During the Kitsap Wine Festival at Harborside Fountain Park, one of the outstanding wineries was Forgeron Cellars from Walla Walla. We tasted three of their wines that left us wanting to go back for more.
Forgeron’s founding winemaker/managing partner is Marie-Eve Gilla. Born and raised in France, she earned her Diplome National d’Oenologie (Masters) at the University of Dijon. After moving to the US, she worked at Argyle, Covey Run, Hogue and Gordon Brothers.
Forgeron Cellars opened in Walla Walla in 2001 and may be hard to find as their production is 350 cases here and 300 cases there. The wines are diverse, some very French in style and others American. Although based in Walla Walla the winery sources its grapes from vineyards outside the Walla Walla AVA, looking for the perfect growing conditions to support the wines it produces.
The 2012 Ambiance from Columnbia Valley is a blend of 38 percent Viognier, 23 percent Roussanne, 23 percent Marsanne, 16 percent Grenache Blanc. These grapes typically make up a white Rhone. Also of note, there isn’t much Grenach Blanc grown in our state, in fact the word is there’s only one vineyard in Washington with this Rhone varietal.
The wine had a nose of melon and ornage peel with flavors of tropical fruits and a crispness that made it so refreshinng. It was aged in neutral French oak to round it out. It was perfect with Anthony’s mini crab stacks.
The second wine I tasted was the very American grape, Zinfandel. This 2010 Zinfandel is actually a blend of 77 percent Zinfandel from Alder Ridge Vineyards and 23percent Primitivo from the Wahluke Slope.
This full bodied Zin had a nose of blackberries and a wonderful balance of blackberry and mocha with a finished of black pepper. My food pick to match with this was the Minder Meats pulled pork sandwich. Yum!
Forgeron’s 2010 Late Harvest Riesling from Dionysus Vineyard — one of the state’s oldest vineyards — was exquisite. This wine had a nose of sweet apricots, honey and botrytise that went on and on. The flavors were as wonderful as the nose, honeyed apricot and botrytise. Very, very good.