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Posts tagged ‘Force Majeure’

2011 Force Majeure Collaboration Series Grenache – Bottle Notes

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 winery recently transitioned from Collaboration wines to Estate wines. Todd Alexander, formerly of Bryant Family Vineyards, is the winemaker for the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. There is also a second label that was introduced last year named Parabellum.

85% Grenache and 15% Mourvedre made by James Mantone of Syncline.

Bright crimson in color. 15.9% ABV. Subdued nose of red fruits, gravel and kirsch. Full bodied with optimal acidity and great mouthfeel. Richly textured and well balanced. Cherries, cassis, black raspberries and white pepper on the palate. The finish is long and pure. Pretty wine and the Mourvedre might be the here here. Drink over the next 5-7 years.

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 .

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.

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2007 Force Majeure Collaboration Series IV – Bottle Notes

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 winery recently transitioned from Collaboration wines to Estate wines. Todd Alexander, formerly of Bryant Family Vineyards, is the winemaker for the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. There is also a second label that was introduced last year named Parabellum.

Interesting to note that this is one of my last Grand Reve bottles which was the original name of the winery prior to Force Majeure.

Violet in color. 13.6% ABV. 60% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Petit Verdot. Soaring nose of red fruits, anise and graphite. Rich and polished with layers of fruit. Currants, cassis, cherries and molten licorice on the palate. The finish is incredibly long and plush. This wine has lost some of the baby fat of years past and is taking on some cool tertiary characteristics. In a great place now. One of the best Merlot based wines in Washington. Drink over the next 4-6 years.

My rating: 94 points.

Force Majeure is one of the most exciting wineries in the state. The winery is still accepting names for the mailing list .

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.

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The Best of Zinfandel Chronicles in 2016

The end of the year is always a time to reflect on what transpired in the previous twelve months. With that in mind I took a moment to look at what posts in 2016 generated the most traffic (excluding Bottle Notes, The Week in Zinfandel and Pick My Next Bottle polls). Since many of you just recently started reading my blog (thank you!), I thought I’d put together a list of the most popular posts.

Enjoy!

In the past year or so I find myself writing about wine less and reviewing wine more. When I set out on this many years ago I had hoped to create a better balance. In my defense I sometimes feel like many topics have been covered over and over by other wine bloggers. I don’t have interest in trying to put a new spin on a tired topic. With that caveat I do hope to do more “writing” in the upcoming year.

A sincere thanks to all of you who take the time to read Zinfandel Chronicles! Additionally, I would like to acknowledge those of you who take the time to leave comments on my blog. Your thoughts are much appreciated.

Salud!

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2010 Force Majeure Collaboration Series VI – Bottle Notes

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, for the most part, marked the end of the current Collaboration Series. Going forward there will only be one off Collaboration wines.

Ruby red in color. 14.8% ABV. 56% Mourvedre, 38% Syrah and 6% Grenache. Riveting nose of black fruits, iron and tar. Medium to full body with tons of acidity. Young and plush with noticeable tannins. Blackberry, grilled meats and blood on the palate. The finish is long. The wine will clearly benefit from time in the cellar. Drink over the next 3-5 years.

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 .

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.

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

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New Release Wines from Force Majeure

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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2009 Force Majeure Collaboration Series II – Bottle Notes

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” 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 CS II is a blend of 98% Syrah, 1% Viognier and 1% Roussanne made by Ross Mickel of Ross Andrew Winery.

Purple in color. 14.2% ABV. Gorgeous nose of roses, iron, minerals and black fruits. Roses does not quite do it justice. Think a bouquet of a dozen freshly cut roses and you are on the right track. Rich and full bodied with healthy acidity. Flavors of crushed blackberries, bacon fat and coffee. The finish is exceptional. Drink over the next 3-5 years.

My rating: 93 points.

The winery is in the process of transitioning from Collaboration wines to Estate Wines. The 2013 vintage will mark the end of the current lineup of Collaboration Series wines. Going forward there will be one off Collaboration wines.

Force Majeure is one of the most exciting wineries in the state of Washington. The winery is still accepting names for their mailing list.

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

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Force Majeure Fall Release Wines

Force Majeure was founded in 2004 by Paul McBride and Ryan Johnson 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” is a Who’s Who of Washington winemakers including Ben Smith, Carolyn Lakewold, Chris Gorman, James Mantone, Mark McNeilly and Mike MacMorran.

Todd Alexander, formerly of Bryant Family Vineyards, is the winemaker for the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Helen Keplinger of Keplinger Wines is working with Force Majeure as a consulting winemaker.

In years past Force Majeure has done two release parties. 2015 marked the first year where there was just a single release party in the Spring. In the absence of a Fall release party I was fortunate to be welcomed to the winery to taste through the new wines with both Paul McBride and Todd Alexander.

