Forgeron Cellars Line-up Review

When I first tried wines from Forgeron a few years ago at a public tasting at Esquin Wine Merchants in Seattle, I knew at the time this was a winery which was on to something good. I can recall how much I especially enjoyed their “Red Table Wine” (now called Walldeaux Smithie Red) and found it to be an exceptional value for around $16 at the time.

Its winemaker, Marie-Eve Gilla, got her eduction at Dijon University in France and brings many of the old-world qualities in her wines. What you’ll find with most of her reds are not wines that’ll have instant appeal to those who are used to new-world fruit bombs. What you typically find are wines which are balanced, focused and tend to be good contenders amongst their peers at each price level.

2006 Chardonnay: W.E.P. Scale Rating: 100%

  • Composition: 98% Chardonnay, 2% Lonesome Springs Orange Muscat
  • Vineyards: Evergreen, Stillwater, Weinbau, Gamache, Den Hoed, Crawford, Underwood, Beckleton
  • Analysis: pH: 3.49
  • Total Acidity: 0.76
  • Alcohol: 14.1%
  • Residual Sugar: <0.2%
  • Bottling Date: May 30, 2007
  • Barrels 100% Burgundian Oak, 1/3 new and 2/3 used
  • Price: $25.00 (750ml)

Smells like: Lemon drop blended with river rock and laced with some toasted vanilla, green apple, wheatgrass and butterfinger bar.

Tastes like: lemon drop honeysuckle, elderberry and grapefruit lightly coated with toasted marshmellows. Very dry on the finish – this is definitely not the new world oak bomb so many folks are (unfortunately) used to. It’s a very refreshing take on Chardonnay and one I’d highly encourage you to seek out and give a whirl. Long butterfinger smashed in with river-rock finish..

2006 Chardonnay Summary: I dig this wine and think it’ll really surprise some folks as to how good Chardonnay can be when it’s not over-oaked. Anyone who’s out there drinking down the Kendall Jackson’s and other California wood-products, needs to try this wine.

Walldeaux Smithie: W.E.P. Scale Rating: 50%

  • Composition: 55% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10.5% Syrah, 7% Zinfandel, 3.5% Cabernet Franc
  • Vineyards: 28% Red Mountain (Klipsun), 33% Walla Walla (Ash Hollow & Pepperbridge), 22% Horse Heaven Hills (Alder Ridge), 17% Yakima Valley (Boushey)
  • Price: $16.00

Smells Like: stong cherry cola component coming through with obvious hints of cherries and blackberries with some shoe-leather to chew on..A new nike shoe smell – that sorta rubbery tennis shoe smell..
I pick up a little bit of cremecicle… forest floor and chocolate…

Tastes Like: This is a wine that would do well to decant for at least an hour – it has super tight tannins if you don’t. Blueberries, chocolate and some Red Man tobacco and black pepper. The finish for me is too short – there are other wines in this price range I’d gravitate towards.

Walldeaux Smithie Summary:
As I mentioned in the tasting notes, there are too many other wines in the $16 price range that simply outclass this wine – a few that come to mind are the Fidelitas m100, Townshend Cellars T3 and the 2005 Chateau Lagaroose. I’ll have to pass on this one for now.

2003 Cabernet Sauvignon: W.E.P. Scale Rating: 100%

  • Composition: 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc
  • Vineyards: Pepperbridge, Klipsun and Alder Ridge Vineyards.
  • Harvest Dates: September 13th – October 10th, 2003
  • Barrels: 80% French, 20% American and Eastern European, 50% New, 50% Used
  • Bottling Date: May 14, 2006
  • Price: $30.00

Smells like: dirty sock, leather and cherries and a hint of darker fruits like black raspberry..

Tastes like: cherries for days mixed with some huckleberry, old glove, vanilla and pomagranite. lots of chocolate and tobacco on the end – nice lingering finish with hints of white pepper.

