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Featured Reviews

John Forrest ‘Collection’ Chardonnay 2013-2011, Pinot Noir 2014 and 2013, and Syrah 2014

30 August,2018

Growing wine since the late 1980s, John and Brigid Forrest are among the most experienced producers in Marlborough and indeed New Zealand. John’s scientific training and outlook have enabled him to make very successful wines from fruit from their home base in Marlborough, and from Hawke’s Bay, the Waitaki Valley and Central Otago where they have vineyards. Over the years, John has identified how different varieties perform best in different regions and sub-regions, and this led to the creation of the Forrest’s flagship tier, the John Forrest ‘Collection’, which are the bottlings of the best matched varieties to the best vineyards, in exceptional vintages. The first releases were the 2004s, and they have amply demonstrated the highest quality and best style interpretations by John for the varieties and the regions. The quantity is limited, with each release across the wines totalling around 2,000 cases. Here, I review a selection of John Forrest ‘Collection’ wines, Chardonnays 2013-2011, Pinot Noir 2014 and 2013, and Syrah 2014.


John Forrest ‘Collection’ Wairau Valley Marlborough Chardonnay 2013

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Marlborough


Bright, lemon-hued, light golden colour, lighter on the rim. The nose is well-concentrated with firmly packed aromas of fresh and savoury citrus and yellow stonefruits melded with nutty oak, along with subtle creamy barrel-ferment elements and buttery MLF. Some toasty and flinty complexities unfold with aeration. Medium-full bodied, the palate is fine and firmly concentrated with tightly bound flavours of citrus and yellow stonefruits complexed by a layer of creamy barrel-ferment and nutty oak, unfolding flint and toast elements with butterscotch MLF. The flavours are rich and vibrant and are enlivened by fresh, lacy acidity. This has excellent linearity with very fine phenolic textures. The flavours carry to a very long, lingering finish. This is a fine and tightly bound, complex layered Chardonnay with citrus and stonefruit, nutty oak and barrel-ferment and MLF flavours on a fresh palate. Match with grilled seafood, poultry and pork dishes over the next 4-5+ years. Clones 95, 15 and Mendoza, vines 14 y.o., fully barrel-fermented to 12.5% alc., the wine aged 10 months in 35% new oak, undergoing batonnage and 50% MLF. 19.0+/20 Aug 2018 RRP $45.00

John Forrest ‘Collection’ Wairau Valley Marlborough Chardonnay 2012

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Marlborough


Full, deep, golden-yellow colour, a little lighter on the edge. The bouquet is softly full and voluminous with harmoniously integrated aromas of citrus fruits and subtle notes of tropical fruit, along with nutty and toasty oak, and an amalgam of creamy barrel-ferment and buttery MLF elements. Medium-full bodied, the palate is richly mouthfilling with broad and succulent flavours of citrus fruit and tropical fruit integrated with creamy barrel-ferment, and nutty, toasty oak. The mouthfeel is smooth and plush, and flows along a fine-textured line with lacy acidity providing energy. The wine carries to a fulsome, sustained finish. This is a rich, succulent, mouthfilling Chardonnay with ripe citrus and stonefruit flavours integrated with oak and MLF notes. It has come together extremely well. Serve with roast pork over the next 4 years. Clones 95, 15 and Mendoza, vines 13 y.o., fully barrel-fermented to 13.8% alc., the wine aged 10 months in 35% new oak, undergoing batonnage and 50% MLF. 19.0-/20 Aug 2018 RRP $45.00

