Saturday, May 2, 2020

Force Majeure Collaboration Series II Ciel du Cheval Vineyard 2011

Force Majeure Collaboration Series II Ciel du Cheval Vineyard 2011 

Wanting a nice Syrah for a BBQ rib dinner, I pulled from the cellar the oldest vintage of our collection of this producer's labels. Our visit to Force Majeure Vineyards was one of the highlights of our Walla Walla Wine Experience in 2018

Marketing Director and wife of winemaker Todd, Carrie Alexander was kind enough to host us and help arrange some of our wine tastings and winery visits. 

This vintage release if from the previous generation winemaker at Force Majeure. Force Majeure Vineyards was originally called Grand Reve which means “great dream” in French. It was founded in Woodinville, near Seattle, in 2004. It was a collaboration between businessman Paul McBride and vineyard manager Ryan Johnson who spent a decade managing vineyards in Eastern Washington’s prestigious Red Mountain AVA. He and McBride wanted to focus on Rhone-style varietals and they were soon winning raves and ratings from Wine Advocate and other reviews. 

McBride and his wife Susan changed the winery name to Force Majeure. They hired winemaker Todd Alexander who was previously winemaker at Bryant Family Vineyard in Napa Valley to oversee winemaking.  

Jeb Dunnick of Wine Advocate has called Force Majeure “One of my favorite estates in Washington… This label is comprised of Red Mountain fruit, with grapes sourced from the crème de la crème Ciel du Cheval vineyard. 

Today, Force Majeure wines are increasingly from their estate Force Majeure Vineyard on a steep, rocky site on the upper slopes of Red Mountain and their Walla Walla estate vineyard as more and more plots come online. 

Force Majeure Collaboration Series II Ciel du Cheval Vineyard 2011

This is a blend of 96% Syrah, 2% Viognier and 2% Rousanne. It was aged two years in 33% new French, 67% neutral French barrels. 

Dark garnet colored, medium-full bodied, concentrated but nicely balanced, smooth but more subdued blackberry and dried cherry fruits with notes of olive tapenad, spice, leather and hints of black pepper with fine acidity and tannins on the lingering finish,  a nice accompaniment to our BBQ rib dinner.

RM 90 points.