The first impression with both aromatics and flavor is fresh, stony and a touch reserved. One can tell more is to come. Deeper notes of pear, green apple and a touch of citrus emerge. No wood up front, only fresh yeasty fermentation/fruit aromas are present at first. The wine seriously evolves with aeration and a little warming in the glass. The first sip, and wow, this is the sappy fruity freshness I am always so eager to achieve. One sip begs another; no heaviness or blunt over-ripeness here. Maybe a touch of barrel in the background but definitely only as an additional aroma/flavor, never dominating, only enhancing. What a wonderful food accompaniment. The 2019 Forman Chardonnay will age beautifully for many years and will grow old very gracefully, but oh how very nice it is young as well.
Forman 2020 Chardonnay Estate/Star Vineyard Rutherford Napa Valley
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Ric Forman, Winemaker Notes: “In California and Australia, wines made from Chardonnay tend to be bold with ripe fruit and a lavish splash of new oak and even in some cases, a touch of residual sugar. In Europe they are somewhat more restrained, subtle and with a sappy fresh acid/fruit balance which makes the wine very enjoyable with food. I am lucky at Forman Vineyard to only make a small quantity of wine from Chardonnay; about 500 cases annually, and therefore I don’t have to please a large audience. The style I like most is Chablis. Can I make wine from Chardonnay in Napa Valley that is exactly like Chablis? Well, the short answer is ‘no.’ What I try to do each vintage, however, is get as close to some of the flavor and aromatic components of Chablis as I can, given the fruit I have to work with from the Star Vineyard, which has always been my sole source of Chardonnay, is situated in the Rutherford Bench and grows on very well-drained bale loam soil which has been infused with round stones from the ancient creek activity throughout. Is it like Chablis? Again, well ‘no.’ I have worked with this fruit now for 37 years. I know by now how best to recognize the blocks I like as well as the proper time to harvest. I try as best I can to make a wine that comes close to pleasing me as much as Chablis does. I think this vintage comes closer than ever before to achieving the style I am after.”
Vinous 94 Points: The Forman Chardonnay is compelling. In this vintage, the Chardonnay balances natural richness from aging on the lees with a touch of new oak (20%) with the energy that is the result of picking early and also blocking the malolactic fermentation. Lemon confit, marzipan, tangerine oil and white flowers all open up as this super-expressive Chardonnay shows off its character. Best of all, it can be enjoyed upon release. It is an incredibly delicious and rewarding wine to drink today.