Previously known as Grand Rêve, Force Majeure was founded in 2004 by Paul McBride. 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.
Force Majeure recently announced the hiring of Todd Alexander, formerly of Bryant Family Vineyards, as the winemaker for the Force Majeure Estate wines and Helen Keplinger of Keplinger Wines as the Consulting Enologist. Force Majeure Vineyard is located in the Red Mountain AVA and is currently planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Mourvedre, Syrah, Grenache and Viognier.
Force Majeure does two release parties per year. The Release Party this past Saturday was the second time I have had the opportunity to visit Force Majeure’s new winery. The winery, located near the Woodinville Warehouse District, is a huge step up from the previous facility.
The following wines were poured at the release party:
- 2013 Collaboration Series Viognier
- 2012 Collaboration Series III
- 2012 Collaboration Series VI
- 2012 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
- 2012 Estate Syrah
I did not take detailed notes but the highlights were the CS III and the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. Since the winery was founded the CS III has been my favorite wine and the ’12 version was no exception. Think rich, plush black and blue fruits intermixed with minerals and an amazing floral characteristic and you are on the right track. The Estate Cabernet is all about creme de cassis, red fruits and graphite with amazing concentration, texture and balance. If you need scores I would put both wines were in the 94-96 point range. Lastly, if you purchased the Viognier, save a bottle for Thanksgiving dinner. You can thank me later.
I also had the opportunity to try barrel samples of the 2013 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. The Cabernet shows tons of red fruit and graphite shrouded by a wall of silky tannins. The Syrah was dark, smoky and brooding with loads of potential.
Paul McBride previously told me the plan is to move towards 75% Estate wines with just a few Collaboration Series wines per year, as mailing list only.
Force Majeure is one of the most exciting wineries in Washington. If you haven’t already, I would encourage you to sign up for their mailing list.
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