A Perfect Score

Ratings, ratings and more ratings.  It seems like everyday the world of wine is consumed with scores.  You can’t blame us really as scores do help to sell wines and are especially important to small producers from emerging regions that lack the sales force or marketing dollars to tell their story.   Scores also help to guide consumers in choosing wine in the huge offerings widely available especially when in one of the “big boxes”.

I don’t care what any winery/winemaker/vigneron says, when you get a great score you smile and take a certain pleasure from the recognition.

Today, I think Louis’ father, Henri, is smiling for his son and all he has accomplished not only at Château de St. Cosme but also at Forge Cellars.

Well done Louis….it is not everyday you achieve a perfect score from the Wine Advocate.

-RR

Forge Cellars in Japan

 A picture of Louis sharing Forge wines in Japan. On the right of the picture is our dear friend, Rudi de Pins of Château Montfaucon.

A picture of Louis sharing Forge wines in Japan. On the right of the picture is our dear friend, Rudi de Pins of Château Montfaucon.

A quick piece of advice -- if you are going to have partners in business make sure they are way cooler and more interesting then yourself!

Last week Louis emailed me and said that his Norwegian importer tasted the 2015 Forge wines at St. Cosme and absolutely loved them.  They placed a large order of Riesling AND Pinot, so we're very excited about that.

Plus, the week before, Taiwan placed an order!

Yesterday Louis sent me this:

"I am in Tokyo. I sold some Riesling and Pinots yesterday in Kyoto. Tomorrow tasting all day at Imperial Hotel WITH the Riesling. Tuesday with Enoteca buyer to re-present Pinot and Riesling. Wednesday tasting all day at Imperial Hotel Osaka with the Riesling." - Louis

While the rest of the team is hunkered down here in "the lakes" taking care of 2016 vintage, it is good to know that your partner is out in the rest of the world spreading Finger Lakes love.

-RR

Les Alliés Riesling is...

 Louis Barruol - winemaking, cellar, Riesling

Every year Les Alliés evolves naturally by "uncovering" itself. Our 100% indigenous yeast Riesling fermentations proceed very slowly, taking a very long time to become totally, completely, bone dry.  It's not in spring, but in the summer after the vintage that we are finally able to move toward bottling the wines.  Once they are truly finished, our team begins diligently tasting through each of our 70 barrels and two tanks, giving each Riesling a detailed rating and review, and writing personal tasting notes.  When we talk about small batch and individualized fermentations, we really mean it--70 separate, small French barriques from 10 individual vineyards, each with its own story and personality. Some barrels simply speak so clearly of their terroirs that they must become single vineyard wines.  We do not hold them as "better" than our other wines, but they deserve and earn their places as wines that are so expressive of an individual place that we wish to present them in their own bottlings.  (These vary from year to year as different sites reveal themselves.)

Along the way, we decide that some very special barrels are stand-outs.  Some are so outstanding, unique, and by consensus, the most exceptional of our Rieslings--dense, pure, minerally, intense and balanced.  This is the consensus that makes up Les Alliés -- the allies, the partners, the united ones. We don't "make" Les Alliés, we discover it together, and it's an easy decision because it tells us what it wants to be. 

The Les Alliés Riesling is what we call a freight train of a wine--built for the long haul.  You may certainly open it now and enjoy it immensely, but save some for your cellar to watch it reveal itself over the next decade.


