Friday, November 5, 2010


Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon

The Hope Family has been growing grapes in Paso Robles, California since 1978.  The Liberty School brand has been around since the 1980s, when Chuck Wagner of Napa Valley's Caymus Winery selected the Hope Family Vineyard as the source for his second label Cabernet.  The Hopes established their own winery - Treana - in 1996 and later took over the Liberty School label.  Since then, they have added a Central Coast Chardonnay, Syrah and Cuvee to the Liberty School line.

Last year I discovered on a trip to Las Vegas that Liberty School was the house wine at the Eastside Cannery Casino.  I thought then that it was a pretty good wine - especially considering it was going for only $6 per glass in that casino.  Now, Hope Family Wines has supplied me with a sample of their newly released 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon for review.

Still a bargain, the Liberty School Cab retails for twelve dollars per bottle.

The winemaker notes explain the wine is "barreled down by individual vineyard lots in a combination of French and American oak barrels, 10% of which are new.  The wine is aged 12 months and blended three months prior to bottling."

The nose is rather rustic, a quality I like a lot.  There's plenty of earth to go along with the blackberry and cassis aromas and flavors.  The dark fruit on the palate shows a trace of pencil lead that gets a bit stronger over an hour or so after pouring.  This Cab has great acidity and great tannins that speak up but don’t shout.  There is a bit of heat upon opening the bottle, but it dissipates after a time.  The wood effect is present but not overplayed.

I like the Liberty School Cabernet, and for twelve bucks, I’d say it’s a good deal.  It's great with steak, by the way, and considering its structure, it should work well with a variety of meats.

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