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Featured Reviews

Forager North Canterbury Pinot Noir 2017

05 November,2018

Dominic Maxwell, winemaker at Greystone and Muddy Water, has been pursuing his own path with his ‘Forager’ label with Pinot Noir. It’s not too different to that taken by his work especially at Greystone, probably better described as ‘parallel’, though, he can push the envelope further with the technique of indigenous yeast vineyard fermentation with his own brand. Dom’s first release of the Forager Pinot Noir was with the 2012 vintage, using Greystone Vineyard fruit, which was followed by a beautifully rich and complex 2013. Only one barrel each of the 2014 and 2015 vintages were made. The 2016 was another step further in the development of Forager, this employing fruit from the ‘Blacks Ave’ vineyard rather than Greystone (click here to see my review). It was instructive to compare this wine with the 2016 Greystone ‘Vineyard Ferment’ wine, his wine seemingly more robust and the latter wine more ethereal to me.

The 2017 Forager Pinot Noir is Dom’s sixth release, and this time he has used fruit from a different site again – the ‘Isolated Hill’ vineyard on Amuri Limestone Quarry Hill in the Waiau district tended by the Black family. The vineyard is 40 km inland and is at 210 m altitude. The particularly interesting facet here is the high limestone content in the soil. The 2017 growing season shows its influence too, fine to begin with but wet at the end, resulting in low cropping, around 4 tonnes/ha. With the vineyard ferment, the temperature fluctuations, prolonged maceration and cooler-than-winery soaking temperatures came into play. I review the wine here. I see the wine with an array of detail, but with an elegant vintage expression. It has complexity.


Forager North Canterbury Pinot Noir 2017

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Canterbury & Waipara


Moderately dark ruby-red colour with some depth, lighter on the rim with purple hues. The nose is gently full and voluminous with an array of fragrant and savoury dark-red cherry and berry fruits along with an amalgam of dark herbs and dark-red florals and subtle earthy suggestions. The aromatics form an elegant, taut core with intensity and penetration, showing finesse. Medium-full bodied, the palate is elegantly proportioned with a heart of sweet and lush dark-red cherry and berry fruit, the flavours a little restrained in expression. The wine flows smoothly with supple, fine-grained tannin extraction in support. The acidity is soft, but lends cut and poise. The flavours grow in richness, unfolding savoury herb and earthy detail as it carries to a lingering finish. This is an elegant and refined Pinot Noir with subtle sweet and savoury red cherry and berry fruit with complexing herb and earthy detail on a supple, poised palate. Serve with wild duck and pork over the next 5 years. Pinot Noir fruit from the ‘Isolated Hill’ vineyard, Waiau, fully destemmed with no whole cluster, indigenous yeast vineyard fermented to 13.8% alc., the wine spending 26 days on skins and aged 15 months in one-third each 1 y.o., 2 y.o. and 3 y.o, French oak. 220 cases made. 18.5+/20 Nov 2018 RRP $55.00

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