The ebullient John Forrest is always pushing the boundaries with his wine styles and range. A quick visit to Forrest Estate and a preview of some of his 2011 wines, unfinished at this stage, showed how he is expanding the envelope. His wines always interesting and at the forefront of the industry.
John has had commercial and show success with all styles of Riesling, arguably the variety he is most passionate about. His ‘Doctors’ label, the Mosel Kabinett lookalike, and decadent botrytised expression are at the top of the game at present, and John now wishes to re-make his mark in the medium category. A taste of what could be a John Forrest ‘Collection’ Riesling 2011 hints at the quality of fruit he has, this with real fruit weight, brooding and taut, with much potential. However, much easier to appreciate was a Waitaki Valley Pinot Gris 2011, continuing the theme of minerality and flavour precision that this limestone-soiled region provides in its wines. John is excited about the Italian variety of Arneis, which shows a combination of nuttiness and rich stonefruits, with weight and excellent line through the palate, as demonstrated by a tank sample of Marlborough Arneis 2011. I think this year’s release may be better than the previous.
The Marlborough Gruner Veltliner 2011 is less exuberant and aromatic than the 2010, but has the same textural quality and subtle peppery herbaceousness, and is a good follow-on to the inaugural release. My pick of the brief preview taste was a Marlborough Saint Laurent 2011, dark coloured, and packed with boysenberry flavours, underlined by racy acidity. Forrest will be the third winery commercially releasing this Austrian red variety in New Zealand, after Judge Rock in Central Otago, and Spade Oak’s ‘Heart of Gold’ wine from Gisborne. While not first with these Austrian varietals, John is certainly in the leading group making them here!
I can’t wait to see the wines when they have been bottled.