Force Majeure is making perfectly crafted Bordeaux and Rhone-styled wines from the Walla Walla Valley. Todd Alexander, formerly the winemaker at Bryant Family Vineyards, has perfected his craft at his new home, creating stunning wines of character, depth and precision. As production is small, and demand is high, finding these wines outside of the winery can be difficult, but well worth the pursuit. All of Todd’s wines are made in a low-impact style, 100% native yeast fermentations, with no filter or fining. It is an incredible experience to taste through a suite of wines where you can taste the winemaker’s hand in every single one of the wines.
We recently sat down with Todd to talk about the latest vintages, taste through his wines, and discuss some of his newest upcoming projects (Pasha and Weathereye.) About 3000 cases of wine are produced each year at Force Majeure.
2018 Vintage Overview – This lovely growing season created a very easy, and well-rounded vintage, with almost perfect weather in the Red Mountain area. With consistent weather throughout the year, and not a lot of rain, the vines were able to produce ripe tannin, powerful fruit that had to be restrained in the winery. The fruit showed beautiful purity, creating plush and round wines that will age for a decade or more in the cellar.
2019 Vintage Overview – A bit of a tricky vintage, with a beautiful, temperate and consistent spring and summer, turned into a very cool fall that hit the region right before the fruit ripened completely. October offered a few days where temperatures dipped close, or below, freezing. Because of these variances, we will be seeing a large variation of wine consistency between winemaker to winemaker, with the best producing leaner but outstanding wines. The 2019 barrel samples we tasted, show incredible promise and when finally released, will be a worthy addition to their lineup.
2020 Vintage Overview – The 2020 vintage will be known as the year of the smoke in Washington and Oregon. While smoke taint is, and will become, a major problem for wines coming out of the Willamette Valley, there is very little smoke taint coming out of the grapes in Eastern Washington. The reason being is distance away from the source of the fires. Because the fires were so far away, most of the smoke particulate fell to the ground before ever hitting the vineyards in Washington. An almost perfect vintage from a weather perspective until the smoke came through for about a 10-day period of time. The crop load was a bit lighter than in 2019, so expect a smaller production resulting in some concentrated and balanced wines to be released from Walla Walla wineries.
|2018||FORCE MAJEURE Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain||97|
|2018||FORCE MAJEURE Red Wine, Red Mountain 'Epinette'||94|
|2018||FORCE MAJEURE Syrah, SJR Vineyard||98|
|2018||FORCE MAJEURE Syrah, Red Mountain||97|
|2018||FORCE MAJEURE Red Wine, Red Mountain 'Parvata'||95|