Bottle Notes

Force Majeure Fall 2013 Release Party

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 Fall Release Party featured the ’12 Collaboration Series (CS) Viognier, ’10 CS I Bordeaux Blend, ’10 CS III Syrah, ’10 CS V Cabernet and ’11 CS Grenache.

Below are some initial thoughts and scores on the new releases. I look forward to trying all these wines again in the years to come.

  • 2012 CS Viognier – 100% Viognier. 50% aged in concrete and 50% in neutral oak. Crisp acidity. Slightly creamy. Pear, citrus and flowers dominate the nose and palate. I have a slight preference for the 2011 version. My rating: 90 points.
  • 2011 CS Grenache – The first release of high density, head trained Grenache from Force Majeure Vineyard. Very grapey on the nose. Raspberry, strawberry, pepper and asian spices on the palate. This wines needs a little time to come together. My rating: 92 points.
  • 2010 CS III Syrah – Brooding dark fruits, bacon, game and pepper. This wine is so consistent year in and year out. World class Syrah. My rating: 93 points.
  • 2010 CS I Bordeaux Blend – Pitch black in color. Super intense aromas of currant, cassis and pencil. Great structure. Immense power and concentration. This rivals the ’07 CS I and probably needs at least a decade in the cellar. My rating: 96 points.
  • 2010 CS V Cabernet Sauvignon – 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Ciel du Cheval. Rich, lush and decandent. Cocoa, striking bright red fruits, currants and pencil lead. If you bought more than a bottle or two you should open one now and stick the rest in the back of the cellar. The best CS V to date. My rating: 95 points.

Every wine in the lineup is a triumph. This is the first release party going back many years where the Cabernet based wines stole the spotlight from the Rhone based wines. Something to think about as you plan your purchases.

Force Majeure warrants your attention and (as I write this) the winery is still accepting names for their mailing list.

If you enjoyed this post please consider subscribing to Zinfandel Chronicles updates by email.


Leave a Comment