saint cosme

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

Louis' Visit to "The Lakes" - May 2017

Visits with Louis always move too quickly.  Having the entire team together is always something we look forward to, and while we work hard and efficiently when we're together, we always leave time for play.  (And play, we did!)

Jean-Baptiste, one of Louis' long-time friends and fellow French winemaker, came along for the ride, and experienced the Finger Lakes for the first time.  What is truly remarkable about this region is that you don't have to go out of your way to introduce someone to this place and the people, it just happens organically.  When an unknown person arrives in the Finger Lakes, there may as well be a line out the door of people waiting to introduce themselves and pass on one of their favorite local pastimes or watering holes.  The community is woven so tightly here, which is one of the many reasons we love doing what we do, where we do it.

Back to work...  Although our rosé production is small—about 100 cases this vintage—it's a fun project for us, and was the first item on the agenda.  We were all pleased to see it retain the intensity and expression of the 2015 vintage that we all loved so much.  The next big task during Louis' visit was finalizing all of the cuvées: Classique, Les Alliés, and Single Vineyard wines.  This means that each and every barrel and tank were tasted, ample notes were taken, blending trials were conducted, and after countless samples and discussion, the wines were realized.  Every year it's fascinating to see the sometimes drastic differences between vineyards and terroir when tasting the wines.  In our tasting of 2016 Rieslings, we noticed one powerful vineyard (you'll have to wait to find out which one...) that was so expressive, even adding 3% of it into our Classique bottling changed the entire dynamics of the wine.  All-in-all, the wines from the 2016 vintage were full of character and finesse, wines that we are proud to be the first to have seen the entire winemaking process from start to finish in our new facility.

It is important for us to constantly taste, to let our palates and our minds experience and understand the world of wine around us.  Everyone on the team is encouraged to document the various wines that they try (especially Riesling and Pinot Noir), and share their impressions.  The opportunity to taste together is always the most beneficial, and allows us to engage in lively discussion, analysis, and sometimes debate.  It was a treat to taste some of the older vintages from Saint Cosme (2004 Les Deux Albion, anyone?) and sample Riesling and Pinot from around the world, each with their own story and personality. 

What did we do for play?  Aside from taking pleasure in beautiful wines and the Michelin 3-star meals that Rick cooked up, we also wrangled in our bravery and jumped into one of many creeks feeding into Seneca Lake.  Nothing is quite as invigorating at 9am as a chilly dip into a pool of fresh water (right, Louis?).  We warmed up with a bonfire at the winery, had coffee and pastries, and shared some good laughs about the lunacy that just happened.

These are the moments that remind us of how much we love what we do.  Having the team together, seeing our wines come to life before our eyes, and taking in all that the Finger Lakes has to offer (cold streams and all) is the life force of Forge.

-KR

Forge Cellars, atop the Chaîne des Puys

It is surreal every time I see Forge Cellars in some place other than our own tasting room!  

Yesterday, Louis sent a picture from Clermont-Ferrand, France, where the wines of Château de Saint Cosme and Forge Cellars were being poured.

Last week he was at Prowein showing our wines and this week Louis is in central France with the Forge portfolio. We may need to change his title to read: Louis Barruol - Finger Lakes Ambassador.

A note about Clermont-Ferrand -- most people don’t know that there is a whole range of mountains, the Chaîne des Puys, made up of extinct volcanoes near Clermont-Ferrand. I was blown away the first time I drove across this chain of mountains and saw the distinct shape of extinct volcanoes out my window. Worth a visit. 

-RR

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

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

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.