Les Alliés

JUST RELEASED - 2017 Vintage Scores

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Pictured above:  Louis in the cellar gathering Rieslings from barrels for blending trials of the 2017 vintage.

It has been a quiet winter in the cellar and on the eastern slopes of Seneca Lake.  There is a calmness that you can feel in the winery as you pass through racks of barrels playing soothing songs of fermentation.  Allowing our wines to ferment slowly and spontaneously makes for a long winter of watching and waiting, but the reward at the end makes the anticipation worth it.  As a result of this natural fermentation, we find that wines are more aromatic and expressive.

In 2018, we expanded to working with 16 different sites along a small eight mile stretch of southeast Seneca Lake.  The variations in soils, slope, elevation, and growing practices make this landscape a true treasure of terroir.  It is our hope that we can very clearly show you this in the wines from 2018, which will begin to come available in the summer of 2019.

A true pleasure has been watching the evolution of the first wines produced from fruit on our Home Farm.  We harvested a small amount of Riesling and Pinot Noir in 2018--both stunning in terms of quality and flavor.  As we continue to check in and taste them throughout fermentation, they are by consensus, spectacular examples of transparent, honest grape-growing, and speak ofterroir impeccably.  They have been a wonderful case study for us, as we put an inordinate amount of effort into caring for the vines with the help of Autumn Stoscheck in 2018, and are sure they will be an incredible addition to our blends. 

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In the January 2019 issue of Wine Spectator, our complete lineup of 2016 Dry Rieslings was featured among the high ratings from New York, dominating the Riesling category.  At this time, we still have a small amount of 2016 Dry Riesling Les Alliés available, however the rest of the vintage has sold out. 

This great press on the 2016 vintage was quickly followed-up by outstanding scores from Wine Spectator for the 2017 vintage Rieslings, making it another consecutive year of outstanding scores.  (Please see the 2017 reviews below.)

If you are among the lucky ones who have a few bottles of Peach Orchard or Breakneck Creek Rieslings resting in your cellar, you will be happy to read the reviews and thankful that you had the opportunity to add a few to your collection before they were sold out.  One of our most iconic wines, our late-release single vineyard Riesling from Leidenfrost, is still available in limited quantities.  Single vineyard wines are typically released in the summer and produced in limited quantities.  While we do bottle small lots of certain vineyards separately each vintage, the reason we make so few of these wines is because the fruit from these sites are also components in the Classique and Les Alliés bottlings each year.  Every time you enjoy a glass of Classique or Les Alliés, know that you are also tasting a piece of these special vineyard sites, too.  These single vineyard wines tend to sell very quickly and are adored by the press, so we always suggest stocking up when they are first released.  As a subscriber to this newsletter, you are among the first to know of their release, and we will be sure to reach out this summer when the 2018 vintage becomes available.


Dry Riesling Classique 2017
91 POINTS
Wine Spectator, 2019

"Jasmine and mustard seed notes lead the way here, backed by a mix of yellow apple, mirabelle plum and citrus oil flavors. Shows good intensity through the finish." - James Molesworth


Dry Riesling Breakneck Creek Vineyard 2017
91 POINTS
Wine Spectator, 2019

“Juicy and vibrant, with jasmine-gilded yellow apple, melon and mirabelle plum flavors backed by flashes of verbena and green almond on the finish. Shows lots of range and energy.”
- James Molesworth


- SOLD OUT - 


Dry Riesling Peach Orchard Vineyard 2017
91 POINTS
Wine Spectator, 2019

“Mustard flower, white peach, verbena and green almond notes give this a distinct profile, while a creamy frame and a lingering quinine streak add range and length.” - James Molesworth

- SOLD OUT - 


Dry Riesling Leidenfrost Vineyard 2017
90 POINTS
Wine Spectator, 2019

“A jasmine note leads off in this white, followed by grapefruit gelée, verbena and white peach flavors. A nice quinine streak gives the finish some needed tension.” - James Molesworth

Another Sinfully Delectable Food and Wine Pairing

Photo by: Steven M Rice

Photo by: Steven M Rice

Our friend, Steve, from the Seattle area sent us this picture of our 2015 Lower Caywood Vineyard Riesling that he paired with local Dungeness Crab.  This may be one of the greatest parings with that wine that I could ever imagine.  The richness, minerality, and specifically the wild herb component of our Lower Caywood Riesling paired with the crab must have been wonderful.  

When Louis was here, we grilled Alaskan King Crab legs and had them with a magnum of 2012 Riesling Les Alliés, and it was sinful.  Remember, these are not your grandma’s Rieslings…

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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