2018 Force Majeure 'Epinette'

2018 Force Majeure 'Epinette'

by JJ Buckley Fine Wines

2018 Force Majeure 'Epinette'

JJB: $99.94*

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Force Majeure has emerged as one of the true powerhouses of Washington State, with winemaker Todd Alexander (formerly of Bryant Family) helping to shape the winery into a competitor that can stand shoulder to shoulder with Napa’s best. Never mind Napa in fact, their double-97pt ‘Epinette’ Merlot blend is destined to compete with top efforts from Bordeaux and Tuscany! ‘Epinette’ comes entirely from their estate vineyard on Red Mountain, and for Jeb Dunnuck, it is “up with the finest Merlots in the New World,” while for the Wine Advocate, it “emphatically shows Washington Merlot can be a powerhouse.” With a price tag of under a hundred bucks, and only 250 cases produced in 2018, this is not likely to last long!

Force Majeure had a blockbuster vintage in 2018, with several of their cuvees earning 97-100pts. Todd Alexander is no stranger to that sort of critical acclaim, having come from Bryant Family down in Napa Valley. That experience has proved indispensable as their estate vineyard on Red Mountain has an incredibly complex terroir, with each micro-block planted and tended according to its strengths. Todd Alexander has worked with both viticulturist David Abreu (Screaming Eagle, Harlan) and enologist Michel Rolland (Pavie, Angelus). He is now one of the top talents in the Northwest, and according to the Wine Advocate, the “quality coming from the new winemaking team, and their estate vineyard, is unquestionably world class.” Cheers!

97 points, Jeb Dunnuck: "The 2018 Epinette is the Merlot-dominated release from this team, and it's 79% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Petit Verdot, all from the estate vineyard on Red Mountain. Lots of smoky black cherry and darker currant fruits as well as notes of chocolate, graphite, lead pencil, and chalky minerality emerge from the glass, and this full-bodied beauty is beautifully textured, with a stacked mid-palate, velvety tannins, and a blockbuster finish. It's up with the finest Merlots in the New World and will drink brilliantly for at least a decade, if not longer.";

97 points, Decanter: "A blend of primarily Merlot and Cabernet Franc, with smaller portions Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot, the wine was aged for 22 months in nearly all new French oak prior to bottling. The palate is soft, round and elegant, coming off as a top warm vintage Pomerol from 2009 or perhaps 2003. A deep core of dark fruits greet you, but the weightless texture is even more impressive. (Drink between 2021-2038)"

*Offer publication date September 3, 2021. Pricing and availability subject to change.