Before we get to Bottle Notes though I want to make sure all of you are up to speed on the ever changing wine lineup at Force Majeure. The winery is in the process of transitioning from Collaboration wines to Estate Wines. The 2013 vintage will mark the end of the current lineup of Collaboration Series wines. Going forward there will be one off Collaboration wines. As we were tasting through the new releases Chris Peterson of Avennia wandered into the winery. He happens to be making a Collaboration Series VII for Force Majeure.

Force Majeure is also launching a second label. Parabellum will be made with grapes not used in the Estate Wines and will likely retail in the $45 range. Last but not least, as Force Majeure moves to all Estate wines, the plan will be two releases per year. Rhone style wines in the Spring and Bordeaux style wines in the Fall.

Below are brief impressions on the new releases:

2012 Ptera – 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Syrah all from Force Majeure Vineyard. This wine was made by Mike MacMorran. Great nose of anise, flowers and smoke. Round and plush. Cherries, game, blueberries and pepper on the palate. My rating: 92 points.

2012 CS I – A Bordeaux style blend made by Ben Smith. 64% Cabernet Sauvignon with Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Classic nose of graphite, sage and creme de cassis. Currants, raspberries and licorice on the palate. Super sweet and delicious with supple tannins. My rating: 94 points.

2011 CS IV – 72% Merlot, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon and small amounts of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Made by Carolyn Lakewold. Molten licorice, chocolate and lavender on the nose. Rich and ripe. Cassis liqueur, plums and blueberries on the palate. World class Merlot. My rating: 96 points.

2012 CS V – 100% Cabernet Sauvignon made by Chris Gorman. Huge nose of red fruits, smoke and cocoa. Blackberry, currants and cassis on the palate. Silky tannins. Think iron fist in a velvet glove and you are on the right track. My rating: 95 points.

All of these wine should age effortlessly for at least a decade. I think this is the strongest release yet from Force Majeure.

The mailing list at Force Majeure is still open. The winery recently moved to a first come first served structure when filling orders. Future allocations are based on past purchases.

If you are not on the mailing list you should be able to find the wines in the Greater Seattle area at McCarthy & Schiering, Full Pull Wines and Compass Wines.

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2009 Force Majeure Collaborations Series Sangiovese – Bottle Notes

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” 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 CS Sangiovese is 80% Sangiovese and 20% Barbera made by Carolyn Lakewold.

Violet in color. 13.6% ABV. Red fruits, plums, leather and Christmas spice on the nose. Medium body with light acidity. Ripe cherries, licorice, chalk and cranberries on the palate. Gritty tannins on a nice, long finish. Interesting wine that pushes the envelope of ripeness. Drink over the next 1-2 years.

My rating: 90 points.

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

In other news Force Majeure opened a new winery this past Fall. Located near the Woodinville Warehouse District, the winery is a huge step up from the previous facility. Concrete tanks, barrel storage and space for winemaker dinners were just a few of the highlights.

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2009 Force Majeure Collaboration Series III Syrah – Bottle Notes

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” 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 CS III is 100% Syrah made by Mark McNeilly of Mark Ryan.

Dark ruby red in color. 14.5% ABV. Great nose of cool blue fruits, flowers and minerals. Rich, lush and hedonistic. Blueberries, blackberries, white pepper and grilled meats on the palate. Fresh and fun to drink. This wine is so consistently good. What a triumph! Drink over the next 3-5 years.

My rating: 94 points.

In just a few short years Force Majeure has become one of the top 5 Syrah producers in Washington. Look for the 2011 version that was released last year. $55 at the winery and retail.

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

In other news Force Majeure opened a new winery this past Fall. Located near the Woodinville Warehouse District, the winery is a huge step up from the previous facility. Concrete tanks, barrel storage and space for winemaker dinners were just a few of the highlights.

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Force Majeure Fall 2014 Release Party

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.

Force Majeure does two release parties per year. The release party this past Saturday was noteworthy as it marked the debut of Force Majeure’s new winery. The winery, located near the Woodinville Warehouse District, is a huge step up from the previous facility. Concrete tanks, barrel storage and space for winemaker dinners were just a few of the highlights.

The following wines were poured at the release party:

  • 2011 Collaboration Series I
  • 2011 Collaboration Series III
  • 2011 Collaboration Series V
  • 2010 Collaboration Series Ptera
  • 2012 Collaboration Series Grenache

The wines are all rich, dense, extracted and hedonistic. I was too busy catching up with friends to take detailed notes. That being said, the wines were all exceptional. The best wine was the CS III followed closely by the CS V and CS I. Force Majeure continues to make big strides with their Cabernet based wines. The Grenache has huge upside but is painfully young. The Ptera is well made but was outclassed by the others.  If you need scores, I would say 92 on the low end with the CS III in the 95-96 point range.

Paul McBride told me the plan is to move towards 75% Estate wines with just a few Collaboration Series wines per year, as mailing list only.

Exciting times at Force Majeure!

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.

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