Winemaker Matthew Rorick loves the longshots. So as a California vintner, he looked beyond the sea of California Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, outside the mainstream wine bottlings, to the unknown and forgotten Old World grape varietals, grown in off the beaten path vineyards.
These “Rare Creatures”, as Rorick affectionately calls them, appear at first glance to be lost causes, outsiders, not commercially viable, hence the name Forlorn Hope, or “lost troop”. Historically, this troop volunteered to lead the first charge into enemy forces with a slim chance of success, but a promise of glory and rewards given to those who survived the breach. Matthew Rorick’s charge into the crowded commercial winescape of California has been anything but a lost cause. It started with a little Verdelho from Suisun Valley, his pet passion project, alongside crafting wines full time for Elizabeth Spencer Wines in Napa. An obsession with the obscure blossomed into today’s full time serious pursuit of finesse and balance, with Rorick crafting surprisingly electric wines that best many of their Old World counterparts.
Eclectic and exciting, Rorick’s Forlorn Hope lineup of wines boast maximum flavor and minimal intervention. These wines are truly a reflection of the vineyards, no added yeast or acid, little sulfur dioxide, and whole grape cluster fermentation. Stunningly beautiful, small production wines, and extremely good values, you will crave these wines for their luminous character and quality. The rotating cast of “Rare Creatures” changes from season to vintage, singing the praises of the likes of Verdelho, Touriga Nacional, Picpoul, Mondeuse, Trousseau Gris, St. Laurent, and Ribolla Gialla, to name a few. As many as 16 different wines are produced each year, labeled “Another Rare Creature”, and Rorick does most all the work himself, with recent help from a harvest intern.
In a recent holiday food and wine preview at Silverlake Wine’s Sundays at 3 tasting, Forlorn Hope Wines accompanied Heirloom LA’s spectacular holiday menu, available for catered events or pickup to serve in your own home. Silverlake Wine offered five wines and four small plates to a sold out crowd, it was a remarkable afternoon with two Matthews, Poley of Heirloom LA and Rorick of Forlorn Hope Wines.
The 2013 Forlorn Hope “Kumo To Ame” Rosé, a single vineyard rosé from Amador County, blends the Portuguese grape varietals of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Cão, and Trincadeira. It’s an elegant, high acid, mineral wine with aromas and flavors of wild strawberry, tart cranberry, peach, mango, and green tea, well balanced with a touch of savory. Silverlake Wine offered this as an aperitif to start off the afternoon’s festivities, a great way to whet your palate for the mini-feast ahead.
continued in Part 2