2014 Force Majeure, Parabellum Bordeaux-Varietal Blend, $55
Winery info: Todd Alexander, formerly winemaker at Napa’s highly-acclaimed Bryant Family Vineyard, now crafts wines for Force Majeure, an ultra-premium winery in Woodinville specializing in estate-grown, single-vineyard Bordeaux- and Rhône-inspired wines. Parabellum is Force Majeure’s “second wine,” produced from younger blocks of their estate vineyard.
Winemaker: Todd Alexander
Grapes: 42% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Cabernet Franc
Vineyard sources: Force Majeure’s estate vineyard on the steep upper slopes of Red Mountain. The site is divided into many small “micro-blocks,” to maximize the potential of the unique terroir. Managed by the legendary, Dick Boushey.
Flavor profile: We agree with the review in the Wine Advocate, which noted that this wine is “much closer to the quality of the Estate Cabernet than the price would seem.” It is layered, complex, and elegant and shows the phenomenal potential of the fruit from this unique vineyard site in the hands of an extremely talented winemaker.
Production/Availability: About 300 cases. In somewhat limited supply.
Drinkability: Todd blends the Parabellum wines to be enjoyed a little younger. Drink now or over the next decade.
Food Pairing: Their suggestion: Herbes de Provence-encrusted rack of lamb.
2013 Baer Winery, Ursa, $43
Winery info: Founded by Lance Baer in 2000. His production grew steadily, and he gained much respect for his well-crafted wines. Sadly, in May of 2007 he passed away at the age of 39. Today, Erika Orr continues to produce the wines he created and to slowly and carefully expand the line-up.
Winemaker: Erika Orr
Grapes: 42% Merlot, 42% Cabernet Franc, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2% Petit Verdot
Vineyard source: 100% Stillwater Creek Vineyard, on the Royal Slope of the Frenchman Hills in the Columbia Valley AVA. It is known for producing smooth, elegant wines.
Flavor profile: This is Bear’s flagship wine, first produced in 2000. It is medium bodied and smooth, with warm, dark fruit flavors and hints of peppercorns and dark chocolate.
Production/Availability: 1293 cases. It should be in good supply for a while.
Drinkability: It is drinking beautifully now, but should develop even further over the next three to four years.
Food Pairing: Grilled meat dishes