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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.

Why do we make Pinot Noir?

(Sourced from our e-newsletter on Jan. 18, 2018)

2011, our first vintage of Pinot Noir. (Photo: Wendy Houseworth)

2011, our first vintage of Pinot Noir. (Photo: Wendy Houseworth)

Just about every week we have someone visit the winery for a tasting, and often one of their first questions is, "Why do you make Pinot Noir?” 

True, with with our variable weather patterns and cool, northerly climate, nothing is easy here; certainly not the fickle, seductive beauty known as Pinot.  But we have always had the confidence that if we chose the right sites, balanced the yields, worked with dedicated growers, and paid attention throughout the season, we could absolutely achieve excellence. Notice I have mentioned nothing about the winemaking, which must be watchful, disciplined and intensive. This past fall, Justin and I used our brain power and brute strength to figure out how to break through the foot-thick cap of grape skins to punch down our Pinots. Louis haranged us day and night about fermentation temperatures, and we bit our nails in suspense over whether our French barrels would arrive from Santa Rosa, California while it was burning from wildfires.  

Seneca Lake Pinot Noir truly excites us and gets us up in the mornings. We believe it is possible to translate our terroir into a sublime glass of Pinot. Some of the very factors that deter and stymy are those that have the potential to make our version so compelling. We continue our quest for finesse, delicacy, seduction and charm, and we invite you to come along on this journey. Such is our confidence in the variety here, that  in 2016 and 2017, we planted ten acres of Pinot on our home farm. With the help of our Vineyard Consultant, Phil Davis (Damiani Wine Cellars) and our vineyard team, which now includes Autumn Stoscheck from Eve’s Cidery, we look forward to raising our young vines in the most eco-friendly and balanced manner possible that they might tell you a brilliant Finger Lakes story one day.

If you like Burgundy, we think you will especially find our Pinots attractive. These are wines that reflect their delicate and gradual Finger Lakes ripening and their foundation in shale soils. They are alive, expressive and mysterious, unfolding at will. I'll be heading to Burgundy for inspiration and wisdom from the holy grail of Pinot Noir in just a week, so stay tuned for updates, and in the meantime, check out our newly released and rated Les Alliés 2015.

-RR

Wonder how we make our Rosé? This is a great, simple explanation.

Why Saignée is Like No Other Rosé | Wine Folly

Saignée ("sohn-yay") means "to bleed," and it also describes a method of rosé winemaking that involves "bleeding" off a portion of red wine juice after it's been in contact with the skins and seeds. Saignée is considered a byproduct of red winemaking because its primary function is to increase the concentration of red wines.

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…

-RR

Opposites

This year we are experiencing the wettest summer that I can recall.  I have never had a wet basement in our 200-year-old farmhouse during the summer months.  Just this past week, I had four inches of water down there--thankfully, it is a slate and dirt floor, so the water comes in and goes out without too much of an issue.  

The fun of having a “sister estate” is that we get to compare notes.  Louis sent me a picture this morning from Château de Saint Cosme in Gigondas (Rhône Valley), which was taken with a drone above the Roman chapel (the inspiration for the Saint Cosme label) that is at the top of the vineyards behind the winery.  He told me that they are having a hot and dry summer, but the vines seem to be doing okay.  The vines have to develop very deep roots in order to survive these hot months in the Rhône.  This is quite the opposite of Seneca Lake this summer, where we are handing out snorkels to the vineyard crews.

-RR

Putting the Ducks to Work

We are big advocates of biodiversity on our growing farm, and value the symbiotic relationship we have with our land. This weekend, our ducklings were moved from their temporary home in the winery to their new coop in the vineyard. Over the next few weeks they will learn the landscape and begin helping us with pest management. (Bonus: not only are these guys hard workers, but they are pretty darn cute, too!)


If you're interested in learning more, check out this video from a winery in South Africa that employs more than 800 ducks in their vineyard -- it's truly a sight to see.

Forge Around the World

Things are busy here in "the lakes" (as Louis would say), so while we're busy tending to things in the winery and vineyard, our wines have taken up the hobby of globetrotting.  

Just last week, our Riesling and Pinot Noir were seated among some BIG names in the wine biz for a professional tasting of American wines in Romania.  It is an honor and a privilege to wield the flag of the Finger Lakes abroad, and introduce the region and wines to connoisseurs overseas.

Photo: Facebook page of Liz Thach

Photo: Facebook page of Liz Thach

Photos: Facebook page of Liz Thach

Shanghai was the next stop for our Riesling.  Liz Thach, MW (Master of Wine) presented our Riesling Classique to 34 Chinese wine professionals during a tasting of "8 Top American Wines."  Forge Cellars wines poured alongside Kistler, Domaine Serene, Turley, and Opus One!?

Did you catch our Facebook post last week about Hungary?  Our Riesling Classique is the only American wine on the list at Eleven - bor&tapas, a wine bar/restaurant in Pécs.

Wow.  What a strange yet amazing feeling to see our project making a splash and navigating the vast world of wine.

Adding Drain Tile to Our Home Farm

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In the coming weeks, our home farm will welcome another addition of Riesling and Pinot Noir vines. This past weekend, Rick and James spent their time installing drain tiles throughout the vineyard where the next phase of planting will occur.  By "tiling" or adding drain tiles, any excess subsurface water from the rising of the water table will be redirected through the pipe/drain system and moved away from the vineyard.  It's a necessary undertaking in a region such as the Finger Lakes, which experiences somewhat significant rainfall in various years. 

During the dig, we unearthed quite a bit of shale and blue clay - a combination that will make Pinot Noir especially happy.  

-KR

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

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

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.

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.