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  • By Stephen Tanzer
    Focus on Washington: The New Normal (Nov 2018), 11/1/2018, (See more on Vinous...)

    (Force Majeure Syrah Estate Vineyard (red Mountain) Washington Red) Login and sign up and see review text.

Full Pull

  • By Paul Zitarelli
    Full Pull Old and New, 3/11/2018

    (Force Majeure Estate Syrah) Warehouse Sale REMINDER: Reminder that Warehouse Bin-Ends Sale III is taking place on Thursday March 15. We’ll have out and available for sale any bottles where our excess is in the 1-3 bottle range, along with a handful of cherries and cult wines (I’m particularly excited about one Northern Rhone unicorn). And we’ll be pouring a different lineup than usual, too, again drawn from wines where we have an excess stash. If the timing works out right (fingers crossed), we will also debut the new (disgorged-last-week, to be offered in April) Full Pull & Friends Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature, a perennial list favorite. It should be a busy scene, so if you intend to pick up your wines that day, please do make a pickup appointment. If you just want to come in and browse, no appointment is necessary. ---- Hello friends. Back when Force Majeure launched (actually, the winery was called Grand Reve back then, pre-trademark lawsuit), the idea was to produce the Collaboration Series of wines while waiting for the estate vineyard (planted crazily high and crazily steep towards the top of Red Mountain) to come online. The Collaboration Series combined different Washington winemakers with plots of beautiful old Ciel du Cheval Vineyard fruit, and they quickly established a rabid following, from both consumers and critics. Well, the estate site is now fully online, and 2013 is the final vintage for the Collaboration Series. From this point forward, it’s all estate all the time. Today is a milestone for Force Majeure: the release of the final Collaboration Series wine. To celebrate, we’re offering that finale (a Rhone blend courtesy of James Mantone from Syncline), along with two new releases from the Force Majeure Estate Vineyard:Wine Advocate: Copyrighted material withheld. Let me go back to summer 2010, when I first wrote about this project. Here’s what I said then: The long-term [plan] involves one of the most heart-pounding vineyards in the state and a vineyard manager who walks the line between passion and obession. Ryan Johnson, who also manages Ciel du Cheval, Quilceda Galitzine, DeLille Grand Ciel, and Cadance Cara Mia Vineyards (that is one hell of a portfolio), partnered with Paul McBride to purchase and plant a vineyard near the apex of Red Mountain. Inspired by the vertical vineyards of Cote Rotie, Ryan planted a true mountainside vineyard on Red Mountain. Running from 960 to 1230 feet (Red Mountain tops out at about 1400 ft), this site required yeoman's work with a pickaxe and backfilling with rocks just to get the end posts into the ground. It is a stunning site to see in person, and a painful place to go to work: windy, steep, ankle-breaking territory where one block has been designated as "El Terror" by the vineyard workers (the site also includes "El Guapo" and "El Hueso"). Paul and Ryan have to be gratified by seeing their vision come to fruition so fully. And Todd Alexander, who left a plum gig at cultish Cali producer Bryant Family Vineyard, must feel justified in his decision to head north. This particular partnership of special vineyard site and special winemaker has yielded, perhaps unsurprisingly, a very special wine. Syrah from the top of the vineyard was cofermented with 1% Viognier (also from the estate), and a portion of that fermentation took place in concrete. The wine was aged in a mix of French oak barrels and larger puncheons, mostly used. It clocks in at 15.1% listed alc and pours into the glass inky black-purple. The nose combines pure huckleberry fruit, loads of ferrous minerality, and earthy notes of ground coffee. Texturally gorgeous, this saturates the entire palate and holds on for dear life, full of that continuing mix of fruit and mineral. Somehow this offers power and presence and extract on a gravity-defying frame that feels weightless. It is quite the feat. In a very short period of time, this has become a singular Washington Syrah.

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