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Drink for charity!
One Hope, one bottle.

Eight like–minded young business leaders, sales professionals and wine industry folks got together in 2007 with one idea: One Hope Wines.

There are plenty of “cause brands” on the shelves that support a variety of charities. But the One Hope team had another idea –– to help lots of charities.

Since its founding –– and with the wine making assistance of Robert Mondavi, Jr. –– One Hope’s strategy of donating 50 percent of profits had yielded more than $400,000 to its partner charities.

This is not gimmicky wine. I recently sampled three varietals and found them consistent to their pricing –– in the high teens to low $20 range. Mondavi Jr. was wine maker on all three –– and his reputation is a solid enough endorsement.

One Hope 2009 California Chardonnay: This label supports the fight against breast cancer. Mondavi sources grapes from California’s Central Coast, Napa and Sonoma to craft this blend of Chardonnay,  Muscat and Chenin Blanc. Its pale gold color is no hint to the explosion of aromas  –– fresh apple blossom and honeysuckle. Muscat lends sweetness, Chenin Blanc some tartness to a balanced wine rich with crisp pear and apple flavors, mild oak and bright acidity makes.

One Hope 2009 Zinfandel: Military families and veteran causes receive benefits from the sale of this wine. This rich, red wine is loaded with juicy dark fruit flavors –– including plum and black cherry. It also possesses my favorite Zin characteristics: Hints of pepper and a spicy finish. Slightly chilled, its a perfect summer red wine but is highly versatile, pairing with everything from pizza and barbecue ribs to lamb.

One Hope 2009 Merlot: The battle against AIDS gets support from this Merlot. Yeah, the grape has taken a beating, but this bottle joins many other labels of Merlot as being of the best drinking varietals in the domestic market. Its bright cherry color and subtle notes of toasty spice are a result of aging in a combination of American and French oak barrels. This is a rich, luscious wine with enough tannin backbone to stand up to bold meat dishes, hearty pastas in meat sauces and boldly seasoned vegetarian dishes.

There are other varietals and other causes in the One Hope line up. Consult your favorite retailer for others. Locally, the wines are handled by Empire Distributors.