John Forrest ‘Collection’ Wairau Valley Marlborough Chardonnay 2011

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Marlborough


Bright, even, golden-hued yellow colour with lemon-green tints, lighter edged. The bouquet is elegantly presented and taut in expression with intense aromas of white and yellow stonefruits, layered with toasty and nutty oak. A little savoury secondary mineral nuance unfolds, but citrus fruits unfold to prevail. Some butterscotch MLF adds detail. Medium-full bodied, the palate has an elegantly proportioned, but well-concentrated core of tightly bound stonefruits complexed by harmoniously integrated nutty and toasty oak, with savoury minerals and buttery MLF. The rich palate has good linearity and flows positively along a soft line with integrated acidity, leading to a long finish. This is an elegantly concentrated, complex layered Chardonnay with the beginnings of secondary complexities on an integrated creamy palate. Match with creamy seafood, poultry and pork dishes over the next 4 years. Clones 95, 15 and Mendoza, vines 12 y.o., fully barrel-fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 10 months in 35% new oak, undergoing batonnage and 50% MLF. 18.5+/20 Aug 2018 RRP $45.00

John Forrest ‘Collection’ Bannockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2014

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Otago


Dark, deep, black-hued red colour with slight garnet hues, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is gently full with deep and well-concentrated aromas of ripe, dark-red and black-berried fruits, harmoniously interwoven with dark herbs and hints of liquorice, plums and spices. This is rich and plush in expression. Medium-full bodied, the palate is plush with sweet and juicy flavours of dark-red berry fruit and subtle complexing notes of savoury dark plums, with nuances of dark herbs, liquorice, unfolding a little spice. The fruit is enlivened by fresh, lacy acidity and underlined by fine-grained tannin extraction, lending a refined line and mouthfeel. This has a concentrated heart that carries to a lingering finish of dark-red berries, plums, liquorice and earthy hints. This is a rich and juicy, plush Pinot Noir with dark berry and plum flavours, fresh acidity and fine structure. Match with coq au vin and casseroles over the next 5-6 years. Predominantly clone 5 with some 667 and 777, indigenous yeast fermented with 10% whole bunches to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 15 months in 30% new oak. 18.5+/20 Aug 2018 RRP $65.00

John Forrest ‘Collection’ Waitaki Valley North Otago Pinot Noir 2013

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Otago


Even, garnet-hued red colour with some depth, lighter on the rim with slight bricking. The nose is tight and firm and quite elegant in proportion , with penetrating aromas of black cherries and savoury dark-red berry fruit entwined with dark herbs, a little whole bunch stalk, along with savoury spices, liquorice and secondary earthy complexities. This is a little funky and edgy. Medium-full bodied, the palate is elegantly concentrated and taut with intense and deep flavours of dark-red and black cherry fruit melded with dark herbs, hints of spice and a little savoury undergrowth. The palate has excellent drive and linearity, with fine-grained tannon structure and fresh acidity. The concentrated core carries with plenty of tension and energy to a finish of black fruits and minerals. This is a taut and concentrate Pinot Noir with intense flavours of black cherry fruit with subtle secondary herb, earth and funky mineral flavours on a fine and fresh palate. Match with wild duck and pork over the next 6+ years. Mixed Dijon clones, vines 10 y.o., indigenous yeast fermented with 15% whole bunches to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 15 months in 25% new oak. 18.5/20 Aug 2018 RRP $65.00

John Forrest ‘Collection’ Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2014

Syrah from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay


Very full, near impenetrable black-hued red, a little lighter on the edge. The nose is elegant in proportion but packed and concentrated with deep and dense aromas of ripe blackberry fruit, black plums and soft notes of dark raspberries, along with liquorice and spice, unfolding violet florals and iron-earth complexities. Full-bodied, the palate is rich and succulent with deep and concentrated exotic flavours of ripe blackberry fruit with boysenberries and dark raspberries, plums and spices. The fruit has excellent intensity and is balanced by considerable fine-grained, flowery tannin extraction with soft, integrated acidity. Flavours of spice, liquorice pepper and iron-earth unfold with violet florals, and carry to a long and sustained, textural finish. This is a very rich, ripe Syrah with black fruits, liquorices, spices, florals and iron-earth on a very well-structured palate. Serve with roast game meats and semi-hard cheeses over the next 8-10+ years. Fruit from the ‘Cornerstone’ vineyard, fully destemmed and indigenous yeast fermented to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 20 months in 40% new oak. 19.0+/20 Aug 2018 RRP $80.00

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