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 Vintage2009 Label 1 of 17 
ProducerForce Majeure (web)
VarietySyrah Blend
DesignationCollaboration Series II
VineyardCiel du Cheval Vineyard
SubRegionColumbia Valley
AppellationRed Mountain

Drinking Windows and Values
Drinking window: Drink between 2014 and 2026 (based on 11 user opinions)

Community Tasting History

Community Tasting Notes (average 93.7 pts. and median of 93 pts. in 39 notes) - hiding notes with no text

 Tasted by tomlee on 2/15/2016 & rated 93 points: Purple in color. 14.2% ABV. Gorgeous nose of roses, iron, minerals and black fruits. Roses does not quite do it justice. Think a bouquet of a dozen freshly cut roses and you are on the right track. Rich and full bodied with healthy acidity. Flavors of crushed blackberries, bacon fat and coffee. The finish is exceptional. Drink over the next 3-5 years. (1027 views)
 Tasted by cpsmith33 on 12/18/2015 & rated 92 points: This is a well made wine, definitely big fruit and high octane.
Needs more time to develop more complexity and if you open now give it a few hours at least. (1114 views)
 Tasted by Hamersly on 12/14/2015 & rated 96 points: A wonderfully rich and seamless syrah. I agree with those who characterize this as a masculine style. but that small touch of viognier and roussanne adds some grace notes and keeps it from being monolithic. Very fine tannins, seems mature but with several prime years remaining. Significant decant recommended. Another brilliant wine from Force Majeure. (1167 views)
 Tasted by jhieb on 10/10/2015 & rated 91 points: This is a bruiser. Even with the co-fermented white influence, this is still a very masculine wine. For me, there is a little too much oak here, and not enough refinement. (1453 views)
 Tasted by Triplet on 8/9/2015 & rated 93 points: Gave this about a 2.5 hour decant. Nose was fantastic right out of the bottle. Over time everything came together and the depth of flavor was quite impressive. Very deep and dark and brooding. Black ripe fruit and berries melded with some mushroomy earthy flavors with a little bit of leather and a nice mouth feel. Tannins are smoothing out and should get softer with a little more time. Nice medium finish. (1758 views)
 Tasted by wineheadGA on 12/15/2014 & rated 94 points: Delicious from what I recall. Solid Rhone blend, showed well against some older california cabs. (387 views)
 Tasted by Vinsant on 10/26/2014: Pop and poured to reveal some nice florals of red fruit and spice. Plums, ripe raspberries, pepper, salted meat, caramel, and drying tannins on the palate. Enjoyable now but would expect better things in a few years. (2789 views)
 Tasted by beezer6 on 9/17/2014 & rated 93 points: CORAVIN ACCESS #1.
Let breathe in the glass for about 30 minutes. Appealing nose of savory, dark red and purple fruit - lots of plums, dark cherry and cassis.
Some awesome damp forest floor, pungent mushrooms and black truffles as well as oak and dark spice notes.
The palate lends more dark robust and dirty fruit. Awesome meaty steak elements coupled with leather and dark cocoa nibs. Wow.
Delicious finish. Fresh and balanced. Nice mid palate and weight on the tongue. Tannins integrated and acid on point. Very nice bottling. One of the more enjoyable Force Majeure I've tasted. (2722 views)
 Tasted by mojotojo on 12/25/2013 & rated 94 points: Outstanding syrah from Force Majeure. Absolutely delicious, mouth filling and lush. Smoky and spicy, with deep berry flavor, a touch of tar and just a hint of floral notes, presumably from the viognier and roussanne. Finish lasts 30 sec +. A delight. (3899 views)
 Tasted by Redguy on 11/8/2013 & rated 92 points: Decanted 9 hrs then consumed with grilled strip steaks. Saturated dark purple. Dark and concentrated on the palate though only med/med+ body. Blackberry/plum/blueberry medley with some damp earth and fine minerals, leading to a juicy med length finish where a light pop of clove and brown sugar finish it off. Beautiful polish and a supple mouthfeel, though no funk and little savory elements to speak of, which I love in syrah. Seems to speak more to expert winemaking than the actual vineyard site. Still, a great wine. (3774 views)
 Tasted by mojotojo on 10/19/2013 & rated 94 points: Beautiful Syrah. Smoke, tar, violets and earth on the nose. Sweet, rich tannins balancing a full-bodied wine bursting with dark cherries, soy sauce and a salty minerality. There is a smidgen of viognier and rousanne in the wine (1% each) that seemed to provide just a hint of smoothness to the wine. This was tasted with several other syrahs and the FM was definitely the most "feminine" of the bunch. Delicious now. (3618 views)
 Tasted by bajayngo on 10/4/2013: Didn't take any notes on this one just sat back and enjoyed it. So opulent and teeth staining. Blueberry/huckleberry, smoke, violets, bbq'd meat on the grill, so delicious. A wine this good deserves more attention to detail but it's awesome just to turn off the mind and gulp every once in a while! (2679 views)
