So I've mentioned that I've been to a few industry tastings lately. In doing so I've come across some phenomenal wines. Some wines that I was aware of and have tasted before and some that have eluded even me over the years that I have now had a chance to taste and savor.
One of those that I had the good fortune of sampling was from Forman Vineyards of Napa Valley. Founded in 1983 and near the base of Howell Mountain near St. Helena, Ric Forman set out to create wines of a truly classic and traditional nature. From his association as winemaker at Sterling Vineyards, he also worked at Newton and helped found Duckhorn Vineyards and the prestigious Abreu Vineyards (you may remember my blog about my tasting that 200 Point Wine). He oversees every detail of wine production. This is what is meant by "handcrafted."
Now if knowing about him wasn't good enough, Ric was actually at the tastings and pouring his wines as well. There's that "what makes wine taste even better" philosophy of mine. Now if you thought things couldn't get any better, as I first thought, I met his wife, Cheryl. Her last name is the real key "Emmolo." Yes, that's the founder of the Emmolo wines; those wonderful Sauvignon Blancs and Merlots, now in the capable hands of her daughter Jenny Wagner (okay this is getting to be almost too much) of the Wagner Family fame (think Caymus et al). That's what I call keeping things in the family. So not to get lost, Cheryl was there as well pouring. They had her and Ric's newest project, Rossi-Wallace there to sample.
The Forman line of wines is pretty small, only two wines; a Chardonnay and a Cabernet, both were there to taste.
Starting with the Chardonnay, and admittedly by Ric, it is done in a Chablis style. Whole cluster pressed and fermented and aged in Burgandy barrels for 9 months, with no malolactic fermentation to retain its crisp acidity, the wine showed nice notes of fruit and a hint of minerality. Wonderful and perfect for lighter fare.
I had a hard time containing myself over the Cabernet. Knowing how great the 2013 vintage was, I wanted to see if 2014 followed suit. It Did! Showing only a slightly more subtle style than 2013 made the wine approachable in its infancy, cellering should only add to the nuances already present. Identified as a Cabernet the wine does see the French influence brought by Ric. With vines of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot and if memory serves maybe some Malbec, blending is key in the equation.
The only thing about all this was that it was the first table I went to during the tasting, and while there were a number of excellent wines there, it made it difficult not to have them overshadowed by the wines of Forman Vineyards.
Availability on both wines is somewhat limited. With a total production of around 3,000 cases, you may have to dig around to find it locally. If that fails, contact the winery by clicking here to order.