I first had Forman Chardonnay at Dine restaurant in San Francisco with a whole pack of Japanese colleagues who were starry eyed about California wine. The Forman that we ordered them to go with their crab cakes only encouraged their obsession.
Since then I have had Forman Chardonnay only on a couple of occasions, and each time I have enjoyed it. Those who are looking for a classic oaky and buttered California Chardonnay may want to steer clear, however, because Ric Forman makes his wines more in a European style. His Chardonnays in particular are much more mineral and citrus infused than one would expect. He uses no Malolactic fermentation, and relies on the interaction between the natural acids in his grapes and the characteristics of his barrells, just like the good old boys in Chablis. I, however, find that these more acidic characteristics make the wines much more enjoyable with a wider variety of food.
The wine pours as pale straw into the glass, but yellow enough to know that it is a Chardonnay. The nose is strong and tart with aromas of unripe yellow plums, kiwi, and pears. The body merges a bartlett pear and pinapple flavor to create a cool, juicy, slightly tropical fruit flavor that is modulated with mild oak and toasted bread notes. The finish is clean and medium in length.
This is one of the few California Chardonnays that I would pair with the classic French escargots, or for those who find it easier to find and clean Mussels rather than snails, I’d recommend moules au beurre d’escargots.
Overall Score: 9
How Much?: $32
You can sometimes find this wine at K&L if you’re in the Bay Area, otherwise, find a merchant online at Wine Searcher.