Forge Cellars Les Alliés Riesling in the Press:

2014 Riesling Les Alliés
92 POINTS, TOP WINE (Wine Spectator)

"Forge Cellars leads the way here with its late-release 2014 Riesling. The Les Alliés (named for "the allies,” the estate’s three owners from America and France) is a combination of the best lots sourced from various vineyards. It shows how complexity and depth can be built in a wine, rather than drawn from a single site. The employment of used barrels for aging Riesling is a relatively new technique in the Finger Lakes, and it’s helping forge this distinctive wine’s personality and mouthfeel." - James Molesworth

2014 Riesling Les Alliés
92 POINTS, TOP WINE (Vinous)

“An exotic wine, with a nose of raw cashews, quince, lemon curd, papaya and the subtle stamp of oak. The palate is lively and layered, with great textural complexity and a palate-coating, lanolin-like quality that carries through into the finish. A unique, and interesting wine.” - Kelli White

2013 Riesling Les Alliés
90 POINTS, TOP WINE (Wine Spectator)

"Focused and pure, with anise, ginger, blanched almond, pear and mirabelle plum notes that extend on the mineral-edged finish." - James Molesworth

2013 Riesling Les Alliés
91 POINTS, TOP WINE (Vinous)

“The Les Alliés is effectively Forge’s reserve wine, assembled from select lots and aged for an extra three to four months in barrel. The nose is marked by scents of warm brown spices, butterscotch, white flowers, and hard cheese. The palate is lovely, with a punchy, expressive personality and a brighter acidity than the basic 2013 Riesling. A touch of flint comes through in the finish, as does a hint of oak.” Kelli White

A Homage to Henri Louis Barruol

On Sunday we received news that Louis’ father, Henri, had passed away at the family's estate in Gigondas.

I have had the most difficult time thinking of what I could say about this man that meant so much to Louis.  Anytime I have had a conversation about winemaking or life Louis would undoubtedly reference his father.  Louis has told me time and time again that his success and the success of Saint Cosme were because of his father's teachings and guidance.  

Henri’s importance to Louis cannot be overstated.

This poem was written by Odile Coche-Dury for her husband, Jean-François but I thought it was a fitting homage to Henri Louis Barruol.

-RR

                                                                                        

VIGNERON

In the cellar, in the sun, at the vat, at the wine press,
in the cold, in the wind, under a veil of fog,
near the crackling brazier where the smoke envelopes him,
our ancestors and nature herself have imparted their wisdom.
 
Often he wears himself out pampering his soil,
and working far too late as the reddening sunset sky lights up,
he finishes his tasks without resentment,
then he descends the dusk-dark slope, weary but proud.
 
If he possesses the secrets of the vine and the art of wine,
it is because in his youth an old vine stalk gave him a sign.
Henceforth he was and always will be a vigneron.
 
Life in this garden of vines will serve him well
to better understand the path to the great beyond,
he who from birth was molded by his piece of earth.

by Odile Coche-Dury
March 20, 2006
at Puligny-Montrachet
while attending branches
in the des Enseignères vineyard

Storage of Gas Helps No One

Read the article written by Paul Hobbs and Johannes Selbach (December 6, 2016).

Everyone at Forge Cellars is in full agreement with what Paul Hobbs says in his wonderful Op-Ed. Louis has been in Athens, Paris, Berlin and London in the last 6 weeks alone promoting Forge and the brand that is the Finger Lakes. We are in 22 countries and counting. We can now be found in 3 Star restaurants in Paris. How can we talk about a project that “could” generate 3-5 jobs when we are doing the kind of work in our wineries and vineyards that is having a global reach of this magnitude. 

Paul Hobbs has a great vision for his property as does Forge Cellars. We are all in this for the long term…in wine we speak of generations, not decades. 

Say NO to gas storage.

Apples Trees...in a Vineyard!?

We planted approximately 95 mostly apples trees and some pear thrown in for good measure.  All of these trees were a super kind gift from our friends Autumn and Ezra at Eve’s Cidery.  They needed a good home for their extra trees and I assured them we had just the place.  One of the core ideas that I have for our development at Matthews Road is lots and lots of biodiversity.  I envision many different kinds of fruit trees, blueberry and raspberry bushes along with chickens, ducks and the occasional sheep.  At St. Cosme Louis talks about how his mother always came to the vineyard le Poste to pick the best fruit, the best thyme, the best…and the list goes on.  He is very careful to not disturb the terroir in this vineyard as it is very diverse and he believes this is one of the elements that helps to define the high quality of le Poste.  Across the estate he practices this, the absence of mono-culture,  leaving trees and bushes and not clearing the land just for efficiencies sake.  Hopefully the apples will be just the first thing we plant and we can create and expand upon our own very diverse terroir here in the Finger Lakes.

