Forefront, the second label from Napa Valley producer Pine Ridge, continues to produce affordable blends using grapes from all over California. We tried the latest release of Pinot Noir and Cabernet. Of special note: This holiday season, the winery is giving $1 per bottle sold to a local food bank.
2010 Forefront Pinot Noir – 63% San Luis Obispo, 34% Santa Barbara, and 3% Sonoma County fruit. I’m not sure why they bothered with the 3% Sonoma, this is a pretty hefty, southern California-style Pinot. That’s not a bad thing — I like the Pinots from the southern half of the state. For a $20 Pinot Noir, this wine has a lot going for it: Racy spices, lots of black cherries, touch of anise in the finish. It’s a bit jammier than I like Pinot to be, but with a little time in the glass it evens itself out fairly well. B+ / $20
2009 Cabernet Sauvignon – 92% Napa, 7% San Luis Obispo, and 1% Lake County fruit. Surprisingly light and easy for a Cab this young. As with the Pinot, it’s very jammy and fruit-forward. But there’s somewhat less nuance in the body — maybe a hint of menthol, but the finish is otherwise surprisingly short. Less going on on the whole, but readily drinkable. B / $20