Vineyard Shot


Accolades for Forgeron Cellars

The Oregon Wine Blog: We're on the Air for Washington Wine

"Marie-Eve marries her Old World education in Dijon with the fruit & potential of Washington wine in a way that gives her wine personality, elegance, & in many cases, grace."

 Clive Pursehouse, The Oregon Wine Blog, November 2010 

David Wilson of Grape Encounters Radio has basically taken over the state of California. His radio show has a similar format to what we're doing here at TOWB: he approaches wine without pretense, focusing on the experience, & he has a top secret location. Every time I check in with David there's a bevy of new stations that are carrying him all over California. One of the things I appreciate about David is that he looks at wine from every perspective: envelopes are pushed, corks are popped (& screwcaps are twisted, perhaps begrudgingly) & a general good time is had on Grape Encounters. If you're not currently listening, check them out on the interwebs or on iTunes. One of his biggest markets is actually Seattle, which is fortunate for me because it allows me to work a Northwest angle when I appear on his show, as I did recently to talk about Forgeron Cellars & our all too fleeting youth.

David recently invited me back to talk about millenials & wine & to give the wines of Forgeron Cellars a whirl. If you spend time talking with new wine drinkers you'll encounter a lot of "I only drink reds" or "I only drink whites." You'll also encounter a steadfast unwillingness to spend more than $15 on a bottle of wine. The result is often the safe $8-15 blend that has some nice oak elements & red fruit notes. The wines are comfortable, simple, & in many cases they even score pretty well according to the fancy magazine people. At that price point you "can't go wrong," and there's nothing wrong with that. What got us down the road towards Walla Walla's Forgeron Cellars is the idea that there are wines available for twenty to thirty dollars that will give younger wine drinkers a look at what the world of wine can really hold for them.

David & I spent some time talking about going a bit outside the comfort zone, & maybe spending just a little bit more, closer to the $25 dollar neighborhood & really opening yourself & your palate up to a new experience. In an effort to illustrate that, David & I tasted through 3 brilliant wines from Forgeron Cellars priced between $19 & $26.

I first encountered the wines of Forgeron Cellars in the spring & met the charming winemaker, Marie-Eve Gilla. Her wines, particularly the Zinfandel & Chardonnay, are, in my opinion, among Washington state's finest examples of each. Marie-Eve marries her Old World education in Dijon with the fruit & potential of Washington wine in a way that gives her wine personality, elegance, & in many cases, grace.

I have said it on Twitter & I’ll say it again here: her Zinfandel is 1 of my top 2 wine discoveries of 2010. You may have picked up on this, but I get to try a lot of wine; this Zin is excellent. David was a big fan of the Zinfandel & found it to be a big bold wine, spicy & not raisiny, & well-integrated with an alcohol percentages hovering in the mid-14s.

Where Marie-Eve may have won David's heart, & what may be described as her wheelhouse, were the 2 whites we tasted, a Chardonnay ($19), & Marsanne ($26). What I love about the Chardonnay & where I feel Marie Eve hits the mark is on the mouthfeel of this wine, it's full & rounded. You get a lot of well-rounded Chardonnays in California, but they're usually so buttered over with oak that you don't get to enjoy any of the fruit elements. David said it best: this Chardonnay is indeed beautiful. It's crisp & bright & even a bit floral but it really fills the mouth well with a great finish. The Marsanne furthered David's appreciation for Marie Eve's winemaking. The floral elements & the bright fruit flavors had us both muttering compliments between tastes that included "absolutely beautiful” & “fantastic." There were only 3 barrels of the Marsanne, so if you’re able to get your hands on this beauty, you definitely should.

The point that David allowed me to make is that spending a bit more on wine allows you to really begin to see what the fuss is all about. So I encourage young people skip a few of those $5 lattes, pool your money with a friend or 2 & drop a bit more coin on a small production bottle of wine. In a perfect world, I'd prefer it be from Washington so you get a glimpse as to why those of us in the secret location of TOWB are so enamored with Northwest grape juice.

Listen to the show here.

Clive Pursehouse, The Oregon Wine Blog: We're on the Air for Washington Wine, November 2010