Snapshots from our first day at our new facility...

Drinking Forge Riesling in WALES

Finger Lakes Riesling fans traveling through Wales - be safe to add an evening of dining at The Hand at Llanarmon to your itinerary. We're happy to let you know That you can order a bottle of Forge Cellars Riesling to pair With Their superb and inventive cuisine. 

Not traveling to Wales Any time soon? Here's one of Their recipes for you to try out at home Alongside a glass of our 2013 Riesling.



 

Checking in on Our Friends in Gigondas

 clairette vines saint cosme

In the spring, we had the chance to plant Clairette vines in Gigondas at Château de Saint Cosme. We received a photo just the other day showing us how they are coming along.

Vines grow much slower at Saint Cosme! The Forge Cellars vines, planted (on Seneca Lake) in June are already nearly 36 inches tall. Amazing, the difference in vigor.

Below is the recap on planting in Gigondas that we sent out via email back in June.


Our Recent Trip to France
June 16, 2016

Each year the Forge Cellars team heads to Gigondas for at least a week for tasting, education and discussions with Louis and the Château de Saint Cosme team.  This year was magical as we hand planted a small vineyard at the estate of selection massale Clairette as a small experiment on the edge of the Hominis Fidis vineyard.

Small parcels must be hand planted.  This process uses your body weight to drive the spike into the ground. Elbow grease is required and then with a deft hand, you slip the vine into the hole as you remove the spike.  Training is required!

This technique requires the skill of a surgeon.  Though Laurent (red shirt) doesn’t speak much English, his guidance in French was enough to allow Phil Davis (vineyard liaison) to try his hand at this ancient technique.

Cedar Posts in the Vineyard

 cedar vineyard posts
 forge cellars vineyard
 cedar vineyard posts

Steel - Pressure Treated - Cedar: all ways to build a trellis for your grapes, and all have their own benefits.  Steel lasts forever.  Pressure treated lasts for a really long time.  Cedar lasts a long time and also has the benefit of allowing you to be certified organic if the need should ever arise.  Of course, you can do the same with steel (which Louis uses in France at St. Cosme), but I made a big executive decision and decided to go with cedar.  I waffled back and forth and then Phil Davis mentioned he had cedar posts in his vineyards that had to be at least 75 years old. So I thought, what the hell, lets give it a try. 

Interesting side note-- when I was in the vineyard as the posts were being laid out, I felt a certain pleasure at looking at all the cedar ready to be pounded into the earth.  The smell was nice, the colors were interesting, and for some reason, they struck me as uniquely part of the vineyard.  Not to become too “biodynamic” on you, but I did feel that it was the right choice.  We will see in 8 or 10 years if they all start rotting and snapping in half! Surely, all those Adirondack chairs can't be wrong.

I hope it is possible one day to be organic and I suppose picking a suitable post is a good first step.

The Forge Standard

I could rant about the necessity of offering a "special member" card, sales during certain days of the year, a "buy 3 get 1 free" deal, or granting membership in a “club"...and on and on.

As a matter of fact, I recently spoke with a “professional” about how to expand our online presence and get wine club (we don’t have one) members to buy more by offering free shipping and keychains. Maybe I am just really old school but I am just happy to keep everything as simple as possible.

Work hard - make great wine - offer it to people in a simple and straightforward manner without having to jump through hoops and keep the price reasonable.  

Maybe I am so old school that I'm cool?  Not a chance…

Here is to clarity….cheers.

- RR

What is the Forge Standard?  The Forge Standard is simple, it's standard practice that we offer complimentary shipping on wine orders of six or more bottles.  Enjoying wine should be rewarded and rewarding.

