Gold Medal - Forgeron Cellars 2017 Chardonnay
Gold Medal - Forgeron Cellars 2017 'Imaginarium' Red Blend
Haunting aromas and flavors go so deep for this high elevation, 18-month
French oak-aged Syrah. An inky well of tar, bacon fat, tobacco and red fruit
are mirrored on nose and palate. Graphite lines the mouth, with a dot of black
pepper. Tannins are pronounced and texturally rich with a slight chalkiness –
salinity licks the tongue on the finish. This is what we love about this varietal,
and in its second vintage, it keeps us wanting more.
This is an old-vine Wente clone block planted in chalky, stony soil. Aged for 17
months in French oak, it offers a perfume of lemon blossom, melon and Italian
herbs. An unctuousness persists on the palate, with unique notes of lychee,
cinnamon, oregano and blue flowers. Granny Smith apple forges its way
through an orange-caramel coated finish.
Aromas of mango, honey and beeswax are followed by rounded but sleek lemony flavors. It has the pleasing acidity of the vintage. SEAN P. SULLIVAN
Birch Creek Vineyard fruit makes up the majority of this wine, with the rest from Minnick Hills and a dollop from Seven Hills. The aromas bring notes of baking spice, mesquite, cherry, cassis and vanilla. The palate paints around the edges initially, filling in over time. Firm tannins back it up. Like many wines from this vintage, it needs a bit of time to show its best. SEAN P. SULLIVAN
Aromas of freshly cut apple and pear are followed by full-feeling flavors. Tart acidity backs it up. It has a pleasing sense of varietal purity. SEAN P. SULLIVAN
The aromas are bright, with notes of pear, flower and peach. Medium-plus bodied, quite pure-seeming melon and stone-fruit flavors follow. It brings a lot of appeal and spot-on balance. SEAN P. SULLIVAN
The aromas bring plenty of appeal and complexity, with notes of tar, black cherry, anise and dried herb. Full-feeling cherry flavors follow, showing exquisite balance and length. Black-currant notes linger on the finish. Tart acids finish it off. It's a complete charmer. SEAN P. SULLIVAN
This is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec. Seeing just 40% new oak, the focused aromas of dark raspberry, plum and black currant are followed by ripe fruit flavors that bring texture. It's beautiful now but will benefit from some time in the cellar. SEAN P. SULLIVAN
Coming from a block in this esteemed vineyard planted in 1988, aromas of baking spice, chocolate, anise, dark cherry and fig are followed by supple, rich, creamy-feeling dark-cherry and spice flavors. Quite ripe in style, it has an immediate yum factor. SEAN P. SULLIVAN
The aromas are generous but subtle, with notes of pear, yellow apple, toast and clarified butter. Full-feeling richly textured flavors follow. A long finish caps it off. SEAN P. SULLIVAN
All Cabernet Sauvignon from the Seven Hills and Minnick Hills vineyards, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon reveals a ruby/plum color as well as attractive notes of jammy blackberries, red currants, graphite, dried earth, and cedarwood. Nicely textured, medium-bodied, and with ripe yet certainly present tannins, it’s going to benefit from a year or two of bottle age and drink well for a decade. You get a serious, age-worthy Cabernet for not much buck.
The 2017 Chardonnay is a rocking value. Classic Chardonnay notes of ripe apple, white flowers, and spice all emerge from the glass and it’s medium-bodied, has terrific purity, and a clean, classy finish. Brought up in 39% new French oak, with the balance in neutral barrels, drink it over the coming 2-3 years.
All Syrah from the Boushey Vineyard, aged in one-third new French oak, the 2017 Syrah Boushey Vineyard Birdhouse Block has a ripe, opulent bouquet of cassis, toasted spice, licorice, ground pepper, and graphite. This medium to full-bodied effort has loads of pure fruit, some chewy yet ripe tannins, plenty of mid-palate oomph, and a great finish. Give it a year or two and it should evolve nicely for 7-8 years.
From the French Creek vineyard, the 2017 Chardonnay Anvil opens with aromas of apples, pears with hints of oak and lemon bars. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is softly floral, with a balanced structure and energizing acidity that frames the flavors of lemon yogurt and apple purée across the mid-palate. It ends with a long and thoughtful finish. The wine is a success, and it has me daydreaming of oven-roasted chicken. Only 110 cases were made.
The 2018 Chardonnay French Creek Vineyard Old Wente Block sports a vivid gold color as well as a medium-bodied, balanced, lively style backed up with notes of Meyer lemons, white flowers, and chalky minerality. It has a kiss of background oak and is a balanced, impeccably made Chardonnay. It too should drink nicely for 2-3 years.
2015 ANVIL Cabernet Sauvignon - Coming from the Dionysus vineyard, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Anvil is blended with 11% Petit Verdot and begins with a nose of dark, juicy red and black fruits, with a thoughtful use of oak and notions of baked earth and wilted flowers. Full-bodied, the wine is compact and complex yet shy at the moment. A growing and persistent tannic expression that builds in the mouth over the long, juicy finish. 205 cases produced. I am curious to see the 2016 bottling. I fear the 2015 vintage may have taken its toll on this wine.
2017 ANVIL Minnick Hills Proprietary Blend - Tobacco, damp earth, truffle, and assorted chocolaty black fruits emerge from the 2017 Proprietary Blend Minnick Hills Vineyard, and it’s medium to full-bodied, has a round, silky texture, solid underlying structure, and an exceptional finish. It’s going to benefit from 2-3 years of bottle age and keep for 10-15 years in cold cellars. The blend is 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Malbec, and 16% Merlot, all from a site in Walla Walla, that spent 16 months in 20% new French oak.
"The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon ANVIL Dionysus Vineyard includes 10% Petit Verdot and was brought up in new French oak. Deep purple/plum-colored, with notes of smoked back fruits, sappy herbs, underbrush, and cedar, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a layered, ripe, powerful texture, building tannins, and a great finish. Hide bottles for 3-4 years and enjoy over the following 10-15 years or so."
-Jeb Dunnuck, April 2019
A handy array of fresh peaches and apricots leads to a smoothly juicy palate with a fresh and fleshy edge. The balance is good and some nice tannins smooth the finish out nice and even. 58% Viognier and 42% Roussanne. Drink now. Screw cap.
- James Suckling
2016 Syrah, Boushey Vineyard
Coming from the Boushey Vineyard in Yakima Valley and brought up in 44% new French oak, the 2016 Syrah Anvil Boushey Vineyard reveals a vivid purple color to go with beautiful notes of blueberries, scorched earth, graphite, and ground pepper. With subtle background oak, medium to full body, and ripe tannins, it offers more purity and elegance than the Façon Rouge release, will benefit from 2-3 years of bottle age and drink nicely for 7-8 years. -Jeb Dunnuck
2016 ANVIL Syrah, Boushey Vineyard
The Boushey Vineyard, a highly regarded site for this variety, sits on fractured basalt, silt loam soils and windblown loess, with elevations up to 1400 feet. Aromas of black pepper, crushed lavender and boysenberry are striking. The luxurious, satin mouthfeel; is spiced with cinnamon cherries and ripe plum. Espresso, soy sauce and black pepper continues to energize with high-toned acidity, while licorice coats the tongue on the lengthy finish. - The Tasting Panel