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Troublemaker Blend 4 Paso Robles 

One of several excellent quality wines made by winemaker Austin Hope, this wine is well worth seeking out. I have always loved Rhone blends, although the stand-alone varieties are equally remarkable. This cuvée of 67 percent Syrah, 22 percent Mourvedre, 8 percent Grenache, and 3 percent Petite Sirah impressed me. It’s also a multi-vintage, a blend of red varieties from the 2010 and 2011 vintages. Beautifully balanced, without any hot notes at 14.5 percent alcohol, the tannins are high but this rustic wine is drinkable now. I enjoyed its dusty plum notes with tangy blackberries, spice, black pepper, smoky meat, and earthy notes. It was delicious with my Mexican chicken salad with black beans, corn, and avocado, and it will pair quite well with grilled steaks and roasted game. Available at the Hope Family tasting room just off Hwy. 46 West, it’s a very good buy at $20 retail.

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