Triangle Wine, what is it?

92 POINTS, TOP WINE
2014 Riesling Sunrise Hill Vineyard

91 POINTS, TOP VALUE
2014 Riesling Classique

When VALUEINTEREST, and HAND-CRAFTED join together to form a perfect balance, you’re given a wine that wine drinkers prize. It’s a combination of these elements that give a wine its strength, giving it a life that exists far beyond the bottle.  It becomes a Triangle Wine.

 
 

 

Let’s think about this concept with our 2014 Riesling Classique

Value:  James Molesworth of the Wine Spectator awarded this wine 91 points, but more importantly considers it the Top Value out of over 200 wines tasted from the Finger Lakes.

Interest:  Combining texture with distinct minerality and freshness balanced by bone dryness, all with a fruit driven core – our 2014 Riesling Classique has a dynamic profile that keeps you engaged.

Hand-crafted:  Harvested from low-yielding vines, picked by hand, resorted in the winery, spontaneous fermentation, and made in a small quantity.  Each part of the process is guided naturally by the Forge Cellars team, with thoughtful and conscious decisions that allow the wine to speak of place and quality.

There you have it, Forge Cellars Riesling is Triangle Wine.

So go forth, find balance and drink outside of the box.

Reclaiming vs. Starting Anew

Recently, much has been said about the Resnick's decision to bulldoze a forest of old oak trees in Paso Robles, California.

(Click here to Read the story by the los angeles times)

This year, we planted our first vineyard here in the Finger Lakes.  When we were looking for land, Louis always would say we want “nude” land, meaning land that had already been cleared and was sitting dormant.  We found something close to that, which was a vineyard that had not been farmed since 1983.  Was it difficult to clear the old wires, posts and vines out?  Yes!  Wires left behind are a mechanical nightmare to deal with, and they love to tangle up in sprockets and break machinery - things were no different for us.  Would we do it differently?  Absolutely not.  I am really happy to be breathing life back into what was once a productive parcel of land, and having some local long-term economic impact as well.  It is the same great feeling one gets when renovating an old house, very rarely cheap, but certainly satisfying.

 
 Rick and Alexandra are followed by Ajax, our trusty four-legged companion. The team is watching each vine enter the ground, making sure that they are each securely planted in the soil.

Rick and Alexandra are followed by Ajax, our trusty four-legged companion. The team is watching each vine enter the ground, making sure that they are each securely planted in the soil.

 

Forging Ahead in the UK Marketplace with Bibendum Wine

Forge Cellars is now available in the United Kingdom!  We are excited and proud to be able to show the English market what the Finger Lakes has to offer as the region’s first producer in the highly respected Bibendum Wine portfolio.  Andrew Shaw, Bibendum’s Buying Director has cited a thriving American dining scene in the UK and an interest in American wines from consumers as the catalyst for adding select American-made wines to their portfolio.  “The demand for US wines has exploded in the UK on-trade and independent channels,” according to Shaw.

Including Forge Cellars, four new producers were welcomed to the Bibendum catalog in March, including three California producers: Walter Hansel, La Follette and Renwood.

For more information about this recent endeavor, read the article featured in The Drinks Business.


Our Allies - Here & Abroad

It was Louis’ idea to name our top cuvée this as he thought it was an appropriate nod to the rich history our two countries have shared over the years. Though we all have had our challenges in pronouncing it I feel that it does embody what Forge, at its core, means to us. How the love of wine and those things that surround it, the land,the people, the challenges growing it, serve to bind us together in a very unique way.

For the last several weeks Louis and Joelle have been in Gigondas singing the praises of the Finger Lakes. Think about that for a second…we have two amazing cheerleaders in Gigondas, sitting at a 500 year old estate telling their customers that they should be buying Finger Lakes wine. The idea of this just makes me chuckle…

How successful have they been? Here is the current list of countries that purchased Forge Cellars to date:

  • England
  • France – 3-star Michelin Restaurant in Paris
  • Singapore
  • Chile
  • Cyprus
  • Denmark
  • Switzerland
  • Greece
  • Luxembourg
  • Norway
  • New Zealand
  • Japan (on order)
  • Hong Kong (on order)

 

Our “allies” in France are hard at work sharing with the world the work we are doing here in the Finger Lakes. Amazing.

