Forlorn Hope + Axis: Bold As Love

Who, in the reading audience, likes the genius that is Jimi Hendrix? Your first experience leaves you asking if you've ever really "experienced". Recently, I was living the riches of Matthew Rorick's (Forlorn Hope) Picpoul & Ost-Itrigen (St. Laurent), Axis: Bold As Love blaring in the background. I couldn't help realize the parallelism these wines ran with the album then it dawned on me, this is one of Matthew's favorites. Serendipity? 

"Exp" is abstract and prepares you for what's ahead, like stretching your thighs before a race. Notes scatter from one speaker to another, the register is out of control. Picpoul emerges on a label from Calaveras County, in the heart of the Sierra Foothills. If you knew what you were getting yourself into, you'd certainly pull the trigger and stretch the legs.

Matthew seems a gentle soul & soft spoken at first. Jimi was known to be incredibly shy. Rorick's wines are riddled w/ bends & whammy bars & runs stretching eight+ frets at once! Jimi's music is infused with an organic & spontaneous fermentation that was & is truly living, capturing imagination and rupturing boundaries.

"Wait Until Tomorrow" seems predictable until you listen to it a sixth time, shaking your head at the background drifts that leave you breathless. The label reads Picpoul. If you've sipped the French version of this grape, you know you're in for something lighter, not too aromatically intense. Mr. Rorick's rendition doesn't take a sixth taste although it's almost a given that's where your tasting will lead. The wine is busting with anything but neutrality, the antithesis of predictable. Did you know Jimi learned to play a right-handed guitar flipped for a lefty, the strings upside down? Matthew has taken Picpoul & knocked any little $10 rendition on its rocker. Picpoul is astoundingly lifted, not weighed down, by older puncheon, like the complimenting bass in "Little Wing", making for an even brighter and elevated electric guitar. Tangy and refreshing, high-pitched acid provides an intriguing solo that will surely provide life ahead. The palate has a breadth that is better than the sum of its parts. Schist + limestone soils + whole cluster press + old oak + heart + soul. Yes please. Medium body meets actual complication in Picpoul & textures you will need to taste to believe.

Let's face it. St. Laurent has seen better days. Many producers in Austria are doing a service by this grape. Many frankly, are not. Ahhh, just smelling Matthew's Ost-Intrigen! The depths of your brain will traipse immediately to St. Laurent of the early 2000s before new oak, color powders, and tannin enhancers. The unique color invites you to take a long whiff - the smell is almost more intoxicating than the palate. How is this stern, floral gem brought to fruition in the Ricci Vineyard in Carneros? Being able to tickle seven frets in one stretch of a hand. Intuition. It's beautifully poised. Ost-Itrigen is anything but tiresome in fact, it's invigorating and lighter than the Picpoul! The tannins are shyly flirting with a kind bitterness that barely exists but lasts. The acid makes you want to run a marathon or eat or quaff! In my mouth exists a retronasal, symphonic replica of the nose; ten months in barrel lends a soft coddling of textural duration. Read: Drink now. Drink in a few years. Drink later (if you can wait that long).

The only distinct different between these two souls... For some, Jimi is a mood. I don't partake in this philosophy but my mother sure does. Matthew's wines are really for any time, any place. I don't say this lightly. Many of the world's best wineries produce wines of occasion or for a certain dish. Matthew's harnessing of his land's potential in vinous form is for the 11am hour, our -20 temperatures, 4p, high sun, late nights, inspirational musing, and enjoying the conversation these wine permit.

These wines are as Bold As Love. Love is meant to be positive never without some repercussion but providing some hope. Forlorn Hope perhaps?