 Tasted by Racer117 on 10/3/2013 & rated 92 points: Generously provided by Andy W. at Farmhouse (San Diego). Dark inky colored wine with a big powerful berry nose. Black and blueberry flavors along with a floral note and plenty of oak spiciness. No real savory aromas or flavors to speak of. Looking forward to sharing my lone bottle in a few years. (1688 views)
 Tasted by Javachip on 10/3/2013 & rated 95 points: San Diego WineSpectator.com Offline, 10/3/2013 (Farm House Cafe, San Diego): Not decanted, but allowed to breathe in glass for 30 minutes. Inky purple-black color. Luscious bouquet of fresh crushed boysenberries and plums, with bacon fat, camphor, and grilled herbs. Full body, seamless, rich and generous, with long finish. Improved with air. Would love to re-visit in a few years. My #3 tonight. 98% syrah, 1% roussanne, 1% viognier. (2837 views)
 Tasted by Rich S on 7/19/2013 & rated 93 points: Decanted for about 2 hours. Dark inky color. Really fantastic nose of violets, ripe black and blue fruit, campfire, smoke and sweet berry reduction. Really nice. Mostly blackberry and blueberry fruit notes on the palate along with more of the floral notes and just a touch of the smoke. Medium+ acid and tannins but incredibly smooth on the mouthfeel and a nice, long finish. No sense of heat or high abv on the palate at all. This is really good syrah and I think will continue to improve dramatically with age. (1989 views)
 Tasted by shadow on 7/6/2013 & rated 94 points: nose is earthly and a faint plum, dark and easy on the palate, abundant flavors jump from tart fruit to leather wrapped pork (2000 views)
 Tasted by garambler on 3/4/2013 & rated 93 points: I had this with a cheese plate on 3/4/13. It had a fragrant, elegant and harmonious bouquet of floral, blackberry, plum, anise, sage, pepper and spice aromas. The palate was smooth, elegant and layered with flavors of blackberry, plum, licorice, pepper, herb, spice and minerals…softer than I remembered it (enough that the Stilton overpowered it). (2414 views)
 Tasted by jbouchy on 2/28/2013 & rated 93 points: Dark purple, inky, teeth strainer but wonderfully complex with excellent structure. Nicely balanced with good acidity. Powerful wine with flavors of blackberry with a slate/granite earthiness. Short finish that developed with spicy food. This is a great wine that needs a lot more time in the cellar. Try again in 2015. (2189 views)
 Tasted by Anonymous on 1/4/2013 & rated 93 points: Rich, full-bodied blackberry fruit with earthy, soily, black olive, and floral flavors, a hint of Walla Walla funk, excellent structure, very tight, short finish, needs time to open up, like 24 hours (2543 views)
 Tasted by Anonymous on 10/12/2012 & rated 95 points: Great wine! Delicious, rich, smooth, surprisingly soft, full-bodied blackberry fruit with black olive, floral, and sweet strawberry flavors, excellent structure, notable depth and complexity, finish a bit short (2529 views)
 Tasted by dlcass on 7/6/2012 & rated 98 points: Tasted at winery tasting room; delicious; young- wait 5 years. (1106 views)
 Tasted by garambler on 6/23/2012 & rated 94 points: We had this with rack of lamb at a 6/23/12 Force Majeure winemaker’s dinner. It had a deep and intense bouquet of charcoal, smoked meat, incense, blackberry and plum aromas. The palate was dense, complex and layered with flavors of plum, blackberry, mocha and burnt toast. 93+ (2862 views)
 Tasted by garambler on 3/24/2012 & rated 94 points: A friend & I tasted this at the winery on 3/24/12. It had a powerful, elegant bouquet of blackberry, plum, burnt toast, floral and mineral aromas. The palate was big, bold, tight and dry with flavors of blackberry, plum, mocha, burnt toast, charcoal, and minerals. 93+ (3133 views)
 Tasted by pdemaio on 3/13/2012 & rated 94 points: Wow, big and pretty with a touch of funk (reminicent of bouche nose, but with ciel fruit). So complex and full of flavor on the palate. Definitely syrah. Great integration, for so much going on. Very powerful PDQ94-95 (2964 views)
 Tasted by Vinsant on 3/12/2012: A very pretty and aromatic wine once the cork was popped. The nose of this wine and the fumes from the oven where the osso bucco was braising had me slipping in my own drool. Huge violet florals, mango, sweet strawberries, and rose on the nose gave me a feeling of tranquility and calmness. Then it grabbed me by the nose hairs and rubbed some iron, a side of beef, spice, and clay/minerals all over my nasal passages to make me feel a little nervous and excited. This continued unto the palate where the light violets, blood orange, herbs, and fresh raspberries battled the dark cherries, blackberries, and lighty peppered smoked meats. There was some real depth to the wine that made me want to try this many years from now. A fun wine to sip on its own and with the veal and risotto. So glad I have few more to track where this is going. (4208 views)
 Only displaying the 25 most recent notes - click to see all notes for this wine...

