Forman Napa Valley Chardonnay 2010
Chardonnay from Napa Valley, California
I'm always more interested in trying a young white wine where the color is a pale yellow green as opposed to dark yellow gold shades. Color is important; it is an indicator of brightness and freshness, the attributes I think one should look for in a white wine. This definitely has the tell-tale healthy shade touch of yellow but mostly shades of green. There is a very pure, clean and fruity component to the nose. Certainly wood is not obvious, yet it is present as a subtle spice to the richer and more prominent fruit components. Ripe Chardonnay exhibited as pear, honeysuckle and even light citrus defines the youthful aromas. Behind lies a richness from sur lee aging, that illusive note which allows barrel-fermented Chardonnay to stand out. Flavors are surprisingly bigger than the nice might indicate. Acidity is high but beautifully balances a rich, almost sweet sappiness. Minerality abounds, as in a good Chablis. This is a wine for food. There should be years of positive development to look forward to.
The Wine Advocate - "The 2010 Chardonnay is utterly impeccable and gracious. It boasts incredible finesse and textural balance in a clean, mineral-driven style. Smoke, slate, citrus and mint are some of the notes that flow through to the finish. This pure, unadulterated Chardonnay is simply stunning. It also happens to be very reasonably priced considering the quality. The Chardonnay is fermented in French oak barrels (10%) new, and the malo is blocked. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2020. "
International Wine Cellar - "(just 10% new oak): Bright yellow-green. Cool, youthfully medicinal aromas of lime, mint and menthol. Dense, refreshing and bone-dry (just 0.5 grams per liter, according to Ric Forman), with captivating minty lift to the flavors of lime zest, menthol and mineral dust. Almost metallic in a Chablis-like way. This bracing chardonnay should be fascinating to follow over the next decade. 91(+?) points "
Founded in 1983 and located at the base of Howell Mountain, overlooking the town of St. Helena, Forman Vineyard produces 2000 cases each of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. All grapes are grown on the three estate vineyards, two on the mountain above and one on the valley floor in the Rutherford Bench appellation. View all Forman Wines
About Napa ValleyView a map of Napa Valley wineries
It's hard not to think of Napa Valley when thinking of California wines. The region is, after all, the one that brought world recognition to California wine making. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux Blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Notable FactsWithin the Napa Valley lie smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two is St.-Helena and finally, just grated an AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap and Mount Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
About CaliforniaIt's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.