Full Pull Force Majeure

Hello friends. We’ve reached the penultimate release for Force Majeure’s Collaboration Series. You might remember that 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.

Well, the estate site is now fully online, and the winery, as promised, is winding down the Collaboration Series. After today’s release (which includes three CS wines, as well as the rare Estate Syrah from that crazy mountain-top vineyard), there will be just one more: the 2013 CS VI, scheduled to be released in autumn. That’s all she wrote.

I have a feeling that the looming end of the Collaboration Series combined with the miniscule production of these wines is going to make allocations as challenging as ever for this fine winery. We have access to four small parcels of four very different Syrahs. Let’s dig into them.

2012 Force Majeure Collaboration Series II (Syrah)
The last of the 2012 Collabs to be released, and the finale of Series II, made in conjunction with Ross Mickel of Ross Andrew Winery. It is 98% Syrah cofermented with 2% Viognier. 200 cases produced. A smoky, spicy nose of huckleberry, violet (thank you Viognier) and bergamot leads into a ripe, rich palate. This is supple, approachable Syrah, in a lovely drinking place right now. The Viognier adds lift and inner-mouth perfume to keep things fresh, and the finish is all smoky high-cacao chocolate. No reviews yet for this beauty, in bottle or in barrel.

2013 Force Majeure Collaboration Series III (Syrah)
The finale for the CS III, which is a 100% Syrah, made from four clones of the grape, by Mike MacMorran of Mark Ryan Winery. Just 130 cases produced, and it clocks in at 14.9% listed alc. It pours inky black-purple, and offers a mildly reductive nose of black plum, black pepper, and woodsmoke. A big, rich powerhouse, this is like Washington’s version of Mollydooker Shiraz, a Red Mountain Blue Eyed Boy. The balance of structure tilts more towards tannin here than in any of the other Syrahs on offer today. Opulently textured, with density and intensity to spare, this is unapologetically delicious.

Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 95-97pts.”

2013 Force Majeure Collaboration Series VII (Syrah)
This is both debut and finale for Collaboration Series VII, a Syrah made with our pal Chris Peterson from Avennia. Chris cofermented 97% Syrah with 2% Roussanne and 1% Viognier, and his version clocks in at 14.7% listed alc. Coming from the same vintage/vineyard as the CS III, this could not be a more different expression of Syrah. It is high-toned, with floral lift on a deep core of boysenberry fruit and dusty mineral. Jeb says he had multiple “wows” in his notes for CS III; mine were reserved for CS VII. I was seduced by the live-wire energy, the way the wine hummed across the palate, full of electricity. It’s a seamless palate-stainer that charms with its verve and nervy character. The mix of dusty earth and purple fruit is just right. Chris’ talent for emphasizing the ribald, earthy side of Syrah shines through here.

Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 94-96pts.”

2013 Force Majeure Estate Syrah
This is 100% Syrah grown at Force Majeure’s estate site high up on Red Mountain, in ankle-busting territory. Fermentations were done by Mike MacMorran, and the wine was finished by Todd Alexander, who is the current Force Majeure winemaker. It pours into the glass inky black-purple and comes roaring up out of the glass with a nose of mixed berries, silty earth, and wonderful smoky charcuterie, with some floral topnotes as well. The palate intensity is just wild here, as this one fans out and coats every nook of the palate. It’s such a broad, pleasurable wine, with nary a shred of excess weight. Complex, deeply-stuffed, and densely-layered, this is a very impressive expression of a special piece of Washington terroir. The best is yet to come for this wine.

Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 94-97pts.”

Please limit order requests to 12 bottles total (mix and match as you like) 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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