A week ago, Wednesday, April 17, we visited the new Force Majeure production facility near Milton-Freewater, past Cayuse on Sunnyside Road. It is located in what used to be High School basketball gymnasium. The renovations were still under way when we were there. New white tile walls, pump pipes, and fermentation tanks - stainless steel, concrete, oak fermenters and concrete egg - were being installed. When completed, it will be a state of the art wine production facility. The winery also has acquired vineyards in the Walla Walla Valley.
Force Majeure is a premium winery whose wines come primarily from Red Mountain. The winery was started in Woodinville a decade ago and has made a name for itself for its uncompromising quality wines. The owners are Paul and Susan McBride and the winemaker is Todd Alexander who formerly worked at the Bryant Family Vineyard in the Napa Valley. Todd's wife, Carrie Alexander, is the Marketing Director and Emily Pavela is the Hospitality Director.
That afternoon of the 17th, we joined a group organized by Michele Rennie who brokered the property sale, for a tour and tasting at the new facility. We were greeted by Emily Pavela and Carrie Alexander who took us around the facility and hosted a tasting of the current Force Majeure releases. The wines were highly impressive. Here are my abbreviated notes. Full reviews will be in the June issue of the Review of Washington Wines.
2016 Parabellum by Force Majeure "Coulée" Red Wine, Red Mountain ($38) - Inky purple-crimson colored, this 75% Syrah, 25% Mourvèdre combination offers a perfumed nose of wild fruits, tobacco, lavender and incense. The palate shows loads of lavish dark fruits marked by Red Mountain scorched earth, followed by a long ripe tannin finish. 19/20 points.
2016 Parabellum by Force Majeure "Alluvio" Red Wine, Red Mountain ($48) - This blend of 62% Cabernet Franc, 15% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Petit Verdot shows a ruby-crimson color and an intoxicating nose of dark fruits, rosebuds, tobacco, cedar and incense. The flavors are thick and chewy, and the back picks up roasted berries and nuts, followed by a firm yet sweetish finish. 19/20 points.
2016 Force Majeure "Parvata" Red Wine, Red Mountain ($70) - This blend of 69% Mourvèdre, 21% Syrah and 10% Grenache displays a deep ruby color and a rich, smoky nose of black and blue fruits, lavender and incense. The flavors are bold and mouth filling, with notes on the back of pressed berries, roasted nuts, charcoal and orange peel, followed by a long, complex finish. 19.5/20 points.
2016 Force Majeure Syrah, Red Mountain ($70) - This is a superb rendition of Red Mountain Syrah. Inky purple-crimson colored, it emits intense aromas of wild fruits, tobacco, incense and violets. The flavors show terrific varietal purity with mouth encompassing black and blue fruits, and the saturation continues on the back into a long terroir driven finish. 19.5/20 points.
2016 Force Majeure "Épinette" Red Wine, Red Mountain ($95) - This blend of 46% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Franc, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Petit Verdot exhibits a semi opaque ruby color and a rich, smoldering nose of dark fruits, tobacco, sandalwood and incense. The flavors are bold yet well proportioned, with layers of dark fruits, all flowing seamlessly into a long, firm yet smooth tannin finish. 19/5/20 points.
2016 Force Majeure Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain ($125) - This is as good as Red Mountain Cabernet gets. Opaque ruby colored, it possesses intense, brooding aromas and powerful, yet refined flavors and chalky earth. The intensity continues on the back into a long, long satiny tannin finish. 20/20 points.