Many of you are probably familiar with our absolute love for the wines of the United States of America. From the west to the east coast, we love them, we share them, and we sell them. In the years to come we hope to expand our range even further with more wines from more producers to really showcase the breadth of excellence in the most exciting new-world wine-producing country.
For now, we wanted to highlight the extraordinary story of Forge Cellars.
Forge Cellars is the child of three fantastic men. Louis Barroul is at the forefront and the leading winemaker – he is of French fame for his family estate: Chateau Saint Cosme from Gigondas. This estate is often atop of Robert Parkers Top 100 Winery list and they produce some of the best wines in the south of France – no question! He has brought his avid skills to one of the most dynamic regions in the world: the Finger Lakes of upstate New York. With him is Richard Rainey and Justin Boyette, the crazy Americans with a dream who help with winemaking, vineyard management and all the sales/marketing in the USA.
Their first vintage was not that long ago in 2010. The very first was tiny and, in all honesty, hasn’t grown that greatly over the last 7 years. Over the last couple of years massive developments have been undertaken with a brand new winery and tasting room completely devoted to all things Forge. I remember going to visit them in 2015, for the first time, and they weren’t on show at all. It was a fairly industrial looking shed of a building that was also home to Hector Wine Company – the former winery set up by Rainey and Boyette. It was a nice space but Forge wines weren’t to be seen. If I hadn’t been tipped off by a good friend that they even existed and that this building was the place to go, I’d have never found them.
From the greeting handshake from Richard I was hooked in to all things Forge. Justin, on the phone, caught up with us after tasting the 3rd, and current, vintage of their Classique Riesling. I was blown away by the power, complexity and age-worthiness that these Rieslings had. For a project so new, this already had the scientific brilliance and winemaking prowess that you’d expect from a winery coming in to its silver anniversary. We hadn’t even tasted the Pinot Noir and I was already hounding them about securing a lot for NZ.
Aside from the truly excellent wines that these guys were producing what truly struck me was their vision for the Finger Lakes and specifically Forge Cellars. You’d be unaware but most people in the Finger Lakes don’t own vineyards but rather buy in grapes. There are a range of single vineyards that have gained a bit of a reputation over the last decade or two. Rainey and Boyette have managed to get grapes from many of these all on the eastern side of Seneca Lake (the main lake in the Finger Lakes region). Rick described this as the yankee version of the Cote d’Or – and that mindset is what set my love for these guys in concrete. Rick passionately lamented about how he wants to transform the Finger Lakes into a region akin to Burgundy with a range of top single vineyards showing off the grapes proven to shine in the region – namely Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Noir. I loved the idea and still do.
For my first order of New York wines last year I missed out on any of the Rieslings but snatched up some of the Les Allies Pinot Noir – which quickly sold out. I am happy to now be able to offer some more fantastic wines from these guys including two of their 100% single vineyard Rieslings: Sawmill Creek and Leidenfrost.
The difference in expressions of these Rieslings is crazy and exciting all at once. You won’t be surprised to hear that these are extremely limited – as I only managed to get a couple of cases of each due to their rarity and USA demand for them. So if you want to be one of the lucky few in the world to get your hands on one – get in now!