The estate Cabernet Sauvignon is grown primarily along the southwest ridge of the vineyard. The vines produce small berries with bountiful flavor, concentration and intensity, but also a good degree of finesse, excellent structure and layers of complexity that will continue to develop during extended bottle aging for those who want to cellar and age their wines. The wine is powerful, elegant, full-bodied.
Bottled unfined and unfiltered.100% free run
Pumpovers and punch-downs, up to 45 day macerations
Native yeast, 5 day cold soaks
22 months in 75% new French oak barrels
Fermented in concrete and stainless closed top tanks.
"The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain Estate is a thrilling effort from winemaker Todd Alexander that rates with some of the most monumental wines to come out of Washington State. Based on 100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from their estate vineyard on Red Mountain, brought up in mostly new barrels, it reveals a saturated purple color that's followed by a rich, primordial bouquet of crème de cassis, espresso roast, crushed rock, and graphite. It needs considerable air to start to show its potential yet is a full-bodied, powerful wine that has subtle oak, plenty of sweet tannins, and a huge, layered finish that won't quit. It's the tannin management that's truly spectacular. This brilliant wine needs to be forgotten for 4-5 years and will keep for 2-3 decades."
- Jeb Dunnuck (April 2019), 99 pts
Force Majeure Parvata is made from 69% Mourvedre, 21% Syrah, 10% Grenache.
Parvata means “mountain” in sanskrit, and is the name for this southern Rhône-inspired blend, grown mostly in the sandy, loamy soils of the lower section of the Red Mountain vineyard, which bring to the wine a good degree of finesse and high-toned aromatic notes, white pepper, dried herbs and grapefruit peel.
"There are only 325 cases of the 2016 Parvata, a blend of 69% Mourvèdre, 21% Syrah, and 10% Grenache brought up in 30% new, mostly larger barrels. Deep ruby-colored, with a beautiful bouquet of black raspberries, white pepper, spiced meats, and graphite, this hits the palate with full-bodied richness, ripe tannins, and beautiful length."
- Jeb Dunnuck (April 2019), 96 pts
Force Majeure Epinette is made from 46% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Franc, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petit Verdot.
Epinette is Force Majeure's Right-bank Bordeaux-inspired blend, and was named after an avenue in Libourne (France) that leads to Pomerol and Saint-Émilion, the home of Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Epinette is also the name of a musical instrument akin to a piano, as well as a word for pine tree, which is a fitting nod to their home in Washington state.
The wine itself is a blend of primarily Merlot and Cabernet Franc, with smaller amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot, proportions of which change depending on the vintage. The Merlot and Cabernet Franc are grown in lower areas of the vineyard with deep, well-drained soils, much less rocky than the soils of our Rhone varietals.
"I loved the 2016 Epinette from barrel, and it certainly doesn't disappoint from bottle. Sporting a deep purple color as well as a huge bouquet of blackcurrants, black cherries, smoked earth, chocolate, and cedary spice, this flamboyant, powerful beauty hits the palate with loads of fruit, has sweet tannins, no hard edges, building tannins, and a huge finish. It's one seriously pleasure-bent effort that has another 10-15 years of prime drinking." - Jeb Dunnuck (April 2019), 96+ pts
Complex and compelling, this estate-grown Syrah sends up smoky notes of cured meat, nougat and caramel. Black cherry fruit anchors the barrel notes, and it just gets more and more delicious as it winds its way across the palate. This demonstrates classy winemaking and perfect balance.
The fruit for this wine is grown at an elevation of 1310 feet on the grounds of the Winery. The higher elevation and the proximity to the Blue Mountains, gives this vineyard a longer, cooler ripening season than most other areas of the Walla Walla Appellation. The cooler site results in a style much like that of a classic Northern Rhone with complexity and balance without the concentration and higher alcohol levels of Syrah produced in warmer areas.
