Three from Force Majeure

Saturday Pickup REMINDER: We will have bonus pickup hours for TPU members on Saturday November 22, from 10am-2pm. As an extra treat, Ben Smith will be joining us to pour Cadence wines, a combination of current release and (woohoo!) library wines. List members and their invited guests are welcome, but please note: we expect it to be a *very* busy day, so please do e-mail us if you’re planning to come in.
Hello friends. Force Majeure made some big headlines over the summer when they announced the hiring of Todd Alexander as their new head winemaker and general manager. Todd was formerly winemaker at Bryant Family Vineyard, one of California’s cult wineries with Cabernets that command upwards of $500 at auction. Of course it will be many years before Todd’s influence on the winery becomes clear, but in the meantime, the Force Majeure lineup has never been better. Here’s Jeb Dunnuck’s introduction from this summer’s Wine Advocate:


Today we have FM’s three autumn releases. As usual, I expect allocations to be competitive (especially with strong press already published), but we’ll advocate for as much as we can.

2011 Force Majeure Collaboration Series I

Collaboration Series I is a Cabernet-dominant Bordeaux blend, 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). He’s working with some of the oldest (1975 and 1982-planted) blocks of Ciel du Cheval fruit here. Interesting that – by score, anyway – this was Jeb’s least favorite of the three, since I’m pretty sure it was the most compelling of the three for me. I’m just a big fan of Ben Smith’s style, and this is a great example of that style, full of elegance, finesse, class. Aromas and flavors combine cassis fruit with insistent earthy soil tones and lovely floral rosewater notes. Serious, intense, and full of character and Cabernet chew, this is a fine expression of Red Mountain. Just 200 cases produced.

Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 93pts.”

2011 Force Majeure Collaboration Series III

Collaboration Series III is 100% Syrah, 220 cases produced, and the winemakers are Mike Macmorran and Mark McNeilly of Mark Ryan Winery. This is just lovely in the cooler 2011 vintage, which provides a beautiful cool-year acid spine to support a riot of delicious fruit and earth tones. Smoky peaty earth, boysenberry fruit, pretty violet topnotes; just lovely. It’s intense and silky-soft texturally, with just the right amount of spiciness; like a dash of cayenne on a delicious dish. What an easy wine to love!

Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 96pts.”

2011 Force Majeure Collaboration Series V

Collaboration Series V is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, 170 cases produced, and the winemaker is Chris Gorman of Gorman Winery. This is an incredible example of old-vine Red Mountain Cab, offering all four Cabernet corners: fruit (crème de cassis), earth/herb (mint and beetroot), flower (violet), and barrel (espresso). The vine age really shines through on the palate, which somehow retains a sense of grace despite its overt power. There are huge, delicious, chewy earl-gray tannins here, coddling a core of smoky black fruit and minerals. The degree of stuffing here is just remarkable, and I’m inclined to agree with Jeb’s drinking window or maybe even beyond. Structure, balance, and concentration; this has all the ingredients to evolve positively for a very long time.

Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 95pts.”

Please limit order requests to 6 bottles of CS I, 3 bottles of CS III, and 3 bottles of CS V, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wines should arrive in a week or two, at which point they will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.

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