Four from Force Majeure

Hello friends. We have a very limited set of new releases from Force Majeure today. This is the winery formerly known as Grand Reve; they changed their name under the gathering storm clouds of a trademark lawsuit.

For a longer origin story of this outstanding winery, check out our first Grand Reve offering. The short version:

1) All of today’s wines come from Ciel du Cheval Vineyard, managed by Ryan Johnson, the vineyard savant of Red Mountain and a partner in Force Majeure.

2) Each Collaboration Series corresponds to a different winemaker who collaborates with Ryan and Paul McBride to create a singular expression of Red Mountain terroir.

We’ll keep the verbiage short today, as the parcel allocated to us is just big enough to warrant a proper offering:

2009 Force Majeure Collaboration Series I (BDX Blend)

Collaboration Series I is a Cabernet-dominant Bordeaux blend (66%, rounded out with 12% each Petit Verdot and Cab Franc, and 10% Merlot), and the winemaker is Ben Smith from Cadence, who knows a thing or two about Red Mountain fruit (his entire lineup for Cadence comes from Red Mountain). No reviews yet, but previous vintages have received high praise from a number of different reviewers. This marks Ben’s sixth vintage making Collaboration Series I, an impressive record of consistent excellence.

It’s old-block Ciel fruit, and it shows in the wonderful depth of aromas and flavors, with violet and lavender topnotes above a core of blackcurrant fruit. There are classic Red Mountain notes of orange peel and cocoa powder, and the whole package presents a deep, intense mix of fruit and earth. Despite the fleshy 2009 vintage, Ben Smith can’t seem to help making a graceful, elegant wine.

2009 Force Majeure Collaboration Series III (Syrah)

CS III is 100% Syrah, and the winemaker is Mark McNeilly of Mark Ryan Winery. Not sure why, but this is by far the most widely-reviewed of today’s wines. I won’t add much, except to say that this is the most-immediately-approachable of the lineup; a black-hearted beast; an inky palate-stainer awash in brambly black fruit and mineral.

The Rhone Report (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 97pts.”

Washington Wine Report (Sean Sullivan): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. Rating: ***** (Exceptional).”

Wine Spectator (Harvey Steiman): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 94pts.”

2009 Force Majeure Collaboration Series V (Cabernet Sauvignon)

CS V partners with Chris Gorman of Gorman Winery. Formerly a Grenache-based wine, CS V will now (starting with this 2009 vintage) move to a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Those of us who have sampled Chris Gorman’s Cabs and BDX blends under the Gorman label should know what to expect here: a massive, beautiful, burly wine. Aromas of kirsch, violet, graphite, and woodsmoke give way to a rich, ripe palate, lifted by minty topnotes. This coats the entire palate, picking up steam into a delicious, ripe-tannin finish with plenty of depth and chew.

Washington Wine Report (Sean Sullivan): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. Rating: ***** (Exceptional).”

2011 Force Majeure Viognier

And a little bonus, a Viognier that now comes 70% from Force Majeure’s ankle-busting hillside planting (the remainder from Ciel). It’s vinified by Mark McNeilly, who uses a combination of neutral oak and stainless steel and puts it through partial malolactic. The result is a lovely Viognier that conveys richness and vibrancy in turn, no easy feat with this grape. There is great plumpness to the mouthfeel, complemented by a clean acid spine and a cooling mineral tone. Flavors are typical Viognier – peach, honeysuckle, candied ginger, and white flowers – but the overarching sense of balance is atypical indeed.

Please limit order requests to 3 bottles of Viognier and CS I, 2 bottles of CS III, and 1 bottle of CS V, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wines should arrive in about a week, at which point they will be available for pickup or shipping during the autumn shipping window.

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