bone dry riesling

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

2017 Peach Orchard Dry Riesling

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For many years, Phil Davis has been a mentor to Rick and close friend to Louis and Justin. You would be hard-pressed to find another grower like him in the Finger Lakes, one with decades of knowledge founded on intuition, practice, and legacy. We feel fortunate to work with grapes from one of Phil’s most beloved plots, hand-planted in 1996 by his father Irving Davis, and brother Allen Davis. 

Our 2017 Peach Orchard Vineyard Dry Riesling has been described as many things, all of which draw upon the history of the site, and reflect the rhythm and nature of Phil's work in the vineyard. 

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Louis has called this wine, "an extraterrestrial for this vintage," stating that in a year as cold as 2017, the level of ripeness achieved by Peach Orchard Vineyard is nothing short of wizardry. It can be explained by the magic of microclimates: situated in the immediate vicinity of the lake, the plot benefits from the temperature regulation afforded by the huge expanse of water. It also enjoys the effects of light and heat reflection which bounce off the surface of the lake and envelop this vineyard amphitheater. Native American farmers grew orchards on this spot where peaches, cherries, and all sorts of fruits ripen effortlessly. 

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Orchardist and vigneron, Autumn Stoscheck, has been working closely with Phil over the last year while we bring our bio-intensive vineyard to life. This wine speaks to her through a different lens. Autumn writes, "a single vineyard wine captures the vineyard site, but also the vigneron. This newly released single vineyard Riesling from my mentor, Phil Davis, is one of my favorites. It's got this awesome dusty quality, like the dry gravelly loam soil of his site. It's also dense and powerful which speaks to the strength of his vines and the way he farms."

The 2017 Peach Orchard Dry Riesling is a blissfully transparent representation of site, vigneron, and partnership.  

100 cases produced -- More information/Purchase

2017 Vintage Release

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Momentum is the word that best describes where we are as a winery, and characterizes the 2017 vintage perfectly.  Coming off the heels of the stellar 2015 and 2016 vintages where the quality of our wines reached new heights, and the world seemed to be paying close attention, we knew that we needed to carry this energy through to the 2017 wines.  Now here we are, still rolling full speed ahead, ready to release our newest vintage.  These wines are alive; uncork a bottle and you’ll feel it.

2017 was our second vintage working in the new winery.  The pleasure in having our own space to work cannot be overstated. The flow and efficiency that we have in our simple structure is wonderful. 2017 also marked our seventh vintage.  Of course, each year we aim to become better at the work we do, and it seems that though the 2017 vintage had its challenges, overall it was a great success.  These wines represent joy, precision, and depth. We chose not to make Les Alliés Riesling or Les Alliés Pinot Noir this vintage, and de-classified our fruit in order to ensure the absolute best quality would remain in the Classique, our most important wine.

A portion of the 2017 vintage wines are now available online and at the winery, including our Dry Riesling Classique, and two new single vineyard Rieslings: Peach Orchard Vineyard and Breakneck Creek Vineyard.  The remaining wines will be released throughout the summer and fall of this year. 

As always, thank you for coming along on this journey with us and for your steadfast support. We hope that you enjoy these wines as much as we do.

Louis, Rick & Justin
Dry Riesling Classique 2017
$19


2017 is a vintage epitomizing classicism and balance. The wines are crystalline and laden with freshness. -LB

Due to our focus on this narrow 8-mile stretch of slope on the southeast side which includes 13 of our 14 Riesling vineyards, this will be our first labeling under the Seneca Lake AVA. Our 2017 Classique was fermented and aged in neutral barriques (57%) and in stainless steel (43%). Candied lemon, apricot peel, Asian pear, and anise join with salinity to give impeccable freshness.
Peach Orchard Vineyard Dry Riesling 2017
$26


In a year as cold as 2017, the level of ripeness achieved by the Peach Orchard Vineyard is nothing short of wizardry. -LB

Planted in a former hub of fruit tree production, this aptly named site is the most fruit-focused of our Rieslings. Robust and round, it gives notes of quince paste, stony minerals, dried herbs, tangerine, and juicy peaches.