"(from the estate's Mill Creek Upland vineyard): Bright full ruby. Lively butt but subdued scents of cassis, blackberry, minerals, brown spices, violet and licorice; showing a distinctly dark side of Syrah. Intensely flavored, firm and juicy; not a particularly fleshy or pliant style but offers lovely inner-mouth violet lift and a dense weave to the flavors of dark berries and minerals. This serious Syrah boasts a firm spine of acids and tannins and finishes with sneaky persistence. Dry, laid-back and rather classic wine, in need of time in bottle to expand and gain in complexity. (14.7% alcohol) - Stephen Tanzer"
- Antonio Galloni's Vinous (November 2018), 92 pts
No Syrah terroir in Sonoma County compares with Sonoma Mountain’s northwest crown—cool fog-affected mornings, sun-bathed afternoons, cooled by persistent coastal breezes, and temperate evenings. The soils in Steiner’s Syrah blocks — ashy and moondust-like, littered with decomposing sea bed — further contribute to the unique nature of this site. After a 3-vintage hiatus, I am thrilled to be back working with Steiner Vineyard’s Syrah. By its nature, this slow-to-ripen, cool-climate site produces fabulously deep, intense, structured wines. Now, raising a big, brawny Syrah is no rare act of alchemy. It is the wonder of Steiner’s terroir — a magical elegance and beauty, informing the inherent power, depth and intensity — that makes this bottling so special. 2016 produced a classic wine that deftly balances massive flavors and texture, while retaining vital freshness, and a palpable sense of cool. Production was low, so get it while you can. Simply a “WOW” wine, not to be missed.
VINEYARD: Steiner Vineyard. Located at 1,100 ft, on the northwest crown of Sonoma Mountain. CRUSH: Early morning harvest by hand, October 1st, cluster and berry sorted, destemmed and crushed. FERMENT: 5-day cold soaks, followed by 14 day native fermentation in open-top bins. AGING: 20 months, French oak, 100% new, mixture of 300L hogsheads and barrique shapes. Never racked prior to bottling. Bottled unfined, unfiltered.
"Refined and stylish, featuring a complex core wrapped in multilayered blackberry and blueberry flavors, laced with bitter chocolate, black licorice and smoky meat notes. Drink now through 2030.- Tim FISH"
- Wine Spectator Insider (January 15th 2020), 93 PTS
Avennia Arnaut Syrah is made of 100% Syrah
For our taste, no one grows finer Syrah in the state than Dick Boushey. We named this wine after the Provencal Troubadour Arnaut Daniel, who invented the Sestina poem form, thus creating a connection between our two flagship efforts.
"Deep, dark Syrah notes on the nose, with dark blackberry, blueberry reduction, grilled meat, crushed olive, black licorice, camphor, pen ink, and cracked black pepper. The palate is super concentrated and dense, tightly focused, and deeply complex. Savory blueberry, pan drippings, a hint of orange essence, and hand-rubbed sage come through on the extremely long and nuanced finish. A compelling wine that will age for a couple decades at least." - Chris Peterson, Winemaker
We make this wine with minimal manipulation, using native yeasts and bottling unfined and unfiltered, to allow the "place" to shine through.
AVA: Yakima Valley
Blend: 100% Boushey Vineyard Syrah
Winemaking: 15% whole cluster, native yeast, 15% new French oak, aged 16 months, bottled unfined & unfiltered.
VA .62 g/L
The flagship Syrah is the 2016 Syrah Arnaut, which is always 100% Syrah from Dick Boushey’s vineyard in the Yakima Valley. This deep ruby-colored effort is as silky and seamless as it gets, offering loads of black raspberry, blackberry, smoked earth, spice, and hints of chocolate. Medium to full-bodied, ultra-pure, and impeccably balanced, it's a beautiful wine from Chris to enjoy over the coming 10-15 years. Winemaker Chris Peterson continues to fashion some of the most impressive wines in the State. These are always more classical in style and show plenty of acidity and structure in their youth, yet they blossom with just short term cellaring and are brilliant wines. - Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points
Force Majeure estate Syrah is made from 100 percent Syrah.
The Force Majeure estate Syrah is cultivated in a combination of the 8 soil types that exist in the vineyard, with most of it being planted in very steep, very rocky locations, but some also planted in deeper, loamier soils.
The estate Syrah typically exhibits a broad spectrum of black, blue and red fruits, dried herbs and jasmine, fennel, smoked meats and crushed rock along with very fine tannins, great length, balance and complexity.
AppellationRed Mountain Varietal(s) 100% Syrah
Soil type Very steep, rocky locations, but some also planted in deeper, loamier soils
Vinification 22% whole cluster, remainder destemmed. Fermented in concrete, open top and closed top stainless. ~25% new French oak for 18 months, mostly larger format (300L to 500L) Native yeast, cold soak up front Macerations up to 30 days; pumpovers and punch-downs 100% free run. The wine is bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Production 500 (9-liter cases)
"The 2016 Syrah Estate checks in as 100% Syrah that saw a small amount of stems. It spent 18 months in 25% new French oak. Deeply colored, it displays a thrilling bouquet of smoked black fruits, violets, smoked meats, charcoal, and graphite. Deep, rich, incredibly fleshy and flamboyant, with perfect balance, it's a serious, world-class Syrah that will keep for 10-15 years."
