The Rossi-Wallace label brings two powerful Napa Valley families together. Husband and wife team of Ric Forman and Cheryl Emmolo are steeped in wine. Ric has been working in the valley for over 55 years and is a European traditionalist. Cheryl’s family has been in Napa since the 1920s selling rootstock to vineyards. The label is named for their mothers, Annie Rossi and Roz Wallace. They honor their mothers by making high-quality, reasonably priced wine with purpose and passion.
Five generations of Emmolo men and women have been working the valley’s fertile farmland for nearly 100 years. Cheryl was born and raised in Rutherford, where her father owned one of the largest rootstock and nursery businesses in California. She grew up pulling spray rigs, working in her mother’s gardens, and selling rootstock to local winemakers. She knows vines.
Ric’s Napa Valley tenure began over 55 years ago in the vineyards and cellars of Stony Hill Winery, although most people recognize him as the man who helped put Sterling Vineyards on the map. Following his time there and after consulting for several esteemed brands, Forman started his own label, Forman Vineyard, in 1983. Forman’s talent is evident in his focused, racy Cabernet Sauvignons.
This is a classic Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon made in a traditional old-world style. The wine is typically blended with other Bordeaux varietals to meet exacting standards. It is an approachable price point for a Napa cab produced from a single estate. While our model typically focuses on up-and-coming wine makers, we are thrilled when we can get our hands on something from established players that is difficult to find because of the small lot production. Only 350-600 cases of this wine are made each year.
The grapes for this wine come from Ric’s Forman Vineyards in St. Helena in the heart of Napa Valley. The La Grande Roche name comes from the massive boulders bordering the vineyard. The gravelly soils and steep slopes produce something special. The team uses vertical trellises and hand places the canopy of each vine to increase exposure to sun and breeze. Three different parcels within the vineyard each contribute something unique to the complex whole of this wine.
This cab opens up right out of the bottle with stunning aromatics with hints of flint, blueberry, blackberry and even pomegranate. The wine combines the spiciness of Bordeaux with the luscious mouthfeel of Napa Valley. It is medium-to-full-bodied with great richness, silky tannins, and unbelievable elegance. This cabernet has great balance and superb fruit, yet it is not a fruit bomb. It has a super long finish.
You often hear about gateway drugs. Well, this wine is a potentially dangerous gateway to the world of high-end Napa cabernet. While it is not cheap, Emma will happily pay a little extra to get a Napa cab of this quality. She likes to share this with friends, but only the ones that would bail her out of jail. When we tried this wine as a team, she was recorded saying, “This goes down a little too easy. Let’s open another bottle.” Like we said, a dangerous way to get introduced to high-end Napa cabernet. Beware!