Forlorn Hope

California / USA

At A Glance

Winemaker(s)

Matthew Rorick

Appellation

Calaveras County

Varieties

Albariño, Sèmillon, Verdelho, Gewürztraminer, Chenin Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Trousseau Noir, Mondeuse, Barbera, Carignan, Mataro, ... to name a few

Quote

All Forlorn Hope wines are produced from winegrapes. That’s it.

Their Story

“Rare Creatures from appellations unknown and varieties uncommon, these wines are our brave advance party, our pride and joy — our Forlorn Hope.” — Matthew Rorick, Owner and Winemaker of Forlorn Hope Wines

We have been working with Matthew Rorick since our company first began and for good reason, his wines elegantly present a sense of place, a sense of reason, and most importantly a sense of passion. Classically trained with an edge is the best way to attempt to summarize Matthew and his wines. After receiving his degree in Viticulture and Enology from UC Davis and working with a handful of wineries in New Zealand, South Africa, Chile, and California, Matthew has been able to tie his education with his act for finding phenomenal vineyards including his own Rorick Heritage Vineyard.

Mid Post Image
The beautiful Rorick Heritage Vineyard sits at an elevation of 2000 feet in Calaveras County.

RHV is one of the most magical vineyards we have ever visited. Home to over 16 grape varieties, it is one of the few vineyards in California to present all the necessary elements for phenomenal grape growing. From the handful of soil types (schist, quarts, marble, limestone – to name a few) to the different exposures and elevations, Matthew has truly found a place to allow his rare creatures not only exist but thrive. It’s no wonder a handful of our California winemakers along with others are fighting over fruit from Rorick Heritage Vineyard.

“We believe very strongly that site and farming produce all that we should like to find in a bottle of wine, and we don’t want to confuse or muddy the story that each wine can relate by adding water or yeast or acid or enzymes that had nothing at all to do with what the vines put into each of our clusters.

Each of the Forlorn Hope wines may be put through very different fermentations en route to becoming one of our Rare Creatures — Sèmillon is destemmed and pressed, then fermented in old and neutral barrels; Gewürztraminer is destemmed and fermented on the skins; Alvarelhão is fermented whole-cluster with no destemming or initial breaking of the fruit — but throughout it all a common vein runs through the thought process in the cellar: listen to what the fermentation is saying as it transforms from fruit into wine. What does it want to become? In what direction does its nature want to lead it? In this manner we guide our ferments along, receiving suggestions and guidance from the wine and fermentative microbes themselves.

No new barrels are ever used in the Forlorn Hope cellar. Currently, our oldest 60 gallon vessels are from the 1997 vintage.

Most of the Forlorn Hope wines receive a modest amount of sulfur either post-fermentation or pre-bottling — timing depending on the Rare Creature in question — in order to ensure that they arrive in your glass in a consistently sound fashion. Our sans soufre bottlings are labeled as such.”

– Matthew Rorick

Interview with Matthew Rorick, Owner and Winemaker of Forlorn Hope Wines/ Rorick Heritage Vineyard

Where were you born and raised? Oceanside, California If you could briefly describe your approach in the vineyard what would it be? My viticultural philosophy combines a strong emphasis on organic vine and soil health with a pragmatic realism -- there is no one method that fits every site -- and is tempered by the understanding that coming to know any one site requires a long view, requiring decades or even generations to truly harmonize. What excites you most about your vineyards? All of the vineyards I work with have compelling combinations of vine, soil, and climate, but I'm most excited by the combination of limestone, schist, and 2000' elevation in my family's Rorick vineyard. The site has a truly distinct expression in the wines it produces, and we've only just begun to scratch the surface of its potential. If you could say one thing to the sommeliers who are introducing people to your wines for the first time, what would it be? Even if the variety, appellation, or style is at first unfamiliar, all of the Forlorn Hope bottlings are honest, transparent wines of the heart. What is your favorite type of music? Funk is what time it is! If you could have any superhero power, what would you choose? The ability to make people excited about aged rosé.