- Jeb Dunnuck (April 2019), 97 pts
Force Majeure is an ultra-premium winery located in the Walla Walla Valley, specializing in estate-grown, single-vineyard Bordeaux and Rhône-inspired wines. Our wines are meticulously crafted by former Bryant Family Vineyard Winemaker, Todd Alexander. From its inception, Force Majeure has been defined by unwavering commitment to outstanding viticulture and exemplary winemaking. Our original estate vineyard is located in the famous Red Mountain AVA and we have added two new vineyard sites over the past couple of years in the Walla Walla Valley. Our estate vineyards are painstakingly farmed by a stellar team.
“Force Majeure” describes the relentless, powerful elements of Nature that form the terroir of our vineyard. It also identifies the “unstoppable force” initiated when the highest level of viticulture is combined with the highest level of winemaking talent.
Our wines are produced in small quantities and are available via mailing list, as well as through a few select retailers and finer restaurants. We invite you to add your name to our mailing list to receive upcoming wine allocation offers. Wines are typically released two to three times per year.
RED MOUNTAIN AVA
Drawing inspiration from the great vineyards of Bordeaux, the Northern and Southern Rhône valleys, as well as parts of Spain, and with a desire to challenge existing viticultural practices in Washington state, we embarked on an ambitious plan to pioneer the very first vineyard on the steep, rocky upper slopes of Red Mountain, from where we knew we could create wines that were profound and powerful yet balanced and finessed, distinct and world-class. Most importantly, we knew the site would be unique and singular.
The effort to develop our Red Mountain estate site involved the careful matching of varietal and clonal selections, trellising and irrigation to the eight distinct soil types in our vineyard that were formed by the ancient Missoula floods, winds and volcanic activity. The outcome is a vineyard articulated into many small “micro-blocks,” maximizing the potential of this unique and dynamic site. This steep vineyard ranges in elevation from 960 to 1,230 feet and is, of course, completely farmed by hand. The rocky upper-slope with shallow soil is well suited to the cultivation of varietals such as Syrah and Grenache, while the lower blocks of the vineyard are comprised of deep, well-drained Warden soils, where varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc excel.
The overall exposure of the site is west/southwest, and the Syrah planted on the hill is tightly spaced to provide some shade on the fruit. The soils have a volcanic foundation, being composed of fractured basalt, concreted ash and wind-blown loess with a high calcium carbonate content and granite erratics from the Missoula floods. The site was purchased in 2004 and development began in 2006.
ROCKS DISTRICT OF MILTON-FREEWATER AVA
We have recently acquired a small vineyard in the Walla Walla Valley, one-hour drive from Red Mountain. The property is partially within the boundaries of the The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater AVA, on the Oregon side of the border, and is located adjacent to the site of our new winery. The portion of the vineyard outside The Rocks District is within the borders of the Walla Walla Valley AVA. The Rocks District is an alluvial fan, and the cobbles that define the area are a result of deposits left by the Walla Walla River. This vineyard was planted between 1992 and 1994, and has a diverse soil profile that sets it apart from other vineyards in the area, and certainly from our Red Mountain site. The amount of soil covering the cobble stones is highest at the north end of the property and most shallow at the southern end. This gives us a lot of diversity within a small area, and the grapes will have different characteristics depending on the soil composition where they are grown. This vineyard is in an area proven to have very distinct terroir, and we know we can push the site further by bringing it under our care and attention.
THE NORTH FORK OF THE WALLA WALLA RIVER
Over the past couple of years, we have been in search of additional land to develop vineyards that differ from our Red Mountain estate, yet are capable of matching or exceeding the quality we achieve from that site. This search resulted in the acquisition of The Rocks District site mentioned previously, as well as the discovery of a new and exiting region about 15 minutes away from there.