You might think that these are wonderful times here in the Finger Lakes with a great future ahead of us. More farmers growing more grapes and hiring more workers. Vance metal making more tanks, Finger Lakes Construction making more buildings. Renovus Solar installing more panels on wineries and so on and so on…right?

I am an optimist and believe the future is very bright but only if we can win the battle being fought on the shores of Seneca Lake. Literally, being fought on the west side of Seneca against a “foreign” company that wants to store pressurized gas in salt mines UNDERNEATH Seneca.

Today this happened:
Renowned author and climate activist Bill McKibben was among 56 people from 20 NYS counties to form a human blockade at the gates of Crestwood Midstream bringing the total arrests to well over 500 over the course of the last year and a half. Our assistant winemaker, Alex Doniger, was there to support and rally and this is what she said:

About 100 people met in Watkins Glen this morning at 6am. Half of us
were supporters/ralliers/drivers. And close to 60 were there to get arrested.
All of us wearing blue and holding signs (I held the forge cellars ❤️’s Seneca Lake sign). There was another great sign that showed a topographical map of the
Finger Lakes and it said “Fragile: Handle with Care.” Among the group was
renowned environmentalist and 350.org founder Bill McKibben.

We made our way up to the north gate at Crestwood where the those willing to be
arrested stood in front of the gates with their peaceful protest and a sign that read “Methane is Madness. Break Free from Fossil Fuel.” The rest of us cheered them on
and a few made speeches including Bill McKibben and Sandra Steingraber.I heard
McKibben say that this morning reminded him of the day he protested the keystone pipeline in Washington DC except that this time he had a beautiful lake in front of of him instead of the White House. Now is the time to realize that the gas storage
industry is NOT the future of the Finger Lakes.

Please take a moment and sign the petition.


The Skinny on Eve's Cidery

Imagine a winery owner that isn’t talking about themselves for a moment…odd I know, but here I go.

If you like the wines of Forge Cellars then you should drink Eve’s Ciders.  Dry, crisp, focused with tons of interest and wait for it…TERROIR!!  They are really that amazing and I think ciders of this quality (go to the CiderHouse this weekend to explore all the great regional producers) are going to rattle the foundations of the sparkling wine/Champagne business in the U.S.


Think about it, for less than $20 you can get hand-crafted, traditional method cider (Champagne method – secondary fermentation in bottle to naturally create the bubbles) that was grown with the deepest respect for the land and that is made on a scale that makes you wonder how they can afford to do it.


Compare that to the industrial stuff you would tend to get in that price range and you will see why I am more than happy to give up the spotlight for a moment to give you the skinny on something that we (including the Frenchman) love to drink.

Read the most recent article from the New York Cork Report featuring Autumn Stoscheck of Eve’s Cidery.


It is Bigger Than a Score

 Photo by Chandra Russell ( Sawmill Creek Vineyards )

Photo by Chandra Russell
(Sawmill Creek Vineyards)

I have struggled to write this post over the last few days.  Usually when you get good scores from a national publication the first thing you do is to run to the top of the highest mountain and yell at the top of your lungs.  After all, it feels great to receive recognition for your hard work, because if you know anything about the wine business you are not doing it for the money.  So we received great scores but I just didn’t have it in me to spread the news.  Why?  Well, I think it took a few days to know why and it is very simply this.  Crestwood.  Crestwood you ask?  Yes, the company that wants to store pressurized gas under Seneca Lake in old salt caverns.  Want to know the details?  Check out Gas Free Seneca.  In a nutshell we have an out of state company that wants to put a gas storage hub along the west side of Seneca Lake and then pump pressurized gas into caverns UNDER the lake.   Yes, it is as crazy as it sounds.  And if you take the time, I hope you do, to read more you will see it borders on the insane.