Professional 'Channels'
By Stephen Tanzer
Vinous, November/December 2012, IWC Issue #165
(Force Majeure Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Collaboration Series II Red Wine Red Mountain) Subscribe to see review text.
By Jeb Dunnuck
The Rhone Report, Issue #12 (6/23/2012)
(Grand Rêve Vintners / Force Majeure Collaboration Series II Ciel du Cheval Vineyard) Login and sign up and see review text.   98 points
By Jeb Dunnuck
The Rhone Report, Australia and the Pacific Northwest, Issue #8 (6/25/2011)
(Grand Reve Vintners Collaboration Series II Ciel du Cheval Vineyard) Login and sign up and see review text.   96-98 points
By Sean Sullivan
Washington Wine Report (6/21/2012)
(Force Majeure Collaboration Series II Red Wine Ciel du Cheval Red Mountain) Glass staining with abundant mineral aromas along with a light gaminess, iron, and a floral lift, this is a wine you could just sit and smell and be totally satisfied. Ah but to drink! The palate is perfumed with a soft, restrained elegance and bright fruit flavors and a light pepper note. A simply gorgeous wine. 98% Syrah, 1% Viognier, 1% Roussanne. Aged in French oak (30% new). 14.2% alcohol. 187 cases produced. Ross Mickel winemaker.  ***** points
NOTE: Scores and reviews are the property of Vinous and The Rhone Report and Washington Wine Report. (manage subscription channels)

CellarTracker Wiki Articles (login to edit | view all articles)

Force Majeure

Producer website

2009 Force Majeure Collaboration Series II Ciel du Cheval Vineyard

Blend: 98% Syrah, 1% Viognier, 1% Roussanne
Cooperage: 30% New French Oak,
70% Neutral French Oak
Viticulture: Ryan Johnson
Vineyard: Ciel du Cheval
Winemaking: Ross Mickel
Alcohol: 14.2%
Cases Produced: 187

Consistently one of our most critically-acclaimed releases, the 2009 Collaboration Series II starts with fruit selected from two of our favorite French Syrah clones, planted on sandy loam soil over lime-cemented flood gravels. The Syrah was co-fermented with Viognier and Roussanne and aged in French oak barrels for 18 months. Explosively aromatic, with intense, evolving flavors, this will be a wine sure to excite wine enthusiasts.