100 cases produced
Breakneck Creek Vineyard Dry Riesling 2017
$26


As the Breakneck Vineyard produced pure sense of place this year, it seemed important that we introduce it to you.  The wine offers up outstanding minerality and a tension driven by freshness that is magnified by the total lack of sugar in our wines. -LB

Our first year working with this site has already shown great promise. The dramatic landscape of Breakneck Creek—cliffs and waterfalls—carved from hard layers of shale echoes in the minerality of this wine. It is dense with flavors of tropical fruits, lemon tart, chamomile, and vanilla.

125 cases produced
Leidenfrost Vineyard Dry Riesling 2017
$26


Anticipated Release Date: Fall 2018

Leidenfrost encapsulates this history of wine growing and the quality it is capable of producing. -LB

One of our purist expressions of terroir on Seneca Lake, this mature shale-laden, “Grand Cru” site continues to merit a stand-alone bottling. Intensely focused, the 2017 yields notes of candied orange peel, mango and fresh mint.


250 cases produced
Pinot Noir Classique 2017
$26


Anticipated Release Date: Summer 2018

The 2017 Pinot Classique draws marvelous aromas of camphor, Middle Eastern spices, ripe strawberry and liquorice from the shale along our hillsides. Its balance and delicacy meld with natural roundness.  -LB

Hand-harvested fruit from our east Seneca Lake Pinot Noir vineyards were hand-sorted and partially (30%) whole-cluster pressed. Spontaneous fermentations with native yeasts were followed by additional barrel aging for ten months.
Rosé 2017
$17


Anticipated Release Date: Summer 2018

Same style, different site. The 2017 is our first Rosé with Pinot Noir from Sawmill Creek Vineyard. After 24 hours, the juice was bled off of the skins using the saignée method, resulting in the structured, savory style of rosé that we enjoy.
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The Evolution in the Cellar

(Sourced from our e-newsletter on April 20, 2018)

Winemaking at Forge Cellars - Seneca Lake, Finger Lakes, New York

Here we are, in between the calmness of slow, steady fermentations and the thrill of preparing these barrels for the journey ahead. Using natural yeasts as we do, our wines take their sweet time to ferment to bone dryness and the 2017s are still finishing this evolution. It’s a busy time of constant tasting and note-taking, discovering the vintage in our cellar.  There is hardly anything more exciting than tasting through the wines from our collection of vineyard sites, and experiencing the “colors” of the eastern shore of Seneca Lake.  People often ask about our interest in working with so many sites; the simple and honest answer is that, at this young stage of Forge and the Finger Lakes, we want to explore our terroir more completely and partner with the best growers, while still focusing within a tight eight-mile strip that we love along southeast Seneca Lake.   Keep in mind the narrow terroir that is in our Riesling Classique: even with 15 plots, we are essentially working with vineyards between Lodi and Hector, except for one late-harvest site. 
 
There are certain terroirs that offer intensity and precision, while other sites offer savory, stony minerality, or flavors that make you feel like you just bit into the juiciest peach of your life.  Blending these profiles together allows us to give you a bottle that is layered with the complexity we find in the lower-east microclimate of Seneca. To define this connection, beginning with our 2017 vintage, our wines will be labeled with the "Seneca Lake" AVA rather than the wider-ranging "Finger Lakes."
 
What about the single vineyard wines?  There are always a few vineyards that so clearly portray their terroir that they compel us to study them alone. They are masked within a blend and brilliantly complete on their own. Similarly, we note a few barrels among both the Riesling and Pinot Noir that are truly exceptional, and can be nothing other than our Les Alliés.
 
In these coming days, we will sit together as a team and uncover the 2017 vintage.  More than one hundred barrels will be individually tasted, assessed, blended, and the final wines realized.