Great Value by award winning wine maker Ric Forman!
Ric Forman is one of Napa Valley’s most celebrated and established winemakers having worked over fifty harvests here. His resume includes some of our most iconic wineries including Stony Hill in 1967, Robert Mondavi in 1968 and shortly after becoming the first winemaker at Sterling Vineyards making the inaugural vintage in 1969. After Sterling Vineyards was sold to Coca-Cola in 1975, the original owner of Sterling, Peter Newton with Forman’s help, established his own winery under the Newton label on a piece of land above David Abreu’s Madrona Vineyard in Saint Helena. Around that same time, Forman had found and purchased his own piece of property across the valley floor on Howell Mountain in 1978. Forman made the wines at Newton for four years then left to focus solely on his own project and in 1983 he released his first wine under his own label of Forman. The winery is situated on Big Rock Road perched on a ridge at the base of Howell Mountain overlooking the town of St. Helena.
While working at Newton, Ric got to know now-famed vineyard manager David Abreu and after Ric purchased his property, the two developed a partnership where in Abreu planted Ric’s vineyard and assisted in the farming and in return, Forman helped make the first several vintages of Abreu’s wine. Vintages 1985-1999 of Abreu were all made at Forman’s winery. To say that Ric Forman is an icon in the Napa Valley is simply an understatement and to say that this wine is anything less than spectacular would be an outrage!
Chateau La Grande Roche, meaning Chateau of the “big rock”, is the second label of Forman Vineyard. Named after the massive pink and grey boulders on which winery was built, Ric established this second label to assure that the Forman Cabernet will always be created from only the very best lots each year. The vineyard is composed entirely of unconsolidated river gravel very much like the vineyards of Medoc in Bordeaux and unlike any other known vineyards in Napa. You could say that Forman is the ‘Reserve’ and Chateau La Grande Roche is made up of those lots that didn’t make the cut for the Forman label. This is no after-thought however, it is still made with all of the same care and dedication as Forman and sourced from the same estate hillside vines surrounding the winery. Think Pavillon Rouge from Chateaux Margaux, Pauillac de Château Latour from Chateaux Latour, or Overture from Opus One. There is one huge difference however, and only more stunning than the quality, is the price! This wine is an absolute steal from one of Napa’s veteran winemakers and an incredible estate vineyard!
All the spiciness of Bordeaux combined with the lusciousness of Napa make this wine so intriguing!
100% Forman Estate Vineyard sourced, composed of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot, and 2% Merlot. The wine was aged for 21 months in once used French oak barrels. A wonderfully deep color leads into expectations of an impressive wine. Aromas of black cherry, currant, licorice, and baking spice are backed by a dusty, herbal fruitiness. The palate shows ripe black plum, blackberry cordial, tobacco and cedar. Firm tannins and healthy acidity set the stage for this shining example of power and persistence. This wine is released a year earlier than the ‘Forman’ bottling and made in the same classic style.