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by Tom Hill

A self-admitted wine geek, Tom lives in Northern New Mexico and works as a computational physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory doing numerical neutron transport & large scale code development. He has been tasting wines since 1971, participates locally with a couple of large tasting groups in his area, and is practically a fixture at most California wine festivals, such as the Hospice du Rhône, Rhône Rangers, and ZAP. Other interests: Tom is heavily into competitive sport fencing (foil & epee), biking, cooking, basketball, skiing, backpacking, mountain climbing.

Some New Forlorn-Hope Wines - July 3, 2013

We tried last night (7/3/13) Some New Forlorn-Hope Whites:

  1. Forlorn-Hope Norgard CheninBlanc NorgardRanch/TalmageBench/Mendocino (47 cs; 14.3%; aged
    20 mo. in neutral oak) 2011
    : Light gold slightly cloudy color; slight cider/phenolic rather fragrant/
    floral/melony/CB/spicy slight earthy/pungent/trumpet valve oil delicate/pretty very attractive nose;
    quite tart bit metallic/steely tangy/grapefruity/chalky light floral/spicy/melony/CB flavor; med.long
    delicate/racy bright/melony/floral/CB slight earthy/chalky/flinty tangy/grapefruity finish; a very pretty/
    elegant/delicate rendition of CB; not the minerality of Loire nor the usual tutti-fruity of many Calif
    CBs; those nose suggests a skin-contact white but the palate has no phenolic/tannic character. $30.00
  2. ChaloneVnyd CheninBlanc EstateGrown/Chalone (#0415 of 2735 btls; 9 Fr.oak brls; 14.4%;
    www.ChaloneVineyard.com) 2007
    : Light gold color; fragrant melony/chalky/CB some pungent/ sauerkrauty rather attractive nose; fairly tart pretty melony/CB/spicy/chalky light butterscotch/pungent flavor; long bright/melony/CB some chalky/mineral light butterscotch elegant finish; quite an elegant/ interesting pretty Calif CB w/o the typical tutti-fruity character. $16.00 (CB)
  3. PaulMas Estate Picpoul de Pinet Ad'OP: Coteaux du Languedoc (13%; www.PaulMas.com) Pezenas 2011: Light gold color; light fragrant/lemony/mango some stony/chalky rather perfumed nose; soft fairly lush/ripe mango/fruity/lemony bit chalky/stony bit weak/dilute flavor; med.short soft/lush/diffuse/weak light lemony/mango/gruity slight chalky/stony finish; a bit like a honeyed Roussanne; some on the soft/diffuse side on the palate but an attractive nose and a good price. $15.00 (AV)
  4. Forlorn-Hope Picpoul HaugVnyd/Rutherford/NapaVlly (17 cs; 12.48%) 2012: Med.light yellow color; quite spicy/fruity/bit grapefruity slight R-like/valve oil some peppery/GV-like quite fragrant nose; quite tart/
    tangy/grapefruity bit metallic spicy/fruity/grapefruity some lemony/peppery/GV-like flavor; long tart/tangy
    slight GV-like/peppery/pungent/spicy bit tangy/grapefruity/metallic finish; a rather interesting tangy kind
    of white but nothing profound; prefer the TablasCreek rendition of Picpoul. $25.00
  5. Forlorn-Hope LaGitana Torrontes SilvaspoonsVnyd/AltaMesa/Lodi/Calif (77 cs; 12.85%) Fairfield 2012: Pale yellow color; some spicy/lemony/Torrontes/floral very slight musty/subdued/corked slight GWT-like/hair oil nose; soft lush some floral/Torrontes/lemony some hair oil/GWT rather attractive spicy rich flavor; very long soft light lemony/Torr/floral light GWT-hair oil finish; quite a lovely flavor but the nose
    seems a bit subdued/supressed by the TCA. $22.00
  6. Forlorn-Hope Kirschenman PinotGris KirschenmannVnyd/Lodi (47 cs; 11.97%; TeganPassalacqua vnyd)2012: Some orange/burniished bronze color; very strong very perfumed/PG/alpine flowers/spicy/ exotic some phenolic/cidery/earthy nose; beautiful exotic/alpine strawberries/floral/PG/spicy/cinammon slight tannic/phenolic/cidery rather soft very unusual flavor; very long very spicy/alpine strawberries/ PG/floral soft/lush/rich somewhat tannic/phenolic/cider finish; a very unusual rendition of PG. $30.00
  7. Forlorn-Hope QueSaudade Calif Verdelho (217 cs; 13.9%) MatthewRorick/Fairfield 2011: Med.light gold bit cloudy color; lovely floral/aromatic/Verdelho/carnations/spicy/creamy slight mineral/stony very perfumed nose; rather tart very spicy/floral/Verdelho/carnations buttery/creamy bit mineral/stony/saline beautiful huge fruit flavor; very long intense spicy/floral/carnations/Verdelho creamy slight stony/mineral finish; huge/powerful fruit but w/ an underlying structure/acidity to it; this is probably the best Amador White I've ever had other than a few Viogniers. $28.00
  8. Forlorn-Hope Batiscafo Verdelho DeWittVnyd/AmadorCnty (27 cs; 14.7%; finest brl of QueSaudade;
    aged xtra yr w/o topping or added SO2) 2011
    : Med.gold slightly cloudy color; much more subdued some
    pencilly/pungent less floral/Verdelho rather complex rather exotic nose; softer some floral/carnations
    rather lush exotic/spicy bit pencilly/pungent some creamy exotic flavor; very long lightly tart slight
    pencilly/pungent/smokey bit saline light floral/carnations/creamy slight stony/saline complex finish w/
    a trace of oxidation in the backtaste; lacks the huge fruit of the regular and more subdued/complex;
    pretty exotic wine a bit on the pricey side. $50.00
  9. Forlorn-Hope Sihaya RibollaGialla VareVnyd/NapaVlly (12.10%; 27 cs; 2 weeks frmtd on skins;
    www.ForlornHopeWines.com) 2011
    : Light gold color; some phenolic/apple cider slight peppery/ pungent/RG slight volatile/aromatic very perfumed beautiful exotic nose; tart quite phenolic/cidery rather tannic slight bitter slight oxidized/honeyed rather peppery/floral/RG exotic flavor; long slight peppery/ RG/floral rather phenolic/cider some tannic bit bitter rather exotic finish; probably needs some age; a rather exotic white; love the nose but rather phenolic on the palate; seems mid-way between a Movia (skin-contact Lite) and a Gravner (w/o the oxidation); actually pretty close to OliverMcCrum's Skerk wines. $29.00
  10. Ryme RibollaGialla VareVnyd/NapaVlly (13.9%; 44 cs) 2010: Med.dark bit bronze color that suggests some skin contact; strong phenolic/cidery/apple cider rather honeyed/peppery very exotic nose; very tart quite phenolic/apple cider some honeyed/peppery/mead-like quite rich rather tannic/bitter slight oxidized flavor; very long strong phenolic/apple cider/mead-like bit honeyed/peppery rich finish w/ slight oxidation; quite unusual/exotic RG that reminds me a lot of the Vodopivec Vitovska than anything; interesting to see how it will evolve; I'm clueless. $40.00
  11. Forlorn-Hope Kumo To Ame Rose Wine DeWittVnyd/AmadorCnty (117 cs; 11.33%; Touriga Nacional/ TintaRoriz/ TintaCao/TintaAmarella; early picked) 2012: Med.gold bit bronze quite light color; rather stony/dusty/earthy some spicy/cinammon bit strawberry almost Provence/Rousillon-like quite fragrant nose; quite tart rather austere bit pungent/spicy/cinammon light strawberry/cranberry/floral some dusty/earthy/stony flavor; long tangy/metallic very spicy/cinammon/strawberry/watermelon some stony/earthy/dusty bit tannic rather austere finish; not a lot of perfumed fruit to it and a stony/austere character like some Rousillon whites; not a rose to sip but needs some garliky oysters to go with it; quite unusual/austere for a Calif rose. $25.00
  12. Forlorn-Hope TrouGrit TrousseauGris KingAndrewsVnyd/SuisunVlly/SolanoCnty (34 cs; 10.57%;
    3 yr old vines) 2012
    : Med.gold rather burnshed/bronze color; strong phenolic/apple cider/mead some
    earthy/dusty quite exotic complex nose; soft somewhat tangy/metallic/grapefruity rather tannic/phenolic/
    cidery slight bitter rather earthy/dusty slight strawberry/floral rather complex flavor; long quite
    phenolic/tannic/cidery/mead-like bit bitter slight strawberry/floral/earthy/stony finish; quite exotic
    nose but a bit tough on the palate; interesting to see where this will go. $25.00

