Our intent with Classique is to harmonize all of the snapshots of terroir provided by the lieux-dits, to create a balanced representation of the small (eight miles) yet complex region that we work in, to communicate the idiosyncrasies of the vintage, and to create a tactile narrative of place.
Sunrise is the most gracious host, approachable and welcoming, a friend that you can count on to liven up any occasion. This is one of our longest-lived lieux-dits, as its debut came in the 2014 vintage. It is a wine that consistently appeals with its openness, fruit-driven character, and ability to unite everyone at the table. The magic of Sunrise is that it can transcend preferences with its density, ripeness, and Sancerre-like minerality.
I’m often asked if I wish I owned all of the sites we work with. To put it simply, no. Our work at Forge is rooted in partnership—the partnership of myself and Louis, uniting the Old and New World, and the relationships with all of our growers. It is a privilege to work alongside and learn from multigenerational farmers like John Wagner. While the region is still young in the world of wine, there is much to be gleaned by those who have spent decades working with the land. 2019 marks the second single vineyard bottling of Wagner Caywood East. We can always count on this site to deliver mineral-laden wines thanks in part to the abundance of shale on this steep, high elevation site. - RR
Our 2019 vintage marks the third single vineyard bottling of Breakneck Creek. It has become known and loved for the salinity and freshness that one finds along the seashore. Is it too early to call this bottling “iconic?” There are certain vineyards that are unmistakable in the bottle, vintage after vintage. The drama of the site is clearly magnified in the glass. This is Breakneck.
The Freese Vineyard is essentially a northern extension of Breakneck. We can think of these two sites as siblings, their composition is similar (comparable soils, same grape) but the way they carry themselves (the fruit, the flavors, the aromas) show total individualism. Freese is prudent and precise, offering ripeness and restraint, while Breakneck carries intensity and drama.
2019 marks our third year working with this vineyard, located just down the hill from our home farm. We have been impressed by the potential of this site, and 2019 further confirmed our understanding that a well-managed site, even in cooler vintages, can over-deliver. Fermented exclusively in demi-muids, this wine has the signature razor-like precision of Riesling with the texture and layers of long fermentations.
I love this wine because of its slow fermentation in old, large format wood—basically how Riesling was made for centuries, and it’s as close as we can get to its winemaking history. - Julia, Cellar Master
Follow the early 1900s railroad bed from the Lehigh Valley Railroad and you’ll find yourself meandering through our Railroad Vineyard. These mature vines have given us a perfect example of freshness that is not solely based on acidity. When we discuss the spirit and style of Railroad Riesling, it’s the pronounced mint and herbal qualities that give it such zest and vibrancy. This site also exemplifies the drastic differences among soil composition within extremely short distances. Loam and shale dominate the landscape here while just 0.4 miles north sits Willow on predominately sandy soils. Try these two wines side by side for a sensory exploration in geology.
What happens when you ask a rural farmer for directions? Chances are that you’ll be given natural landmarks to follow rather than street names or coordinates. We were introduced to this site several years ago by traveling “northwest to the willow tree” among a sea of vines and dirt roads.
We have come to find more exotic expressions of Riesling from vines planted closer to the lake. This site, planted 0.4 miles from Seneca Lake is the perfect example. The warmth associated with the proximity to the water produces a distinct ripeness that we find in the flavors and aromatics of Willow.
Caywood Vineyard is a living, breathing museum. This collection of vines was planted without clonal selection in the early 1970s by Charles Fournier. It’s a site founded in history and ingenuity at a time when the Finger Lakes was beginning to realize the promise and capabilities of grape-growing in the region. The expression of Caywood Riesling is constantly evolving, yet the wine continues to retain a signature profile dominated by herbs and spices rather than fruit.
We think of Les Alliés as a wine that reveals itself to us over the course of the long winter. During this period, certain barrels may "sing" for a few days then fade for some time before coming back to life in the spring. Other barrels from other sites may never stand up and shout, but consistently charm with a balance of fruit, mineral, and savor. This is the story of the 2019 Les Alliés, a blend of barrels from sites that we could always turn to to bring joy. - Julia, Cellar Master