Tuesday, 26 April 2016

RWF 2016 Matthew Rorick

Matthew at the Real Wine Fair, 2016

Making straight for the US tables at the very back of the furthest room at Tobacco Dock we were surprised and delighted to see Forlorn Hope represented. At the risk of repeating ourselves we have been attempting to buy bottles of any of the dozen wines they have made as and when the opportunity has arisen. We were so mystified as to how to do this that in 2013 we actually went to ask the owner and guiding spirit Matthew Rorick in person at Fairfield, California. He had to think quite hard before mentioning a couple of shops where we might find his wines (they were sold out). Most of his sales come from enthusiasts (of which there are plenty) grabbing the wines directly from him on release.

It was with satisfaction that we later found the wines at Chambers Street Wines, New York but to see them in London was a wish come true. We engaged the gentleman behind the table in conversation. He was only showing two wines, the Suspiro del Moro (Slotovino Wine of the Year 2012/13) and a rose 'Kume to amo' made from Touriga Nacional/Tinta Roriz/Tinta Cao and Tinta Amarella.

Matthew in 2013
It was only after some time that we realized we were talking to Matthew Rorick himself. He has lost a great deal of weight since we last saw him. We have gained about the same amount in the meantime so he also didn't realize straight away that we had met previously. We had been talking about his new venture - an 80 acre property he and his family had acquired a couple of years ago. He ascribed his weight loss to that project. Ours? To drinking his wines among many others.

We tend to go on a bit about the winemaker but it is thanks to the wines themselves that we do so. Already mentioned is the 100% Alvarelhao 'Suspiro del moro'. Not only did we choose this as the best wine of the year, it inspired a goose chase for this variety in both Portugal and Spain. Under its synonym Brancellao, we hunted it down in the Vinho Verde region of Portugal and Ribeiro and Ribeira Sacra across the border. Strangely the wines we found there tasted nothing like Forlorn Hope's Alvarelhao. Subsequently we read that some Californian Alvarelhao was in fact Touriga Nacional. We put this to Matthew Rorick who fielded this unworthy suggestion with chapter and verse concerning the vineyard where he had found this grape.

The shop at the Real Wine Fair was selling the two Forlorn Hopes wines. We bought them both and look forward to being able to buy more in the future. You should too. Since 2006 when it was founded, Forlorn Hope has made dozens of different wines from diverse grapes you didn't know existed in California. Like Ridge, he seeks out these old blocks and vineyards and makes this thrilling variety of wines, sometimes in very small quantities. Forlorn Hope currently list only 4 wines on their website. Matthew Rorick studied at Davis, gained experience in New Zealand and South Africa and was the chief winemaker for Errazuiz for a while. All his wines are expertly made, naturally of course.As the website has it:  "All Forlorn Hope wines are produced from winegrapes. That’s it."

"Nacre" Semillon, Yountville, Napa

"Que Saudade" Verdelho, California

"The Fraufreluches" Gewurztraminer, Russian River Valley, Sonoma

"Morrow" Sauvignon Blanc, Rutherford, Napa

"Suspiro del Moro" Alvarelhão, Lodi

"Sogni della Speccia" Sangiovese, California 

"San Hercumer delle Frecce" Barbera, Amador County, Sierra Foothills

Chardonnay, Calaveras County, Sierra Foothills
Riesling, Santa Barbara County

"Amerikanische Kobold", Kick on Ranch Riesling, 

Ramato-style Pinot Gris, Calaveras County

"Nodosaur white blend (Picpoul, Verdelho, Albariño 'and a dashing of Muscat')

Mataro, Rorick Vineyard

"Les Deux Mathieux" Tenbrink Vineyard Petite Sirah

 "L'Asino Santo" - Barbera

"Batiscafo" - Verdelho 

"Gascony Cadets" - Petit Verdot

"La Gitana" - Torrontes

"Kirschenmann" - Orange of Pinot Gris

"Mil Amores" - Red of Touriga Nacional/Tinta Roriz/Tinta Cao/Tinta Amarella

"Norgard" - Chenin Blanc 

"Old Woodsbull" - Syrah

"Ost-Intrigen" - St. Laurent

"Les Paresseux" - Late Harvest Chenin Blanc 

"Picpoul de Rutherford" - Picpoul Blanc

"Sihaya" - Ribolla Gialla

"Trou Grit" - Trousseau Gris

"Morrow" Rutherford Valley Sauvignon Blanc

"Ghanima" Merlot, Napa Valley

"Gemischter Satz" - Koth's Mokelumne Glen Vineyard (close to 40 different German and Austrian cultivars.

He also makes guitars by the way.

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