So why did I have a tough time posting the reviews?  Because there are people in our industry that 1) think it is okay or 2) refuse to talk about it because of the blowback.  At a time when we are really hitting our stride (see the reviews below) our biggest challenge is not with other regions in the world producing, in this case Riesling, but with a Texas company who wants to jeopardize our lake and our communities.  And what is worse is that we actually have people in the industry that are on their side.  Every year we gain more recognition, every year we make a bit more wine, every year we continue to develop vineyards and renovate or build new buildings, every year more people come to witness the beauty of the Finger Lakes, every year our reach grows internationally.  But every day we must devote a portion of our day to defeating Crestwood and the risk it poses to our region.


Imagine what we could do if our energies were solely devoted to continuing to make this region realize all of the potential of its land and its people in a way that doesn’t directly threaten what is great about it.


From the Wine Spectator Jan 31 – Feb 29 2016 Edition:

92 – Forge Riesling Sunrise Hill 2014 – $24
Pure, with yellow apple, anise, honeysuckle and jasmine notes that glisten through the long, racy finish.  Shows length, cut and precision.

91 –  Standing Stone Riesling Ice Wine 2014 – $25/375
A delicious sweetie, with orange zest, date, maple and quince flavors that show excellent focus and zip through the unctuous finish.

91 – Forge Riesling Finger Lakes Classique 2014 – $21
Jasmine and citrus oil notes lead the way, followed by lovely lemon cur, white peach and yellow apple fruit flavors.  The long,, stony finish is very pure.  A SAVY SHOPPER Selection

90 – Standing Stone Vidal Finger Lakes Ice 2014 $25/375
An enticing sweet wine, with lush mango, creamed apricot and candied orange peel notes melding together and carrying through the maple-accented finish.

90 – Forge Riesling Finger Lakes Harvest Ridge 2014 $24
Juicy and engaging, with ginger, peach and yellow apple notes, back by a racy melon rind edge through the finish.  Solid.

90 – Ravines Dry Riesling 2014 $18
A taut, dry style, with pure lime, kiwifruit and pippin apple flavors backed by a slate note that gives the finish good tension and length.  Very solid. A BEST BUY.


Let Governor Cuomo know you support the Finger Lakes wine industry today and tomorrow by signing this petition.

Call Cuomo at: 1-518-474-8390


Lonely Planet Wine Trails

A 1st edition companion guide published by Lonely Planet has just come out and of the 8 wineries recommended in the section on the Finger Lakes, Forge Cellars was among them. As they say in the introduction, “Tasting wine in the place it was made can be a revelation.”  It has always been our mission to make wine that expresses a sense of place here on the east side of Seneca Lake and so we were happy to have made it into the first edition of this well thought out book. Our write-up can be found on page 291, among the good company of 7 other Finger Lakes producers.

Milestones

milestone |ˈmīlˌstōn| 
noun
an action or event marking a significant change or stage in development

Forge Cellars has hit an export milestone.

I am not necessarily a fan of the posting that starts with a definition, so please forgive me for using this approach, but I thought it was appropriate as Forge hit a small, yet important milestone this week.  Last year while in France, Louis said he had a great idea–he has many, so I asked for some elaboration.  He said we were going to use his estate as Forge’s distribution hub for Europe.  This way his existing customers in all of Europe and Asia would have access to our wines.  Shipping full pallets of wine from Upstate New York to Japan is a tall order for small producers like us.  A few weeks ago, we sent our first shipment to Gigondas.  It is in Marseille as we speak, about to finish its passage to storage at Chateau St. Cosme.  This is wonderful as we can now ship small quantities to just about anywhere in Europe.  Buying a bit of Cotes-du-Rhone in London? How about we toss on some dry Riesling from the Finger Lakes?


