Influenced early on by the wines and winemaking practices of the Bordeaux region of France, I have consistently sought a comparable perfection for the wines of Forman Vineyard. If I had to pick two words that embody the character of Forman Vineyard wines, it would be finesse and elegance. As a sole proprietor, I have the luxury of personally taking care of the wines at every stage of production - from harvesting to blending, bottling and maturing. In an age of anonymous ownership, this kind of hands-on approach to winemaking is becoming increasingly rare. For me, this is the only way great wines can be made and made to share with wine lovers.
At Forman, every step of the production process is in the hands of one man: Ric Forman. The vineyard is located on a ridge at the foot of Howell mountain overlooking the town of St Helena. The area is divided into four plots on which the grape varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot grow. Forman Vineyard was founded in 1983 and produced a small amount of classic Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.
After a three-year search in the Napa Valley for the perfect location, Rik Forman purchased the current winery/vineyard in 1978, which sits on a ridge at the base of Howell Mountain overlooking the city of St. Helena. This remarkable location has produced some unusually elegant wines from Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot. A philosophy of winemaking that takes a more traditional than technological approach appealed to Forman early on in his career. Familiarity with the European tradition has greatly influenced his style.
Grapes are handled gently from harvest to fermentation. Small stainless steel fermenters for red wines and new Burgundy barrels for white wines are used. Deep caves have been built that provide a cool, dark and humid environment for red wine to mature in peace in new French oak barrels. The wines literally ripen in the soil from which they were grown. The integration of the small stone cellar which is located in the hills, surrounded by a courtyard and contact with the deep caves below gives it an authentic atmosphere.