little above cellar temperature (about 65?F), and allow it to breathe for at least ten or fifteen minutes before serving.
The noble pairing of Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenère provides both strength and grace to the 2003 Guelbenzu Hoppe. It also allows for great versatility when choosing accompaniments. Grilled lamb or beef, pungent meat and vegetable stew, and most highly charged vegetarian recipes all pair well with this wine. Consequently, traditional Chilean dishes, such as Pastel del Choclo; a delicious meat and vegetable pot pie; Cheese Empanadas; and Lomo, Chilean barbecued beef, constitute favored choices with Guelbenzu’s latest success. Southern Italian cooking provides other desirable backdrops to the Hoppe: Roast leg of lamb encrusted with black olive paste, Eggplant Parmigiana, and Sausage and Peppers are all tried and true accompaniments to this wine. And if you are looking to elevate some lowly, but tasty bean dish or a mid week meatloaf, the 2003 Hoppe more than fills the bill; it can turn an ordinary Wednesday into a holiday. In addition, the 2003 Hoppe offers an excellent dinner party selection with classic, more complex fare, so as you like it. Enjoy!
For centuries, the Guelbenzu family of Navarra, Spain has enjoyed great acclaim for their innovative, award winning wines. As far back as 1851and the First Universal Exposition in London (the forerunner of the World’s Fair), Don Miquel Guelbenzu was wowing audiences with his remarkably rich, atypical Navarra wines, at a time when Navarra was hardly a household word. A graduate of the Sorbonne with a degree in Chemistry, Don Miquel went on to great critical and commercial success in Navarra; his wines won gold medals in all of Europe’s most illustrious competitions. This includes gold at the Exposition Universelle Bordeaux, then the world’s most prestigious wine fair. Therefore, it is in the spirit and tradition of Don Miquel that in 1980 his eight great-grandchildren pooled their financial resources and resurrected their ancestor’s great Spanish wine estate, thereby restoring the legacy and good name of their famous forefather. But the story and the glory only begin here. In 2002, the Guelbenzu family once again struck gold. They formed a partnership with the Hoppe family in Chile, and together this erudite union gave birth to Hoppe and Bodegas Guelbenzu-Chile. A joint venture with the Hoppe family of Rancagua, Guelbenzu Hoppe’s Chilean vineyards are all located near the village of Peralillo, in the heart of the Valle de Colchagua. Colchagua is the source of most of Chile’s finest and most concentrated red wines. Here, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and increasingly Carmenère (Chile’s intense, unique red varietal that once played a significant role in Bordeaux, its ancestral home, prior to the mid 19th century and the phylloxera epidemic) reign supreme. In addition, Colchagua is now home to excellent Syrah, Malbec, and other red grape varietals. Recently, Colchagua has begun making its mark with white wines, too, by fashioning compelling Viogniers. In all, the Hoppe Estate vineyard estate comprises 425 acres of some of Chile’s best vineyard land. Hoppe is the bodega’s flagship wine; it is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenère.
Given the opulent flavor and texture of the 2003 Guelbenzu Hoppe, it offers an excellent accompaniment to hand crafted cheeses, especially at the end of a meal. Some particularly fine pairings include Aged Cheddar, Smoked Gouda, and Havarti. Manchego also provides a veritable treat and a crowning touch to a superb dinner party, especially when accompanied by a glass of Hoppe. To find out more about exceptional international cheeses and pairings, visit our In Pursuit of Cheese website at www.cheesemonthclub.com
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