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Force Majeure Estate Syrah 2017

ID No: 447004
Vintage:2017
Bottle Size:750 ml
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Force Majeure Estate Syrah 2018

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)

Review:

The 2018 Syrah Estate includes a splash of Viognier and was fermented with 15% stems and brought up in a mix of new and used barrels. A huge nose of blueberries, black raspberries, spring flowers, smoked game, and ground pepper notes give way to a full-bodied, multi-dimensional, gorgeous barrel sample that has no hard edges, incredible balance, and a finish that won’t quit. While the Viognier gives some cushion to the classic Red Mountain structure of this wine, it’s still going to benefit from 2-4 years of bottle age. My money is on this being one of the top wines of the vintage.

-Jeb Dunnuck 97-100 Points


 100 Points
Force Majeure Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

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.

Review:


"Opens with a burst of rich black raspberry and smoky pepper flavors, building tension and structure toward muscular, mineral-tinged tannins. Best from 2022 through 2030. —Tim FISH"   - Wine Spectator's Insider (June 10th 2020), 93 pts


 Wine Spectator: 93
Force Majeure Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

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.

Review:

"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


 99 Points
Force Majeure Epinette 2017

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.


Review:

"Billed as the estate’s Right Bank blend, the 2017 Epinette is all estate and 53% Merlot, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Cabernet Franc, and the rest Petit Verdot. It’s a rich, powerful, Château Pavie-like wine that has classic Red Mountain minerality as well as notes of blackcurrants, chocolate, violets, sagebrush, and white truffles. Rich, medium to full-bodied, and beautifully concentrated, with building tannins, it’s going to benefit from 2-4 years of bottle age and keep for 10-15 years."
- Jeb Dunnuck (April 2020), 95+ pts

 95 Points
Force Majeure Parvata 2017

Force Majeure Parvata is made from 69% Mourvedre, 21% Syrah, 10% Grenache (2016) / 43% Mourvedre, 25% Grenache, 23% Syrah, 4% Cinsault, 5% Counoise

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.

Review:


"Bright ruby-red. Lovely verve to the aromas of blackberry, blueberry, licorice and sexy oak. Densely packed and fresh, with its flavors of crushed blackberry, bitter chocolate, licorice and exotic Asian spices showing much more grip than the 2015 bottling. Still a bit youthfully rigid today and in need of a year or two of patience. My second bottle showed similar aromas and flavors but was richer, broader and more pliant, finishing with ripe, fine-grained tannins and building length. (14.8% alcohol; aged in 25% new French oak, mostly 400- and 500-liter barrels; 3.89 pH) - Stephen Tanzer" - Antonio Galloni's Vinous (December 2019), 92 pts

 Vinous Antonio Galloni: 92
Force Majeure Parvata 2016

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.

Review:

"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

 96 Points
Product Description

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)

Review:

"A stunning, world-class wine from Red Mountain, the 2017 Syrah Estate is the finest example yet from this steep, rocky terroir and winemaker Todd Alexander. With extraordinary notes of blackberry, smoked game, cassis, graphite, charred meats, and spring flowers, it’s reminiscent of a top Cote Rotie from the Cote Blonde. With full-bodied richness, a beautiful, layered, multi-dimensional texture, ripe tannins, and integrated oak, it’s beautiful today yet will benefit from short-term cellaring and cruise for 15-20 years or more in cool cellars. This sensational wine will stand toe to toe with the best out there." - Jeb Dunnuck (April 2020), 99 pts

Winery: Force Majeure

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.

Vineyards:

“Force Majeure has already established itself in the top tier of Washington wineries.” – Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator


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.


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James arrived in Adelaide in 1839 as a 16-year-old sailor. Twelve years later, his life changed forever with the news of gold findings. For the next 20 years, James roamed the country learning the geology that improved his chances of prospecting.

James Goddard Shiraz is made from 100 percent Shiraz. 

In 1870, he tried his luck near his farm in the Barossa Valley and discovered the region’s first gold deposits, creating the prosperous Lady Alice Mine. The Lady Alice Mine, though it is no longer operational, was & still is the most successful gold mine in South Australia. From these roots, the Thorn-Clarke family has been connected to the region for the last 150 years.

James Goddard Shiraz is a blend Shiraz sourced from the Milton Park vineyard in the north of Eden Valley, and the St Kitts vineyard in the far northern area of the Barossa. Fruit is harvested in the cool of the night to maintain maximum flavour and freshness and it is fermented for 8 days. The ferment is pumped over twice daily to extract the colour and flavour from the fruit. Once finished fermentation the wine was then matured in a blend of French and American oak for a period of 10 to 12 months depending on the vintage.