My wine education, as you may know, is based in France and specifically with the core producers that Kermit Lynch imports.  I spent a lot of time visiting and buying from these producers.  During these buying forays, I started and ended many trips in Paris with my co-worker, Philippe Hervy, at his parents’ apartment.  At their little table, I experienced epic, life changing meals.  His mother is a cook of the tallest order and would make the great French classics in only the way a French women can in a tiny, tiny kitchen in an old building in Paris with pots hanging from all places and room enough for only one in the kitchen.  I remember how his father would agonize for days over  which wines he was going to blind taste us on.  His stack of index cards with his entire cellar printed on them with date of purchase, place, initial thoughts on the wine, who he last drank it with and what and some other random notations all done in the nicest script that would make any teacher proud.   These meals left such an impact on my idea of what great wine and food really means that it is hard to describe.  We never spoke of whether the producer believed in this thing or that thing or if he was part of that movement or that movement.  We just simply talked about the wine and food in front of us…for hours.  As a matter of fact, in true French fashion, it took Philippe’s father two years (yes, two years) to ask me a personal question.  Amazing, considering that our conversations on many levels were so deep.  We had so many important things to talk about…would you have served Chinon with the rabbit or a Sancerre Rouge?
This love of Paris carried over into my personal life as I would eventually be married there (at the Chapelle Expiatoire — see pic).  In fact, we were the first Americans allowed to be married there, but that is another tale.


The point?  Louis sent us a note the other day and said his agent (“distributor” in U.S.-speak) for Paris tasted our Riesling and wanted to reserve 28 cases for the City of Lights.  This agent’s customers are predominantly Michelin-starred restaurants in Paris.  This man would be presenting our little wines from the “Lakes” to some of the great restaurants in the city.  The thought that this city that to this day is still a big part of my life (I will be there in April with my family) will have dry Riesling from the Finger Lakes (not just Forge, but the FINGER LAKES), is just mind boggling for me.  It really is a great feeling to come full circle with a city that gave me so much.
Here’s to Parisians drinking Finger Lakes Riesling…
RR

Latest Review of 2013 Les Alliés Pinot

Wines with Premshee gives an insightful review of our 2013 Les Alliés Pinot Noir. We hope you enjoy the read as much as we did. Link and content below:

http://polkadotsocks.net/posts/2015/12/9/2013-forge-cellars-pinot-noir-les-allis

Wines with Premshree: 2013 Forge Cellars Pinot Noir “Les Alliés”
December 16, 2015

 

If you pardon the generalization for a second, you might agree that the prototypal Californian Pinot Noir may be big, lush and fruit-forward, lacking the complex, terroir-driven range of possibilities offered by Burgundy. Pinots from The Finger Lakes, on the other hand, in the hands of a good vintner, are firmly in the Burgundian camp. We may not have a good grasp of the region’s terroir, but a single vineyard wine like this 2013 “Les Alliés”, (mostly) from vines from John Leidenfrost‘s vineyards, may start telling us their stories.

It is rumored that these vines may be Clos Vougeotclones, but no-one really knows. What Richard Rainey, wine grower and one of the partners at Forge Cellars, does tell me, though, is that these vines, many of them planted in the ’80s (averaging 25 years old), give very ripe berries with incredibly thick skin.

We have enjoyed the “classique” in the past and it had become a weekday favorite in our home, until we couldn’t find it anymore. We enjoyed this particular bottle over Thanksgiving in Vermont. What a revelation!

Per Rainey, 2013 was a warm and dry fall that benefited the pinots. The wine poured a light red. Dry on the palate, I sensed hints of smoke, leather, tobacco and fresh fruits on the beautiful bouquet. On the palate, notes of dried cherries and peaches interspersed the tannic structure, with a hint of spice on the finish. For wine this young it drinks remarkably. I’m curious to see how this will develop with some time in the cellar.

I look forward to seeing what the 2014s look like. (Hint: apparently, very exciting.)