The 2012 vintage in Carneros yielded a bevy of exciting Pinot Noirs, but few can match the depth and beauty of the 2012 Fore Family Vineyards Carneros Napa Pinot Noir – perhaps the very reason it garnered Gold at the prestigious San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. Few California producers dare to fashion a Pinot as bold and beautiful as the Fore Family. Faithful to the Fore style, the family’s 2012 Carneros Napa Pinot Noir presents itself as no wilting flower. This Pinot Noir is for people who love the grape as well as those who normally gravitate to fuller-bodied, more robust wines. The Fore Family’s 2012 Carneros Napa Pinot Noir is bold, concentrated and layered with nuanced flavors, yet it offers elegance and superb balance to match its statuesque flavors. Beginning with the wine’s intoxicating bouquet of Morello cherries, ripe freshly picked blackberries, and cinnamon, this Pinot delivers, and makes one bold statement. It explodes on the palate with draughts of red and black fruits, rose petals, and exotic spices. Perfectly ripe tannins add definition and structure and promise many more years of pleasurable drinking. For optimal enjoyment, we suggest decanting the 2012 Fore Family Vineyards Carneros Napa Pinot Noir for an hour before serving at cool room temperature (60°-64° F).
The 2012 Fore Family Vineyards Carneros Napa Pinot Noir rises to the gastronomic delights of the most talented chefs. For starters, traditional, richly flavored Burgundian specialties such as Coq au Vin and Boeuf Bourguignon make ideal companions to Fore Family’s complex Carneros Napa Pinot Noir. This robust Pinot Noir can also stand up to rich sauces and American classics: Roast duck prepared with a black cherry reduction and served with savory wild rice makes for a splendid accompaniment. Wild caught salmon provides another wonderful companion. Alaskan halibut and seared Ahi tuna prepared with a fruit chutney or light teriyaki sauce provide other superb pairings to Fore Family’s 2012 Carneros Napa Pinot Noir. Rack of lamb accompanied by gnocchi, sweet peas, pearl onions and mushrooms, and either beef tenderloin or slow roasted pork tenderloin accompanied by garlic mashed potatoes and sautéed green beans offer other exciting companions to Fore Family’s 2012 Carneros Napa Pinot Noir. Veal stews, quiches, onion and leek tarts, and hearty risottos offer more hearty accompaniments to this wine. Spiral sliced ham served with crispy homemade fries, a touch of spicy mustard, and 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 2012 Carneros Napa Pinot Noir. Enjoy!
California’s most compelling wines continue to arise from select vineyard plots whose grapes are crafted in tiny lots by families such as the Fore Family. Such wines are highly allocated, generally not available outside of California and can only be purchased at the winery. This month’s feature, the 2012 Fore Family Vineyards Carneros Napa Pinot Noir, exemplifies not only the individual quality and consistency one can expect from the Fore Family, it underscores the fact that so many of California’s most compelling wines, Pinot Noirs in particular, now emanate from a growing list of exceptional small family vineyards and wineries. The 2012 Fore Family Vineyards Carneros Napa Pinot Noir is a mere 276 case production from one of Northern California’s finest Pinot Noir producers. And like its Fore Family predecessors, it is a wine that will garner considerable accolades and medals once the critics taste it. Sadly, when that happens, none will be left to purchase.
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 have 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. Although Pinot Noir has earned the Fore Family considerable press and attention, they produce other award winning wines, including exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon from the Red Hills of Lake County, juicy full-bodied GSM, and a tasty white wine from 100% Grenache. In total, the family produces less than 1000 cases of wine and never more than 500 cases of any single varietal to assure hand-crafted quality.
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