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Force Majeure Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

  • RP95
  • WE92
  • WS90
750ML / 14.7% ABV
Other Vintages
  • RP96
  • WS91
  • RP93
  • WE92
  • WS91
  • RP95
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750ML / 14.7% ABV

Winemaker Notes

As the flagship wine, this bottling of Cabernet Sauvignon showcases the distinctive character of Force Majeure's Estate vineyard. It is quite dark with a powerful bouquet marked by cedar, earth and blackfruit. The flavors are rich, concentrated and complete. The generous underpinnings oftannins are woven discreetly into the wine's finish. This big, rich, commanding Cabernet will continue to improve over the next decade.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 95
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Coming all from the new, incredibly steep estate vineyard located high up near the top of Red Mountain, the 2011 Collaboration Series Cabernet Sauvignon is distinct in the lineup for its deep black currant, tobacco, underbrush, violets and mineral-loaded profile. More rounded and supple on the palate than some of the Ciel du Cheval bottlings, it has a rich, weighty mouthfeel, knockout purity of fruit and enough silky tannin to allow it to evolve gracefully for at least a decade. This is only the fourth leaf for the vineyard and hats off to the Force Majeure crew for having the vision to push the envelope on where grape vines can be planted and for the perseverance to work those steep hillsides. Drink now-2021.

Rating: (93-95)+

WE 92
Wine Enthusiast
This is the second vintage release for the estate vineyard, which occupies the highest planted portion of Red Mountain. Precise, sharp-edged, high-acid red-fruit flavors of berry and cherry seem stacked vertically, with a strong mineral underpinning. The alcohol is a bit high, but overall the structure holds together and would support further aging; drink now–2022.
WS 90
Wine Spectator
Fresh and vibrant, with juicy flavors of cherry, roasted meat and herb, picking up lightly gritty tannins and black tea flavors as the finish lingers expressively. Best from 2016 through 2021.
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Force Majeure

Force Majeure

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Force Majeure, Washington
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It is both passion and obsessive attention to detail that push Force Majeure to raise the standard for Washington winegrowing. Inspired by the vineyards of Bordeaux, Hermitage, Priorat, and Cote Rotie, we challenged existing viticultural practices and embarked on an ambitious plan to pioneer the very first vineyard on the steep, upper slopes of Red Mountain.

This Herculean effort involved the careful matching of varietal and clonal selections, trellising and irrigation to the nine distinct soil types formed by the ancient Missoula floods, winds and volcanic activity. The outcome is a vineyard articulated into many small "micro-blocks," to meet the management demands of this unique and dynamic site. Due to the rough, rocky nature of the acreage and elevations ranging from 960 to 1,230 feet, mechanization is virtually impossible in the upper portion of Force Majeure, requiring true "farming by hand." Yet the lower blocks of the vineyard are comprised of deep, well-drained Warden soils.

Thus, the diversity of our vineyard results in a versatility that allows us to grow a variety of compelling fruit characterized by stunning intensity, depth and concentration, complex flavors and fine tannins. We nurture a variety of Bordeaux and Rhone varietals at this special site and look forward to sharing, quite literally, the "fruits of our labor" with you.

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Red Mountain

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A coveted source of top quality red grapes among premier Washington producers, the Red Mountain AVA is actually the smallest appellation in the state. As its name might suggest, it is actually neither a mountain nor is it composed of red earth. Instead the appellation is an anticline of the Yakima fold belt, a series of geologic folds that define a number of viticultural regions in the surrounding area. It is on the eastern edge of Yakima Valley with slopes facing southwest towards the Yakima River, ideal for the ripening of grapes. The area’s springtime proliferation of cheatgrass, which has a reddish color, actually gives the area the name, "Red" Mountain.

Red Mountain produces some of the most mineral-driven, tannic and age-worthy red wines of Washington and there are a few reasons for this. It is just about the hottest appellation with normal growing season temperatures commonly reaching above 90F. The soil is particularly poor in nutrients and has a high pH, which results in significantly smaller berry sizes compared to varietal norms. The low juice to skin ratio in smaller berries combined with the strong, dry summer winds, leads to higher tannin levels in Red Mountain grapes.

The most common red grape varieties here are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Syrah, among others. Limited white varieties are grown, namely Sauvignon blanc.

The reds of the area tend to express dark black and blue fruit, deep concentration, complex textures, high levels of tannins and as previously noted, have good aging capabilities.

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Cabernet Sauvignon

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A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon enjoys success all over the globe. Inherently high in tannins and acidity, the best bottlings of Cabernet can age beautifully, with the ability to last fifty years or more. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in temperate climates like Bordeaux's Medoc region and forms the base of the Medoc reds, which are typically mostly Cabernet with Merlot and smaller amounts of some combination of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. (Enjoying a great deal of success in various regions around the world, this blend is now globally referred to as a Bordeaux Blend.) Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious, age-worthy and sought-after “cult” wines.

In the Glass

High in color, tannin and extract, Cabernet Sauvignon expresses notes of blackberry, cassis, plum, currant, spice and tobacco. In Bordeaux and elsewhere in the Old World you'll find the more earthy, tannic side of Cabernet, where it is typically blended to soften tannins and add complexity. In warmer regions like California Washington, Argentina, Chile and Australia, you can typically expect more ripe fruit flavors upfront.

Perfect Pairings

Cabernet Sauvignon is right at home with rich, intense meat dishes—beef, lamb and venison, in particular—where its opulent fruit and decisive tannins make an equal match to the dense protein of the meat. With a mature Cabernet, opt for tender, slow-cooked meat dishes.

Sommelier Secrets

Despite the modern importance and ubiquity of Cabernet Sauvignon, it is actually a relatively young variety. In 1997, DNA profiling revealed the grape to be a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc which took place in 17th century southwestern France.

CGM25667_2011 Item# 205263