The 2009 vintage produced phenomenal wines in the Carneros region of southern Napa Valley for growers such as the Fore Family who harvested before the rains set in. The 2009 growing season in Carneros was both long and mild, which allowed Pinot Noir to ripen slowly and evenly. The 2009 Fore Family Vineyards Carneros Napa Pinot Noir embodies the impeccable conditions of the vintage and offers members tremendous drinking pleasure now. The vintage’s many attributes also promise to continue the wine’s upward trajectory for another 5 years or more. In Fore Family fashion, the 2009 Fore Family Vineyards Pinot Noir exhibits a deep, youthful color and an amplifying, equally satisfying aroma. Draughts of red and black fruits, Morello cherries, cinnamon, rose petals, and vanilla haunt the nose and caress the palate. While perfectly ripe tannins artfully frame the wine’s fruit and spice to ensure a long, slow evolution, this Pinot’s impeccable balance and texture have already come to fore to provide great drinking pleasure. In short, the elegant mouth filling 2009 Fore Family Vineyard Carneros Napa Pinot Noir captures the essence of what draws people to Pinot Noir – elegance, complexity and flavor. For optimal enjoyment, we suggest serving this superb Pinot Noir at cool room temperature (60°-65° F) after at least 20-30 minutes of aeration.
As a balanced, complex Pinot Noir, the 2009 Fore Family Vineyards Carneros Napa Pinot Noir merits the talents of an accomplished chef, or at the very least the finest Pinot Noir glass one can muster. Pinot Noir provides an exemplary and versatile accompaniment to many foods. Traditional Burgundian specialties such as Coq au Vin and Boeuf Bourguignon pair especially well with Fore Family’s complex Carneros Pinot Noir. But this is an American Pinot Noir, and it can stand up to full, rich sauces and American classics as well as traditional Old World fare. Roast duck prepared with a black cherry reduction and served with savory wild rice makes for a splendid accompaniment. Wild Alaskan halibut served with an almond and mango salsa, and seared Ahi tuna prepared with a fruit chutney or light teriyaki sauce provide other superb pairings to Fore’s 2009 Carneros Pinot Noir. Rack of lamb accompanied by gnocchi, sweet peas, pearl onions and mushrooms, and Filet Mignon accompanied by garlic mashed potatoes and sautéed green beans offer other exciting companions to Fore Family’s Carneros Pinot Noir. Veal stews, quiches, onion and leek tarts, and risottos all offer other hearty accompaniments to this wine. If simplicity reigns in your kitchen, spiral sliced ham served with crispy homemade fries and a touch of spicy mustard or just several slices of a fine cheese such as Cheddar, Morbier, or Port Salut will be more than enough to complement Fore Family Vineyard’s excellent 2009 Carneros Napa Pinot Noir. Enjoy!
California’s most compelling wines emanate from select vineyard plots and are made in tiny lots by families such as the Fore Family. These wines are highly allocated, generally not available outside of California and can often only be purchased at the winery. This month’s feature, the 2009 Fore Family Vineyards Carneros Napa Pinot Noir, belongs to that growing list of exceptional California Pinot Noirs originating from small family vineyards. The 2009 Fore Family Vineyards Carneros Napa Pinot Noir is a mere 208 case production. It has garnered considerable accolades as well as a Silver Medal at the prestigious San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
Fore Family Vineyards began in 1986 when Jim Fore won first place with his Pinot Noir in the Napa Town and Country Fair home winemaking division. This accolade gave Jim the impetus to plant a small vineyard in the back yard. Since then, the Fore family passion to grow grapes and make wine has grown to sixty acres in Napa and Lake Counties and a multi-generation family affair.
Jim’s wife Diane, a kindergarten teacher, is also fully engaged in the family enterprise, from sales to assisting in the vineyards, managing sales meetings, and bookkeeping, while still teaching part time. From the beginning, Fore Family Vineyards was meant to be a family affair, but the couple’s children, Melissa and Eric, were too young at the onset to commit to that endeavor. However, as adults, they now share the pleasures of wine and actively work in producing Fore Family Vineyards’ wines.
From a tiny backyard vineyard, the Fores expanded their wine enterprise. “In 1995, Koerner Rombauer told Jim Fore that if you're going to get involved in the wine industry, you need to take it from the very beginning to the end—grapes to wine.” Jim jumped in feet first. Before he was officially in the wine business, Jim acquired grapes for home winemaking use from Doug Hill. Little did Jim know then that the two would become grape growing partners just a few years later. Jim and Doug formed a partnership, Fore-Hill Vineyards, and currently farm forty-five acres across five vineyards in the Napa Valley.
Fore Family Vineyards manages Cobb Mountain vineyard and does the majority of the farming responsibility on that property. Farming practices are sustainable which means that they don’t take out without putting back. They plant cover crops, which are a mixed blend that includes legumes to increase nitrogen and act as green compost. Cover crops are planted in alternating rows each year, which in turn alternates the rows that are tilled. The Fores also maintain the balance between vine canopy and crop, so as to control yields. Fore Family Vineyards believes this is a responsible way to farm the land, so that their endeavors can sustain further generations.
Fore Family Vineyards crafts their wines at Laird Family Estate. They never produce more than 500 cases of any varietal to assure quality.
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