What were we thinking? We weren't. Should've brought the camera. Should've taken notes. Shoulda shoulda shoulda.
Matthew Rorick of Forlorn Hope Wines just hosted us and allowed us to taste the wines he will soon bottle. Readers, they are astonishing.
Matthew's wines are Rare Creatures. That is, he produces wines from varieties not seen everyday. When was the last time you had a Verdelho? Okay, how about Alvarelhao? Really? Then what about St-Laurent? We thought so.
Matthew's not using these grapes because they are obscure but because he believes they can make wonderful wines. And in his hands, they certainly do.
Matthew is passionate about his winemaking, and we really mean it. His eyes are bright and he is lively and animated as he talks about his wines. He is full of ideas for the next vintage and always trying to learn more from past vintages with each taste. He follows some admirable rules--no added water or acid, for instance (not to mention insisting upon printing the true alcohol level on his labels*)--but is always willing to experiment. We got to taste a 2010 Gewurztraminer fermented to dryness on its skins (this is extremely unusual). It was proudly, truly and beautifully Gewurz, but it had extra layers of complexity and interest thanks to the maceration on the skins.
We also got to try a Charbono that was done 100% whole cluster. It had the pure, rich dark fruit of Charbono supported by a firm foundation of tannin from the stems.
Prices for his wines are beyond reasonable. Please seek them out and support Matthew's project. And next time I'll bring a camera.
*TTB rules allow as much as 1.5% error in either direction. And that's just what's allowed.