And the usual blather from TheBloodyPulpit:

1. Chalone: Thiis is a wine I've been drinking w/ great relish over the last yr, since DarrellCorti
brought it in. It is from the last crop of the original CB vines planted at Chalone in the 1920's. I'd
never picked up the pungent/sauerkrauty character in the nose before, but it still has that elegant/
pretty CB fruit on the palate.
2. Kirschenman: This is the first wine I've had from KirscenmanVnyd, a old vine vnyd Tegan Passalacqua bought about a yr ago. It has some beautiful old-vine Zin on it that some has gone to Mike and Morgan, I believe. Didn't know they had PG on it nor the age of the vines.

This was a very exotic rendition of PG, because of the (presumed) skin contact. Very strong aromatics,
but also that phenolic character. I think I would have liked a bit more acid & brightness on the palate;
it seems a bit like a cold-climate grape grown in a hot climate. It reminded me a lot of the Big Table Farm OR (skin-contact) PG I had a yr ago at ZaZu, but much more impressive aromatics.
3. Verdelho: This was a very interesting comparison. The Bariscafo was Matt's best barrel of Que Saudade that was held out an xtra year in (presumably old/neutral) barrel and not topped up in that time. It reminded me a bit of the Jura sous voile whites, but not the level of oxidation and the fino sherry character thos wines sometimes show. Pretty exotic stuff.
4. Forrest: I'm a huge ForrestGump fan. He had some pretty profound things to say. Take a look:
(http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0109830/quotes). I used the "stupid is as stupid does" on a recent Heimhoff blog post..but it was over everyone's head. Matt's wines brings to mind ForrestGump as well: "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get". That's sorta the way w/ Matt's whites. He likes to play around w/ skin-contact whites.

Sometimes they show a strong phenolic character, sometimes they only hint of that phenolic character.
And sometimes they're huge fruit whites (like the QueSaudade) made to play well in Monktown....if ever they make it back there. The reds are usually more conventional...sometimes more mainstream, sometimes pretty exotic; but always an adventure to try.
5. I've sung the praises of MattRorick's Forlorn-Hope wines before. This was the largest tasting of his whites I've yet had. The ranged from beautiful perfumed/aromatic like the Torrentes/ Verdelho ...proving that Matt can out-slut anyone when it comes to making white wines. To the highly phenolic whites that leave you scratching your head in puzzlement on what he's trying to do here. I, in general, liked these wines quite a lot. Some of my people were not able to warm up to some of them. They're not for everyone. Damned box of chocolates.


[Additional Wine Reviews from Tom Hill]


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