Friday, August 28, 2015

Forgeron - A Tasting and a Tour!

Well, I'm back home from vacation, and since its so hard to do blog posts and drive, I'll have just a few more posts to write about my wonderful vacation tasting wines in Walla Walla!  Tonight I've decided to do a review of my experience at Forgeron Cellars, a winery located in a former blacksmith shop in Walla Walla at the corner of Third and Birch Streets.  I first discovered Forgeron on a road trip to Walla Walla back in 2012 and I've been a fan ever since!

This is where the action starts, this week this area was probably humming with activity.
The destemmer is on the right, while the wine press is on the left under the roof.

Jessica was kind enough to do the tour for me, which is apparently offered in Walla Walla at 1:00 pm each Saturday, so next time you are there call ahead and ask to be part of the tour!  We talked quite a bit about harvest (just about everyone was talking about it), which was exceedingly early this year with many vineyards beginning to harvest this week!  Jessica showed me where the grapes come in, the destemmer, press, and then the giant stainless steel tanks where the wine is fermented and ready to be barreled.

This is the destemmer which removes stems and other debris before the grapes are crushed.

The giant stainless steel tanks where the wine is fermented.
Once in the barrel, the wines are separated as the white wines are cold fermented at about 10 degrees cooler than the red.  Each barrel contains about 25 cases of wine and Forgeron makes approximately 7,000 cases per year.  Most of their barrels are French oak with a minority of American oak, but like most wineries, they also utilize a number of neutral barrels in part of the aging process.  Chardonnay, for which Marie-Eve Gilla is most widely known, is aged in barrel for approximately eight months, Syrah and Zinfandel are aged about 14 months and Cabernet and Merlot are aged 16 months.

This is the barrel room for the white wines, if I recall correctly.
Each barrel is coded and labeled with its contents.

Now to the wines we tasted!  I started with the 2012 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, which I had a glass to nurse on the tour.  It was a classic, smooth and very dry Cabernet with lots of dark ripe fruit and spice.  This particular vintage has about 10% Petit Verdot, which adds a bit of complexity to the wine.  Then we tasted the 2012 Zinfandel from the Alder Ridge Vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills.  This was a classic Zin, with lots of ripe berry fruit and some lovely floral notes that make this a wonderful, food friendly wine, ideal for pizza night!

The tasting room, located at the front of the winery building.  My tour guide, Jessica is on the right.

The final wine we tasted was the 2012 Facon Rouge, a classic Rhone GSM blend that I reviewed back in June (see the review here: 2012 Facon Rouge).  I really enjoyed it then, and at the tasting I still enjoyed it and learned a bit more about it.  Jessica informed me that this is one of their only wines that use whole cluster fermentation, where everything, grapes, stems and all are fermented, providing for some much more intense earthy notes.  So that was my tasting and tour, I also was lucky enough to pick up a few bottles of the Zinfandel and 2014 Rose of Sangiovese which will be the topics of future posts.  Cheers!

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