Syrah Blend

Varietal character (Appellation America)

Ciel du Cheval Vineyard

Ciel du Cheval (named for the wonderful views of the neighboring Horse Heaven Hills) sits further down the Red Mountain slope from Tapteil on slightly more vigorous soils. Jim Holmes has employed a fan trellis system and careful management to great effect; the wines are among the most elegant from Red Mountain without sacrificing any of the power and intensity typical of the terroir.


WineAmerica (National Association of American Wineries) | Free the Grapes!


Washington Wine Commission | Credit to Washingtonwine.org for this article

Washington Wine
Washington State is a premium wine producing region located in the northwest corner of the United States. Although a relatively young wine industry, it is now the nation's second largest wine producer and is ranked among the world's top wine regions. Washington wines are found nationally in all 50 states and internationally in more than 40 countries.

With 30,000+ acres planted, the state has ideal geography and conditions for growing premium vinifera wine grapes. Primarily grown on their own root stocks, the vines produce grapes of consistent quality, resulting in strong vintages year after year. While its focus is on Chardonnay, Riesling, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, the region also produces a wide range of other spectacular whites and reds.

Winemakers from all over the world have chosen to establish themselves in Washington, where they can create wines reflecting this region's unique characteristics. Their hand-crafted wines are receiving wide acclaim from critics regionally, nationally and internationally for their consistently high quality. Many of them have received scores of 90 and above from the major wine media. Overall this is a higher percentage than other leading wine regions.

As the state's fourth largest fruit crop, the Washington wine industry is an important contributor to the long-term preservation of Washington agriculture. The industry is committed to sustainable agricultural practices and conservation of water resources.
Washington State is a premium wine producing region located in the northwest corner of the United States. Although a relatively young wine industry, it is now the nation's second largest wine producer and is ranked among the world's top wine regions. Washington wines are found nationally in all 50 states and internationally in more than 40 countries.

Washington produces more than 20 wine grape varieties - a ratio of 56 percent white to 44 percent red. As the industry matures and experiments, it finds many grape varieties that thrive throughout Washington's microclimates. There are more than 16,000 vineyard acres of red wine varieties statewide.

History & Vintages
Washington's wine future is limitless. As consumers discover the quality of Washington wines, demand continues to grow nationally and internationally. New acreage and wine varietals are being planted and new wineries are opening at a remarkable pace. Washington State is recognized as a premium viticultural region around the world.

State Facts
Washington's wine industry generates more than $3 billion to the state economy. It employs more than 14,000 people, directly and indirectly, with projections to add nearly 2,000 more jobs by 2006. In terms of tax revenues accrued to the state and federal government, wine grapes are among the highest tax generators of any agricultural crops. Furthermore, Washington wine tourism attracts nearly two million visitors annually contributing to the positive growth of local and regional economies.

Washington State - the perfect climate for wine = ideal growing conditions, quality wines, business innovation, lifestyle, and social responsibility. All are key elements of this world-class wine industry.

Columbia Valley

Columbia Cascade Winery Association

The Columbia Valley AVA lies mostly in Washington state, with a small section in Oregon. The Cascade Range forms its western boundary with the Palouse regions bordering the area to the east. To the north, the Okanogan National Forest forms a border with the AVA and Canada. It encompasses the valleys formed by the Columbia River and its tributaries, including the Walla Walla River, the Snake River, and the Yakima River. The Columbia valley stretches between the 46th parallel and 47th parallel which puts it in line with the well known French wine growing regions of Bordeaux and Burgundy. The northern latitude gives the areas two more hours of additional daylight during the summer growing season than wine regions of California receive. The volcanic and sandy loam soil of the valley offers good drainage and is poor in nutrients, ideal in forcing the vine to concentrate its resources into the grape clusters.

Red Mountain

WinesNW Article on Red Mountain

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