As you move east from The Rocks District and our new winery, in about 15 minutes drive the topography changes dramatically – from flat lands with cobblestone soils to deep canyons with tall, steep hills as you approach the Blue Mountains that line the eastern ridge of the Walla Walla Valley. The area is wild and untamed, with only a couple of small vineyards located nearby. This area does not yet have a name, but the locals refer to it the as “The North Fork” because the North Fork of the Walla Walla River runs along the bottom of the canyon.
We have recently acquired a large piece of land in this area. It is a spectacularly beautiful site, and its elevation rises to almost 2100 feet. As it is so close to the Blue Mountains, it receives significantly more rainfall than many other parts of the Walla Walla Valley and Red Mountain. The high temperatures in the summer are more moderate, and the cold temperatures in the winter are less extreme than on the valley floor. The growing season at this site will be longer than either site in The Rocks District or Red Mountain.
This is a huge and exciting step into new and mostly unexplored territory, but promises to feed our passion for hillside sites and the wines made from them. We believe this site is capable of nurturing some of the best wine grapes, not just in the Pacific Northwest, but in North America. The combination of climatic characteristics, exposure and aspects as well as soil composition should make this land one of the most exciting new viticultural areas in the United States. In the future, this region is sure to be a new, single AVA. The size of that future AVA may be as small as 500 acres.
The unique topography and geological variants in these vineyards provide us with a versatility that allows us to cultivate a variety of compelling fruit characterized by stunning intensity, depth, concentration and complex flavors. The sites are all distinct and singular – yet taken together, they provide a fascinating exposition of the terroir in this region of the world.
Ayni Vino de Parcella Gravas is 100% Malbec
Ayni Gravas was created show the diversity of wine profiles that can be derived from Paraje Altamira’s terroir. The goal with this particular wine is to show a markedly calcareous profile that derives in a more intense black fruit flavor profile and a chalky tannin structure with great age potential, as opposed to the more feminine and elegant style which is typical from Paraje Altamira wines.
Chakana plans to further develop this wine, increasing its accents through vineyard selection and oak aging. Over time, production can potentially increase to 10,000 bottles (maximum).
Ayni Gravas is produced from smaller plots of a 20 hectare vineyard in Paraje Altamira, Valle de Uco, Mendoza. Paraje Altamira is a Geographical Indication (IG) located on the alluvial cone of the Tunuyan River. The Ayni vineyard has been planted on virgin soils on the upper (south western) side of the cone. The vineyard is crossed by numerous smaller river beds that once formed the river delta, and these create a pattern of different soil depths and gravel formations, imparting very different characteristics on the wine. Ayni Gravas is produced only with the sections of the vineyard where the calcium carbonated gravels come to the surface and the vines grow amongst them with no soil. Only a smaller percentage of the vineyard (approximately 20%) features these conditions.
Pairs well with grilled meats and stews.
"Dark medium ruby. Enticing violet lift to the aromas of boysenberry, blackberry and licorice; wild but not excessively so. Juicy and fine-grained, with penetrating chalky minerality enlivening the flavors of crushed blackberry, flowers and spices. In a very savory, almost salty style, finishing dry and firm, with fresh, fine-grained tannins and lovely energy and length. (just 12.5% alcohol; from the same vineyard as the Ayni Vineyard Paraje Altamira but from a selection of soils) - Stephen Tanzer"
- Antonio Galloni's Vinous (June 2019), 91 pts
"There is a new 2017 Ayni Parcela Gravas, a selection of Malbec from their Ayni vineyard in Paraje Altamira from very shallow plots with a high content of limestone. The nature of the soils might have resulted in some stress in a warm and dry year like 2017, and the wine felt a bit ripe and with harsher tannins than the regular Ayni. For the rest, the production and élevage remained more or less the same. I look forward to seeing the results in a cooler year. For now, the tannins need a little bit of time in bottle. 3,000 bottles were filled in March 2019. - Luis Gutiérrez"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #245, October 2019), 91 pts
Perchaud Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaume is made from 100 percent Chardonnay
Elegant citrus aromas. Concentrated and elegant, combining flavors dried fruit and woody notes. Nice balance between matter and acidity, long and persistent finish.
Made from 35 year old vines. The owners take great care to produce exceptional Chablis wine by keeping the lively Chardonnay fruit and the unique mineral quality imparted by the Kimmeridgian soil, the fruity acidity and bouquet in perfect balance. The grapes are harvested by hand and gently pressed in a horizontal pressoir to ensure the fullest extraction and range of flavors and aromas.
Pair with Scallops Jacques cream, roast veal with oyster mushrooms.