Forlorn Hope Wines
At Matthew Rorick Wines, we love the longshots. We love the outsiders, the lost causes, the people/projects/ideas abandoned as not having a chance in the world. We love the longshots because we’re all about tenacity, we relish a challenge, and – we admit it – we love us a good tussle. Hans Brinker, the Dutch boy who stuck his finger in the dike? We’re big fans of his. Penelope – weaving all day and ripping it out all night? She’s with us. Henry V’s speech at the Battle of Agincourt? Pretty much our theme song. Taken from the Dutch ‘verloren hoop’, meaning ‘lost troop’, Forlorn Hope was the name given to the band of soldiers who volunteered to lead the charge directly into enemy defenses. The chance of success for the Forlorn Hope was always slim, but the glory and rewards granted to survivors ensured no shortage of applicants. These bottles, the first produced by Matthew Rorick Wines, were our headlong rush into the breach. Rare creatures from appellations unknown and varieties uncommon, these wines are our brave advance party, our pride and joy – our Forlorn Hope.
Located in the heart of Napa, California.
- Meeting / Conference Facilities:
- Wedding Facilities:
- Picnic Facilities:
- Dog Friendly:
- Winery Tours:
- Wine Tasting:
- Art or Architecture:
- Organic / Biodynamic:
- Wine Club:
- Lodging / Bed & Breakfast:
I found my passion for food and wine at my grandfather’s table, where the elder Rorick’s love of sharing a bottle, a meal, and good conversation inspired my career in winemaking.
After receiving my degree in Viticulture and Enology from UC Davis, I worked on a diverse number of winemaking projects including collaborations with wineries in New Zealand, South Africa, and Chile, as well as with Peter Michael Winery, Chasseur, and Miura Vineyards in California, among others. The broad array of different winemaking and grape growing techniques and philosophies I encountered provided a unique practical counterpoint to the theory I learned at University and flavor my current direction in the winery.
The Forlorn Hope wines were born to connect the thread between California’s boundless viticultural potential and its diverse viticultural history. In addition to the vines my family and I farm, I work with a handful of growers across the north of the state whose plantings might otherwise be misfits: the uncommon sites and varieties that pay tribute to California’s eclectic and often unexpected viticultural heritage. Taking cues from the stones and soil, I endeavors to interrupt the natural development of each of his wines as little as possible in order that the character and uniqueness of each vineyard site may take center stage.
Practices & Techniques
We believe very strongly that site and farming produce all that we should like to find in a bottle of wine, and we don’t want to confuse or muddy the story that each wine can relate by adding water or yeast or acid or enzymes that had nothing at all to do with what the vines put into each of our clusters.
Each of the Forlorn Hope wines may be put through very different fermentations en route to becoming one of our Rare Creatures — Sèmillon is destemmed and pressed, then fermented in old and neutral barrels; Gewürztraminer is destemmed and fermented on the skins; Alvarelhão is fermented whole-cluster with no destemming or initial breaking of the fruit — but throughout it all a common vein runs through the thought process in the cellar: listen to what the fermentation is saying as it transforms from fruit into wine. What does it want to become? In what direction does its nature want to lead it? In this manner we guide our ferments along, receiving suggestions and guidance from the wine and fermentative microbes themselves.
No new barrels are ever used in the Forlorn Hope cellar. Currently, our oldest 60 gallon vessels are from the 1997 vintage.
Most of the Forlorn Hope wines receive a modest amount of sulfur either post-fermentation or pre-bottling — timing depending on the Rare Creature in question — in order to ensure that they arrive in your glass in a consistently sound fashion. Our sans soufre bottlings are labeled as such.