Forlorn Hope rosé

2013 Forlorn Hope Kumo To Ame Rosé

The Wine of the Week
 by Annette Tomei

2013 Forlorn Hope, Kumo To Ame Rosé, Dewitt Vineyard, Amador County, California

Searching for something rare and different, a rosé perhaps? I’ve got just the thing for you – finding it may be a challenge, but don’t give up hope.

Forlorn Hope is the single-handed creation of winemaker Matthew Rorick. The name refers to an old Dutch term for a troop of volunteer soldiers who “lead the charge directly into enemy defenses” – slim chances, great glory. This concept appeals to Rorick whose winemaking career covers new world wine regions in both hemispheres, reflecting his search for experience, knowledge and a good challenge. In creating his own wine company, he relies on a passion for “longshots” and “lost causes”. So far, that seems to be working out very well for him.

Rorick calls his wines Rare Creatures – and indeed they are. The 2013 Kumo To Ame rosé production was a whopping 407 cases (up from approximately 200 in 2012). The other aspect of rarity is the choice of grape varieties; this particular wine is made from a field blend of Portuguese grapes (Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Tinto Cão, and Trincadeira) grown in Amador County (best known for its Zinfandels). Rorick’s wines are as pure an expression of grape and place as possible. Fermentation relies on indigenous yeasts on the grapes themselves, each process being different; only neutral barrels, if any at all. The only addition along the way is the modest use of sulfur as a preservative, though there are some bottlings available “sans soufre” (not this particular one though).

Aromas of fresh berries, papaya and tarragon are carried by a mouthwateringly crisp cranberry tartness with a bit of green tea-like minerality; a medium body wine with a lingering finish. This is an age-able rosé – but, as delicious as it is, it probably wouldn’t last that long. As for pairings, I tried the wine with a couple types of cuisine – garden-fresh Mexican and exotic flavors of Singapore. It was fantastic with both, especially the Southeast Asian flavors, which were bright with herbs and ginger and a touch of lively acidity of their own.

Annette is the founder of VinEducation, where she is a food and beverage educator and consultant. She is also a professional chef who frequently contributes delicious recipes to


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