terroir

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

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

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

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