Force Majeure was founded in 2004 by Paul McBride and made its name pairing 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 (CS) is a Who’s Who of Washington winemakers including Ben Smith, Carolyn Lakewold, Chris Gorman, James Mantone, Mark McNeilly and Mike McMorran. Todd Alexander, formerly of Bryant Family Vineyards, is the winemaker for the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.
The winery is in the process of transitioning from Collaboration wines to Estate wines. The release this Fall of the final wines from the 2013 vintage will, for the most part, mark the end of the current Collaboration Series. Going forward there will only be one off Collaboration wines.
I was extremely fortunate to sample the new release CS wines.
2013 Force Majeure CS I – Dark crimson in color. 14.8% ABV. 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet Franc, 12% Petit Verdot and 12% Malbec. Gorgeous nose of black fruits, mint, leather and earth. Complex and polished with old world qualities. Blackberry, black cherry, graphite and plums on the palate. The finish is long and graceful with silky tannins. Drink over the next 6-8 years. $65 at the winery and retail. My rating: 94 points.
2013 Force Majeure CS IV – Opaque purple in color. 14.8%% ABV. 72% Merlot, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot. Showstopping nose of crème de cassis, scorched earth, molten licorice and violets. Rich, plush and hedonistic. Raspberry liqueur, black currants, cassis and smoke on the palate. The finish is long and seamless with silky tannins. Stunning does not do this wine justice. The last and perhaps the best CS IV. Drink over the next decade. $60 at the winery and retail. My rating: 97 points.
2013 Force Majeure CS V – Opague purple in color. 14.9% ABV. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Big nose of red fruits, graphite, tobacco and mint. Concentrated and powerful with coarse tannins. Currants, cherries, cocoa powder and cassis on the palate. More tannins emerge on a very long finish. Needs time. Drink over the next 8-10 years. $90 at the winery and retail. My rating: 92 points.
Force Majeure is one of the most exciting wineries in the state. The winery is still accepting names for the mailing list and the wines reviewed above will be included in the upcoming release. Plan accordingly.
I’m going to miss the CS wines and in particular the Merlot dominant CS IV but am excited about the direction Paul McBride has in mind for Force Majeure. That being said, if the stars align, I would love to see a Reserve Merlot from Force Majeure at some point in the future.
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