Deep vibrant red with purple hues to the rim. The nose shows lifted plums, vibrant purple berries and a delicate spice note. The palate has concentrated satsuma plum, blackberry with lovely charry oak in the background. Long, juicy and even with plush fruit on the finish.


Review:

 “Blended from two estate vineyards, St. Kitts and Milton Park, this shiraz offers its richness without any aggression or overt perfume. It’s just lush and delicious, a friendly embrace of firm tannins and purple-red fruit. The texture and flavor combine in a saturated meatiness, for Korean barbecue.”

- Wine & Spirits Magazine, 92 points


 92 Points
Babylons Peak Paardeberg Shiraz 2018

Babylons Peak Paardeberg Shiraz is made from 100 percent Shiraz. 

Babylon's Peak winery, situated on the highest weathered granite slopes of the Paardeberg Mountain, is privately owned by the Basson family who has passed down the tradition, passion and art of winemaking over four generations. Predominantly low-yield dryland bushvines are selected to produce these excellent wines with distinctive character.

A classic Shiraz with dark fruit, violets and white pepper. An elegant wine with ripe tannins and a lingering aftertaste.

The grapes were harvested by hand. The grapes were destalked only, no crushing was done. Cold maceration was done before fermentation started in open fermenters. The grapes fermented between 24-26°C for 5-7 days, after which the wine was taken to barrels where it went through malolactic fermentation. After malolactic fermentation was completed, the wine spent 14 months in 225 litre French oak barrels until bottling.

Pairs with rich and creamy meat dishes eg. oxtail and venison.

Review:

"The Shiraz is our favorite of the Babylon Peak portfolio. It offers nice purity of black fruit with a licorice note on the nose and flavors of blackberry, mocha, and a touch of dried fruit. It’s softly textured with good supporting acidity and has an attractive cracked pepper spice note. Fermented with some viognier skins and matured 12-14 months in oak barrels. - Don Winkler" - i-winereview.com (The Wines of Babylon’s Peak in South Africa’s Swartland, September 30th 2019), 91 pts


 International Wine Review: 91
Keermont Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

All the grapes come from their Cottage Lane Vineyard on the mid-slopes of the Helderberg. This vineyard is situated on the crest of a ridge (320m above sea level) so has aspects ranging from East through North to West. It is very exposed resulting in small vines with low yields. This has allowed them to make a relatively fine grained Cabernet, but the clay soils translate to a wine with power, tension and fresh acidity.

Rich crimson red color. The nose is a complex mix of savoury notes: crushed herbs, violets, sandalwood, leather and some lovely bright red fruit. The palate is fine and yet powerful. Lush spicy red fruit is complimented by blueberry and bramble notes. Powerful tight-knit tannin and a very linear acidity afford the wine a long succulent finish. Drink 2017-2030

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Review:

"The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon is blended with 7% Malbec and 6% Cabernet Franc and spent 22 months in seasoned French oak. It has a classy bouquet of expressive red berry fruit, cedar and light undergrowth aromas that leans toward the Left Bank. The palate is medium-bodied with great sapidity right from the start. The tannins are extremely fine here, and the finish fans out gloriously with just enough bite to tempt you back for another sip. This is an outstanding Cabernet from winemaker Alex Starey. - Neal Martin"

- Antonio Galloni's Vinous (November 2019), 95 pts



 Vinous Antonio Galloni: 95
Rubus Proprietary Red Blend Australia 2014

Tasting Notes: Deep, dark ruby color, aromas of blue fruits, confectionery and subtle licorice characters, thick luscious palate with good structure and soft finish.

The Blend is 44% Rubired, 31% Durif and 25% Shiraz.

Rubired is a cross between Tinto Cao and Alicante Ganzin (which is itself a cross between Alicante Bouschet and Aramon Rupestris Ganzin). It is known for being particularly adapted to the hot climate and producing dark wines, as the color is not only coming from the grape's skin, but also from the grape juice itself. It was developed in 1958 by H.P. Olmo of the University of California Davis.

Durif, also known as Petite Sirah, is also a cross of two different grape varietals: Syrah and Peloursin. It was created by French botanist François Durif in 1860 while keeping Syrah and Peloursin plants under the same roof; it happened from a natural process called "cross-pollination." The grape itself is known for its very aromatic, plummy character.

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Pairs well with BBQ lamb with roast vegetables.

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