The style of Ric Forman's wines is explained by the fact Forman especially enjoys right-bank Bordeaux "and the only chardonnay I can drink is from Chablis". Forman has recently bought all new equipment, including a gentle crusher, for the 2001 harvest. Forman does not believe in doing extended maceration. "This would compromise the bright red fruit qualities we get here, and would give the wines a more reduced chocolate and coffee character. Besides, the tannins here are ripe enough to begin with." Forman continues to give his wines a light fining and filtration; he remains convinced that wines without organic sediment are more likely to age gracefully. 1999 Merlot Napa Valley (80% new oak): Good ruby-red. Cherry, redcurrant, dark chocolate and a whiff of leather on the nose; this reminded me of right-bank Bordeaux. Bright and intensely flavored; not fat but juicy and refined. Flavors of black cherry and licorice. Finishes with dusty, firm tannins and sneaky persistence. 89-92 points. Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar Issue 98 May/June 2001+C16
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