Treana White 2010, Paso Robles

Cost: $20-22

What: Hope Family Wines make many spectacular wines, including one in the most recent Wine Spectator Top 100, but Treana White may be their best in terms of quality for the dollar.

This is not a wimpy, lightweight white that gets overshadowed by what’s on the table. It’s a white wine that red wine drinkers also will enjoy. The Rhone style blend of 50% Viognier and 50% Marsanne is a great food wine.

The 2010 vintage shows a deep straw color and has lush floral and tropical aromas. The peach and tropical flavors have a depth and richness usually found only in much more expensive wines. The flavors unfold like layers as you drink the wine over time.

Treana White

The finish is long and  smooth, with some notes of herbs and ground pepper. Good acidity gives it a nice balance. The viscous mouthfeel gives it some weight, which combined with the acidity allows it to stand up to some substantial meals.

The winery says Treana symbolizes the three natural elements that make Paso Robles and the Central Coast an outstanding wine region: sun, soil and ocean. It is hard to argue with their reasoning because you can taste all three influences in this wine.

The Hopes start with great grapes and then they do interesting things with their various wines. For the Treana 75% of the juice was put in French oak barrels for fermentation. The wine was then aged on its lees for nine months. The remaining 25% was fermented and aged in stainless steel and then blended with the barrel-aged wine two months prior to bottling.

The result seems to capture the best of both fermentation styles. There is the lean, clean stainless steel imprint with the lushness and intensity of oak aging.

The grapes come from top vineyards in Monterey County, most notably the Mer Soleil Vineyard. The cool climate allows for an exceptionally long growing season — plenty of time for the grapes to hang on the vine and concentrate their flavors without losing essential acidity.

When I visited the winery a couple of years ago we tasted a 10-year-old Treana that shattered most of my notions about white whine. Though the color was darker than the current Treana, it tasted as fresh as the day it was bottled, but with a depth of flavor seldom seen in a white wine. I have bought some with the intention of cellaring them and surprising people, but it is such a good wine I have trouble hanging on to them for more than two or three years.

Winery: The Hope family has been growing grapes in Paso Robles since 1978 and making its own wine for about 20 years. They make beautiful wines under five different labels and several price points.

Besides Treana White and Red, the labels are Austin Hope, Candor, Liberty School and Troublemaker.  The Austin Hope Syrah 2010 made this year’s Wine Spectator Top 100 wines. (I raved about it in a column last May.)

The Hopes put their priority on farming quality fruit and it shows through in their wines. At first they sold grapes to other wineries, mostly in other regions. Then in the early 1990s the family introduced the Hope Family Farm label for their estate wines. Treana was established in 1996.

They were among the pioneers to recognize Paso Robles as a great region for wine, and it is now recognized as one of  the world’s great wine regions.  

Here is what they say on their web site: “The name Treana symbolizes a trinity of natural elements – the sun, the soil, and the ocean – elements that make Paso Robles, and the rest of the Central Coast, an exceptional area for wine grapes.

“Treana wines reflect local geography and climate: rolling hills, calcareous soils, sunny summer days tempered by cool afternoon ocean breezes and as much as forty-degree temperatures swings between day and night. The grapes respond accordingly, with good sugar levels and balanced acids.”

The winery also built a beautiful tasting room that is open on Friday and Saturday and by appointment on Thursday.

Goes with: My wife Teri and I had the Treana with grilled salmon covered in lemon juice and chopped basil, with wild rice and peas on the side. It was spectacular. Grilled salmon needs a heartier white wine or even a light red wine to stand up to the strong flavor.

Treana White was the perfect match. The tropical fruit flavors and viscous mouthfeel really brought out the great flavor of the salmon, and didn’t overpower the rice. Everything seemed in balance.

This would be a good wine throughout the holidays. You could pair it with turkey, ham, all kinds of grilled chicken or grilled vegetables or fish.

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