Previously known as Grand Rêve, Force Majeure was founded in 2004 by Paul McBride and Ryan Johnson. Force Majeure pairs some of Washington’s highly acclaimed winemakers with fruit from one of Washington’s highly acclaimed vineyards, Ciel du Cheval. The winemakers contributing to the Collaboration Series is a Who’s Who of Washington winemakers including Ben Smith, Carolyn Lakewold, Chris Gorman, James Mantone, Mark McNeilly, Mike McMorran and Ross Mickel.
Located in the Seattle suburb of Kirkland, Force Majeure is open twice a year for mailing list member release parties. The Spring Release Party on March 16th featured the new ’09 Collaboration Series IV Merlot Blend, ’10 Collaboration Series VI Southern Rhone Blend, ’10 Collaboration Series Cabernet Sauvignon, ’09 Collaboration Series Sangiovese and ’08 Collaboration Series Reserve Syrah.
2009 Collaboration Series IV – A Right Bank style blend made by Carolyn Lakewold. Super plush and exotic. Chocolate, flowers, dark fruits and cassis. The wines finishes with a wall of tannins. Approachable now but should cruise in the cellar. My favorite of the current releases. My rating: 96 points. $55 at the winery.
2010 Collaboration Series VI – A Southern Rhone style blend made by James Mantone. Mouvedre, Grenache and Syrah. Kirsch, garrigue, tar, pepper and plums. In the years to come I need to sneak this into a CdP tasting. My rating: 95 points. $50 at the winery.
Collaboration Series Cabernet Sauvignon – Made by Chris Gorman this is the first Force Majeure Cabernet Sauvignon from Force Majeure Vineyard. Espresso, cassis, lavender and spice. Rich and full bodied. Great grip and very tannic. My only experience with Force Majeure Cabernet Sauvignon is at the Release Parties over the past few years. I have little doubt these wines will show better with years in the cellar or at least 2-4 hours in a decanter. My rating: 92 points…for now.
Collaboration Series Sangiovese – This wine is also made by Carolyn Lakewold. Rich aromas of candied cherries and nail polish. Cranberries, cherry, leather and spice. I’ve never been a huge fan of Washington Sangiovese but this wine has me rethinking that. We were lucky enough to add an extra bottle to our order at checkout. My rating: 91 points. $65 at the winery.
The Reserve Syrah was delicious, but I was having so much fun catching up with friend Ryan Johnson that I couldn’t give it the attention it deserved. Score withheld until I can try it again.
What strikes me as I reflect on the release is the super high quality of each wine. The attention to detail in the vineyard and every aspect of the winemaking process is readily apparent.
Force Majeure warrants your attention and (as I write this) the winery is still accepting names for their mailing list.
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