My Favorite Washington Reds in 18 Years

With this offer, I am putting all my cards on the table. All my chips are in.

I saw this day coming—back in August, during a string of tastings in Walla Walla, I had that kid-in-the-candy-store giddy feeling that I’ve had at the best moments of my wine career over nearly 18 years. I was tasting Force Majeure 2019s months before release; an idea was growing.

To prepare for today, the wines compelled me to drive back to Walla Walla. I had to taste the full 2019 lineup with winemaker Todd Alexander. I brought the bottles home with me and continued to savor them for five days, watching them evolve and expand, and never wanting them to end. I needed to know, to be 100%.

I am 100% so here goes: Force Majeure's 2019s are my favorite lineup of Washington red wines since September 2004 when I started at Avalon. I think that makes them the best, too.

Last fall when we launched Force Majeure's Parabellum 2019s I advised you to make space and allocate funds for the Force Majeure 2019 "big boys." That day is here.

This is what wine-growing and wine-making mastery tastes like. No one in the Northwest is making better bold red wines than Force Majeure's Todd Alexander and I am even more convinced of that with his 2019 Cabernet, Epinette, Syrah, and Parvata release. Where Todd's 2019s separate from the pack: intensity and elegance matching each other note for note.

Read my notes below and choose which appeal to you most. I am 100% in and I advise you, I encourage you to support this level of greatness.

$139.95 in any 12 bottle or Build a Case order ($154.95 regular)

Us: Based on what I've tasted over the last two years, the best Washington Cabernet Sauvignon available. To put a much finer point to it, or right about one hundred points, this is a perfect Washington Cabernet. If I gave scores that is exactly what I'd give it. I love everything about it—resounding dark-fruited intensity, a smorgasbord of Cabernet highlights from graphite to purple flowers, tobacco to mocha. And then there's the way it exists in complimentary realms, showing incredible depth and power paralleled by striking poise and balance. 

We are witnessing a master at work. It's incumbent on those of us who love Cabernet to revel in Todd's mastery and to support it by adding this wine to our collections.

$89.95 in any 12 bottle or Build a Case order ($99.95 regular)

This jaw-dropping red blend is a contender for Force Majeure's wine of the vintage because it perfectly sums up Todd's 2019s: intensity and elegance matching each other note for note. Yes, you read that correctly—this is as impressive as the Cabernet, just with a different profile and feel. Epinette is about dynamics and spectrum, reaching for red fruits and diving deep for black fruits. It's a perfect shot of espresso, a shaving of truffles, the epitome of Red Mountain terroir, all woven together into a red wine that is actually deserving of the word "awesome."

$84.95 in any 12 bottle or Build a Case order ($94.95 regular)

What you need to know about the 2019 Red Mountain Estate Syrah: Todd has been excited about this wine way before it was in a bottle. It is his favorite vintage for Syrah and we know what has come before it—Syrahs of legend, stars of any class. The elegance of 2019 tames what can be a muscular macho-man, showing equal helpings of plushness and purity to go with Red Mountain's power. It manages to have explosiveness and finesse, full-bodied beautiful blue and black fruits, Syrah character and intrigue for days.

$69.95 in any 12 bottle or Build a Case order ($76.95 regular)

For all of the entirely deserving superlatives I can lavish on the 2019 Force Majeure wines, Parvata comes with its own extra-special designation: if I were picking one of the '19s to drink now, this would absolutely be it. So gorgeous, so pleasureful. A rainbow of super-silky red, blue, and black fruits shines from horizon to horizon, intermingled with beguiling spice, grilled herb, and mineral accents. The broken record entitled "My Washington Favorites" might scratch again—my favorite Rhone-style blend from Washington. Easy.

The Parabellum pair comes from the same Red Mountain and Walla Walla estate vineyards that produce Force Majeure’s namesake Cabernet, Syrah, and blends. They are exceptional values.

$43.95 in any 12 bottle or Build a Case order ($47.95 regular)

Whether you think of this as a Syrah (it's 76%) or a Syrah-based blend, just think of it as a gorgeous bottle of wine that you're nuts not to check out. What struck me most was the seamless, melty texture and feel which carry you from deep black fruits to savory Syrah accents, from power and depth to brightness and elegance, all with ease.

$54.95 in any 12 bottle or Build a Case order ($59.95 regular)

The best vintage of Alluvio yet and the most universally appealing, the blend works so harmoniously to marry rich Cabernet black fruits with velvety Merlot red fruits. Like the Coulee, the texture is mind-melting and creamy—it would be enough if it stopped there but no, give me tobacco, warm earth, and graphite accents and you've made me an even bigger fan.