Force Majeure Collaboration Series Ptera Force Majeure Vineyard 2012
For midweek dinner, Linda prepared a beef roast variation of her shepherd's pie and pot pie. I pulled from the cellar this big complex Columbia Valley red wine for an accompaniment. This is from proprietor entrepreneurs Paul and Susan McBride who ventured to the Northwest in pursuit of a dream to develop world-class vineyards and wines from the region. They believed in the promise of the quality wines coming from Red Mountain in the Columbia Valley in central Washington State, They purchased undeveloped land that is now Force Majeure Vineyard in 2004 to pursue their passion to make wines that define the region and showcase the terroir of its vineyards.
Drawing inspiration from the great vineyards of Bordeaux and the Northern and Southern Rhône valleys, they developed the first vineyard on the steep, rocky upper slopes of Red Mountain that were formed by the ancient Missoula floods, winds and volcanic activity. This steep vineyard ranges in elevation from 960 to 1,230 feet.
They worked to carefully match varietal and clonal selections and viticulture techniques and irrigation to the eight distinct soil types in their vineyard. The outcome is a vineyard articulated into many small “micro-blocks,” maximizing the potential to to capture the distinctive and varying terrior of the unique and dynamic site.
The rocky upper-slope with shallow soil is well suited to the cultivation of Rhone varietals such as Syrah and Grenache, while the lower blocks of the vineyard are comprised of deep, well-drained Warden soils, where the Bordeaux varietals of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc excel. The west/southwest exposure of the site is planted to Syrah on the hill, tightly spaced to provide shade on the fruit. Development of the site began in 2006.
In 2014 they recruited winemaker Todd Alexander from California. Todd had developed a reputation for crafting terroir-driven wines that showcase the unique characteristics of specific sites through uncompromising, meticulous work in both the vineyard and winery. Prior to his arrival at Force Majeure, Todd had been Winemaker for acclaimed “cult” winery Bryant Family Vineyard in the Napa Valley. At Bryant, he worked closely with some of the very best and brightest in the wine industry, including legendary vineyard manager David Abreu and famous winemaking consultant Michel Rolland.
In 2014, Todd came to Force Majeure with the
goal of applying his skills and talents toward pushing the envelope of
winemaking in Washington state, to join in our endeavor of crafting
truly world-class wines from our own special sites.
We later visited Force Majeure during our Walla Walla Force Majeure Vineyards Site Visit and Tasting Walla Walla Washington Wine Experience in 2018. We tasted and acquired a broader portfolio of their wines at that time and subsequently through their wine club allocations.
This label was a unique blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. It was awarded 95 points by The Wine Advocate and 91 points by Wine Spectator.
At nearing a decade old, this was likely at its prime, at the apex of its drinking window and profile. The cork was in perfect condition as shown.
Dark inky purple garnet colored, full bodied, firmly structured but nicely balanced and approachable full black raspberry and black berry fruits are accented by notes of cola, coffee, spices with lead pencil graphite and floral turning to fine grained tannins on the long lingering finish.
RM 92 points.