2003 Cabernet Sauvignon Summary:
Once again, like the Chardonnay, this Cab comes from the old-world school and is not going to cater to everyone – but screw them – this wine is good stuff and needs to be tried by folks who think that the typical fruit-bombs they pound with wreckless abandon are all there is. Give me the old-world dark fruit all day long combined with the killer tannins and layers of multiple flavors.

2003 Merlot: W.E.P. Scale Rating: 60%

  • Composition: 100% Merlot
  • Vineyards: Klipsun, Boushey, Clifton and Alder Ridge Vineyards.
  • Harvest Dates: September 10th – September 27th, 2003
  • Barrels: 35% New French Oak, 41% Used French Oak, 24% New Eastern European & American Oak,
  • Bottling Date: June 1, 2005
  • Price: $27.00

Smells Like: Blackberries, blueberry with plums- hints of tar, tobacco and wilted asparagus. I also picked up some clove nutmeg and some stinky mud.

Taste: Good mouth-feel, a bit spicey – good plum and dark fruit component, but the finish is a bit hot for me.

2003 Merlot Summary:
Here’s a wine that had a great opportunity to make friends with my palate – it served up many of the great components it longs for in a well-made red wine, however, it just simply finished too hot on the back-end which destroyed the pleasure I had from the front to the mid palate. For $27, there are other wines which capture my eye.

2003 Syrah: W.E.P. Scale Rating: 100%

  • Composition: 100% Syrah
  • Vineyards: Les Collines, Boushey, Milbrandt, Stonetree, Den Hoed
  • Harvest Dates: September 19th – October 3th, 2003
  • Barrels: 49% new oak, 51% one and two years old
  • Bottling Date: May 31, 2005
  • Price: $30.00

Smells like: Mud-riddled Cherry cola, tobacco, chocolate, blackberry and pie crust.

Tastes like: This is a rather non-jammyesque syrah which is rather typical of the variety. It has a healthy amount of fruit forward components like blackberries and black cherries etc, but really picks up the cola aspect across the mid-palate for me. The finish lingers very nicely – perhaps longer than other syrah’s I’ve had of late. The finish lingers with a nice, long plum and blueberry component.

2003 Syrah Summary:
This is one of my favorite reds out of the bunch in this round – it really does an exceptional job of capturing the essence of Syrah and brings with it some great mout-feel, good old-world flavors balanced with the fruit so many folks love as well.

2005 Zinfandel: W.E.P. Scale Rating: 50%

  • Composition: 100% Zinfandel
  • Vineyards: Alder Ridge, Clifton and Les Collines Vineyards.
  • Harvest Dates: September 15th – October 6th, 2005
  • Barrels:90% American oak, 10% French
  • Bottling Date: May 30, 2007
  • Price: $30.00

Smells like: Tobasco, celery stock, asparagus, vanilla, sour cherries with some blackberry and Fennel bulb.

Taste: Explosive tobasco-laden black-cherry jam – excellent on the mid-palalate with a finish that lingers just okay but tapers off way to quickly for a wine of this price.

2005 Zinfandel Summary:
Here’s a wine which is priced in an area where is poised to compete against the likes of the Maryhill Reserve Zin, Montevina Terra Doro and other great Zinfandels (primarily from California) but doesn’t hold up. There are far too many Zins in this price-range which have a better finish and more jammy mouth-feel (which I appreciate in my Zins).

Conclusion:
Okay, so we did a 50/50 split here but that’s about what I expected – can’t win em’ all but the wines here that won me over are ones you all should seek out and try.

All in all this overall round-up of Forgeron wines helped cement the idea to me that it’s a winery which folks really need to pay more attention to. It’s obvious that Marie-Eve’s passion for the old-world carries a major influence in the varrying styles of wines she produces. I really appreciate how they hold their wines and don’t quickly release them before their ready. To be drinking 2003 reds in 2008 is great and I only wish more wineries would envoke this practice of holding wines.

  • http://www.hellamsvineyard.com LaConnerWineGuy

    Vive la France!