Forlorn Hope Rorick Vineyard Chenin Blanc 2017


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Grown on the Rorick estate vineyard in Calaveras County, on soils comprised of a layer of schist over dolomite-rich limestone. Elevation of the vineyard is 2000’. The combination of limestone, elevation, and the cold nights of the Sierras produce fruit with depth, texture, and brilliant natural acidity; minimal handling in the winery allows for an honest and pure expression of site and variety to shine through. Aromas of bright citrus and lanolin are laid over a taut framework of acidity; on the palate flavors of Meyer lemon, apple pie, and crushed stone combine with a salty minerality.

Chenin blanc was planted on our site in the early 1980s by Barden Stevenot but by the time we took over stewardship of the ranch in 2013 it was no longer in the vineyard. With the intention of re-forging a link to this chapter in RHV’s history, we obtained cuttings of Chenin blanc from the Story Vineyard in Amador County, whose vines were planted in the late 1970s. These cuttings reintroduced Chenin blanc to the ranch in the winter of 2014 into Block 1, whose steep slope faces RHV’s largest limestone outcrop.

At vintage, the fruit was hand-picked and given pigeage before pressing. Our approach in the cellar with the Chenin blanc is very simple, in order to allow the character of the site and variety take precedence: fermentation occurred in neutral 227L barrique, the wine was racked off of its lees after 6 months and saw a total of 14 months elevage, and the wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered. As with all Forlorn Hope wines, no new oak is utilized, and nothing was added to the must or wine (no cultured yeast, ML bacteria, water, tartaric acid, enzymes, nutrients, etc) with the exception of minimal effective SO2.