Saturday, January 30, 2010

Forgeron Cellars at Wildhorse

Sometimes, I swear, the stars just come into alignment between this column, the wine world, and the great world of Eastern Oregon. When those stars come into line, I actually get to write about something that will give you an opportunity to taste what I write about within just a few days of reading my ever so eloquent words.

Last week I ran into my old friend Patty Wolk, the Marketing Director for Forgeron Cellars. She mentioned to me that she would be pouring wines as the Winery of the Month at Wildhorse Resort’s Plateau Restaurant on February 3rd.

As many of you may already know, the wonderful culinary staff at Wildhorse each month pick a different winery to feature. They carefully prepare a special menu that showcases the wines from that particular winery. Then, they also prepare a special evening in the beginning of that month to hold a “party” in which they bring winery staff in to pour wines along with some specially prepared dishes for the evening. This is a great monthly event, and at $15 per person for wine and food, a deal that really can’t be beat.

Forgeron Cellars is a Walla Walla winery that has held multiple acclaims for the last several years. I have had the pleasure of enjoying their wines many times over those years, and one thing always holds true…their wines are beautifully elegant and easy to drink.

Celebrated winemaker, Marie Eve Gilla, is a rarity in this region. Her training isn’t local, or even from California. She is a graduate of Dijon, and studied in Burgundy for many years before coming to America to research winemaking. Her intention was not to stay, but remain in this region is just what has happened. Marie Eve and her husband Gilles, famed winemaker at Longshadows, fell in love with the people and the grape growing climate, and have made it their permanent home.

I recently tasted the wines to be featured on February 3rd at the Plateau, and thought I’d share my tasting notes with you.

Chardonnay is Marie Eve’s flagship wine. She is truly a virtuoso with this grape. The 2007 is what I believe to be one of her best ever. The grapes are sourced from throughout the best vineyards throughout Eastern Washington. The wine has aromas of apples and tree fresh peaches. The flavors match the aroma up front, becoming creamy, and then followed with a crisp finish.

Walldeaux Smithie is Forgeron’s idea of a fun “everyday” red blend. But, don’t let the cute label and name fool you. The juice is sourced from some of the most respected vineyards in the United States: Alder Ridge, Pepperbridge, Klipsun, and Boushey. Marie carefully blends different vintage sources and years to come up with the juicy flavors that she wants to showcase in this blend. Aromas and flavors of blueberry, blackberry, and vanilla to open, with a nicely rounded finish of peppercorn and silky tannins make this one of my favorite everyday wines.

Zinfandel is another of Marie Eve’s strong suits. The 2005 is a dark plum color in the glass, with aromas of licorice, blackberries, and white pepper. The flavors are a mixture of dark cherries and blueberries. A long finish makes this a great wine to pair with bison, ribs, or wild game.

I hope you can make it out to the Plateau on the 3rd to taste these wines and the pairings by the Wildhorse chefs. Tell them I sent you!


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