Gorman Winery had its first commercial release in 2002. Since that time the winery has had a meteoric rise to near cult wine status. Owner, winemaker, and one man show Chris Gorman focuses on small lot production, producing approximately 1,500 cases annually. The house style is to create big, bold wines. For his wines, Gorman looks to pair top notch fruit with top-of-the-line wood. In terms of the fruit, Gorman sources grapes from the likes of Ciel du Cheval and Conner Lee vineyards. In terms of the wood, he is not shy about liberally using new French oak from cooperages such as of Saury and Taransaud - or to price his wines accordingly. Gorman is also not afraid to pour on the alcohol. The new red releases, for example, clock in at 15%, 15.2%, and 15.5%. Release No. V that he made for Grand Rêve comes in at 15.8%.
An aside about wines with alcohol levels around fifteen percent or above. As many of you know, I am a stickler about wine temperature. This is never more important than with wines with moderately high alcohol content. If these wines get to seventy degrees or above, the fruit and alcohol will often come wildly out of balance like a top wobbling and spinning out of control. So when trying the Gorman wines or wines of a similar style, do yourself a favor and make sure your “room temperature” is more like sixty-two to sixty-five degrees than seventy to seventy-five. Now back to our story.
Gorman Winery is open only two times per year, once in March and once in September, for new releases. Of the wines released this month, with the exception of the chardonnay, all are drinking quite young, especially the monstrous, lay-me-down Evil Twin. On first pour, each of the red wines display a strong mixture of fruit and barrel aromas that then backs off and becomes quiet before being coaxed back out with vigorous swirling. All will benefit from some additional bottle age and will reward you for your patience.
At this event Gorman also gave a sampling of the March releases. The Albatross – a standout from this tasting – is a blend of Cabernet and Petit Verdot. Intriguingly, as he poured this wine, Gorman stated that he hoped the Albatross would be his “swan song.” A customer pulled him aside before I could ask the intention behind this statement. Not to worry, Gorman has been spending his time of late cleaning barrels and just picked up his 2009 Ciel Syrah earlier this week. If you’re looking for this winery being going anywhere, look up not out.
Gorman Winery 2006 Releases
Gorman Winery 2005 Releases
Mark Ryan McNeilly and Chris Gorman Second Label Wines
Note: All red wines sampled at 61 degrees.
|Gorman Big Sissy Chardonnay Conner Lee Vineyard 2008||Light in color. Nose marked by a light grassiness and a light spice. Clean and crisp with well-integrated oak and a rounded mouthfeel. A long finish caps it off. 100% Chardonnay. 100% Native yeast fermentation, Malolactic fermentation, and new French oak. 14.2% alcohol. 200 cases produced. Sampled at 54 degrees. ||$35|
|Gorman Zachary’s Ladder Red Mountain 2007||An intensely fragrant nose with jammy fruit, flowers, and powdered chocolate. A fair amount of weight on a palate marked by tart fruit and chalky tannins. Lavender shows through as the wine opens. Needs additional time to ocome together. 42% Cabernet; 25% Merlot; 25% Mourvedre; 7% Syrah; 1% Petit Verdot. 15.0% alcohol. 400 cases produced. ||$28|
|Gorman Pixie Red Mountain 2007||Lots of jammy fruit with seeds along with sage and baking chocolate. A richly textured, dry wine with lots of fruit and polished tannins. Occasionally comes off as a bit coarse and sharp toward the back end. These edges will smooth out with a bit more time in the bottle. 100% Syrah (50% Kiona, 50% Ciel du Cheval). 15.2% alcohol. 200 cases produced. ||$42|
|Gorman Evil Twin Red Mountain 2007||More closed on the nose than the other wines sampled with light floral and herbal notes. Dense and extracted on the palate. Dry and smooth with a big lick of tannins at the end. This is a red meat wine. 60% Syrah, 40% Cabernet. 15.5% alcohol. 225 cases produced. ||$55|
|Gorman The Albatross Red Mountain Reserve 2007||A pungent nose with pepper and licorice. A dense, whopper of a wine with a monstrous lick of tannins. Wraps around your tongue and squeezes until you ask for mercy. Very young at present but will be exceptional. 66% Cabernet; 34% Petit Verdot. 120 cases produced. To be released in March 2010.||NA|