Join us on Saturday, January 27th from 5-7pm as we explore seven vintages (2006-2012) of the Forlorn Hope Nacré Sémillon from the Yount Mill Vineyard here in the Napa Valley. The term 'nacré' means 'mother-of-pearl', so, naturally, we’ll have oysters from Hog Island on hand for all to enjoy alongside the wines. The characteristics that Sémillon acquires with extended bottle aging are quite different than what would develop with barrel aging, and are a primary factor in unlocking the aromatic and textural potential of this style of the variety—hence the fact that their current release is the 2012 vintage.
Forlorn Hope winemaker Matthew Rorick was first introduced to the Sémillons of Australia's Hunter Valley in the early 2000’s—he was immediately smitten, as he found it was a white wine with an astounding aging potential, along with aromatic complexity and textural presence. In addition to this, the wine seemed almost iconoclastic in that in the Hunter Valley, Sémillon is produced in a style completely unlike that of its native region of Bordeaux.
Planted in the 1950s and farmed organically, the Yount Mill vineyard is an anomalous patch of white winegrapes in the heart of a valley where Cabernet reigns supreme. Its very existence swims against the tide of economics and fashion, and made perfect sense as the source for Forlorn Hope's Hunter-inspired wine.
The Forlorn Hope approach to this wine has changed very little in over a decade: the fruit is hand-picked at relatively low sugar levels (17.5º-19º Brix) and whole cluster pressed. The juice is settled overnight and racked off of heavy solids the following day into neutral barrels, where it undergoes native ferment. The wine sees relatively little elevage in barrel; it is racked off of lees and bottled typically four to six months after harvest. The first vintages of Nacré (2006-2010) were aged three years in bottle prior to release; over the years they have found that the wine continues to improve markedly well past that three year mark, and now hold the bottled wine for 5+ years before release.