forgeron cabs and a brilliant sauv blanc

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Yesterday brought a couple of wine highlights my way. A marvelous vertical tasting of Forgeron Cabernets was the first. I sat down with winemaker Marie-Eve Gilla and her assistant Annie Hull and we worked our way through nine bottles, including a pair of vineyard-designates. What shone through was the classic, well-defined, consistent winemaking style, one that allowed for vintage expression and yet kept a tight focus on wines with – well – a tight focus.

All the wines were drinking soundly and none were even close to going over the hill. My favorites were 2006, 2001 and 2007 (in that order). Later in the day I tasted through them all again with the owners of Klipsun vineyards, whose grapes were a part of all but the vineyard-designates. The over-riding impression throughout the flight was of dark, smoky, somewhat earthy wines, showing black cherry and cassis fruit, coffee grounds, smoke and dense, though polished tannins. Here are notes:

Forgeron 2001 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Exceptional. Drinking perfectly now. Just rounding out the rough corners. Still plenty of sweet cherry fruit. The dusty, dark, coffee and smoky flavors weave through, now smoothly integrated.

Forgeron 2002 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
A lighter mouthfeel than the ’01, but comparable flavors. Black cherry, smoke, cassis, earth.

Forgeron 2003 Pepper Bridge Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
A pretty nose of incense and cocoa. Shows the vineyard’s herbal/earthy side, with anise and loam alongside strawberry fruit. The fruit is relatively light, but the overall balance is true and everything is in proportion.

Forgeron 2003 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
This actually drinks older than the earlier bottles, with the fruit showing some prune and raisin flavors, and the tannins beginning to drop out. The finish has coffee grounds and astringency galore.

Forgeron 2004 Champoux Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Ripe, full, round, luscious, loaded with brambly blackberry and black cherry fruit. Immensely appealing, though the fruit blows away some of the structure.

Forgeron 2005 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
This has pretty plum and black cherry fruit, some cola and dust, and seems a little closed down still.

Forgeron 2006 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Drinking very well. Spicy, brambly black fruits, a little white pepper, good grip and just the proper hint of herb and bark. A complex wine with more grip and verticality than the ’06 Merlot.

Forgeron 2007 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Current release. Beautifully aromatic, weaving coffee, smoke, black cherry, cassis, moist earth, lead pencil, and toffee scents into a flavorful tapestry. Smooth, fruity, soft and balanced, with lightly grainy tannins that are as supple as real Corinthian leather.

My second highlight of the day came with dinner. After all the heavy Cabs, and staring at a lightly grilled filet of salmon on the dinner plates, Mrs. G and I opted for a bottle of New Zealand sauvignon blanc. It was a glorious wine, the best NZ sauv blanc I've had in quite a long while. Perhaps it is just my subjective impression, but the category seems to have lost a bit of luster lately. Too many of the wines tasting like asparagus, prices on the rise, a lack of marketing muscle, and the confusion of trying to tie sauv blanc and pinot noir together. But this bottle was a robust, fresh and captivating riot of gooseberry and grapefruit, mineral and acid. The winemaker? Peter Rosback. The winery? Sineann.

Their website is a bit out of date, but contact information is accurate. Ask for the Sineann 2010 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Sineann


Anonymous said...

P.G., I just had a Sample of the New Fish House Sauv. Blanc. New label, with the red door. Northwest wine, very suprized, some pop and zing to it. try some would love your feed back? Thx Merlotman

eric top wine cooler said...

Forgeron 2004 Champoux Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

personally i wasn't entirely blown away by this wine. i honestly felt it was a bit too fruity flavored. i would've like a more crisp flavor is that makes sense

PaulG said...

Eric, as I noted, it had a lot of fruit. So your comment makes perfect sense. Just different preferences. Thanks for posting.

PaulG said...

MMan - I will be tasting thru Fishhouse etc. later this week.

LeftCoastRightBrain said...

Love the folks at Forgeron and their wine. I've been sitting on the '06 and the '04 Champoux so guess it's time to drink through the '04s.

Eve-Marie is a wonder and Jim Abajon does a great job on the business end.

Post a Comment

Your comment is awaiting moderation and will be posted ASAP. Thanks!