Hello friends. Back when Force Majeure launched (actually, the winery was called Grand Reve back then, pre-trademark lawsuit), the idea was to produce the Collaboration Series of wines while waiting for the estate vineyard (planted crazily high and crazily steep towards the top of Red Mountain) to come online. The Collaboration Series combined different Washington winemakers with plots of beautiful old Ciel du Cheval Vineyard fruit, and they quickly established a rabid following, from both consumers and critics.
Which, I’ll admit, led me to wonder whether the winery would execute on that original plan, or maybe find a way to keep the Collaboration Series going even with the estate vineyards online. Well, we have our answer, and to his credit, Paul McBride is sticking with the original plan. The 2013 vintage will be the final vintage for the Collaboration Series wines. After that, it’s all estate all the time.
What that means for us: we likely have four more chances (including today) to access the striking Collaboration Series wines. There are the spring-release 2012s (today), then the autumn-release 2012s, the spring-release 2013s, and the autumn-release 2013s. It’s all going to be over before we know it, so let’s celebrate the looming end of an era with the first set of Collabs from the outrageous 2012 vintage. As usual with this winery, our allocations will be quite limited.
Collaboration Series III is 100% Syrah, 220 cases produced, and the winemakers are Mike Macmorran and Mark McNeilly of Mark Ryan Winery. They raised the wine for 20 months in French oak barrels, one-third new and two-thirds neutral, and the wine clocks in at 14.7% listed alc.
Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 95-97pts.”
Series VI is made by James Mantone of Syncline, and it is a Mourvedre-dominant (55%) Rhone blend, rounded out with 39% Syrah and 6% Grenache, all from Ciel du Cheval. It was fermented in concrete and then aged in large puncheons, all to keep as much fruit character as possible. Listed alc in 2012 is 14.8%, and total production is just 265 cases. This one was not reviewed out of barrel by Jeb, but we can share winery tasting notes: The wine opens with a core of beautifully delineated fresh red fruits, enveloped by perfumed notes of rhubarb, saddle leather, anise, lavender, graphite, pepper and even grapefruit. The 2012 Collaboration VI has a supple and textured palate with pleasing acidity, complexity and fantastic length.
That sounds about right. Based on past vintages, I’d expect a wine with serious Mourvedre character, which usually means a sauvage personality, roasted game notes, citrus pith bitters, and plenty of Red Mountain minerality. This is usually the most energetic wine in the Force Majeure portfolio.
And a little bonus, a Viognier that now comes entirely from Force Majeure’s ankle-busting hillside estate vineyard. It’s vinified by Mike MacMorran of Mark Ryan and done entirely in concrete eggs (nifty!). Listed alc is 14.3%, and production is miniscule: just 70 cases.
Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 90-92pts.”
Please limit order requests to 4 bottles of each wine, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wines should arrive in the next week or two, at which point they will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.