What’s in the glass tonight April 30th – The John Forrest Collection

Forrest tasting 2016

I hooned down to RW to check out the JF Collection, mostly for the promise of tasting the Syrah.

However, I was blown away by the quality of all the other wines on offer at this instore tasting. The good Doctor was in attendance, and he shared some interesting stories from his many years in the wine-making game. One story was that he was offered first pick of the very first parcel of land in what was to become the Gimblett Gravels in Hawkes Bay, land that he still farms today…

I started off with the John Forrest Collection The White 2009 – A multi varietal white blend. Dr John didn’t divulge what grape varieties were in it, alas.  It was aromatic, elegant, with good fruit concentration, complexity and acidity.  Citrus, golden stonefruit. Dry with minerality. Very intriguing.  90 points

I also tried the John Forrest Collection Cabernet Sauvignon Hawkes Bay 2013 –  A bold textured bouquet, layered, gorgeous. Ripe with great blackberry fruit flavours, fine tannins, heaps of depth and purity. A stunningly good Bordeaux-style red. 93 points

The came the John Forrest Collection Pinot Noir Bannockburn 2012 – Floral and herbaceous, dense, ripe and fine. 90 points

Forrest Collection Chardonnay 2011

I bought a bottle of this for dinner – John Forrest Collection Chardonnay Wairau Valley 2011 – Pale straw, 13%. Minerals, soft and refined with citrus and golden fruits. Mealy notes on palate also, and cucumber. 90 points

Forrest Collection Pinot Noir 2011

I bought a bottle of this for another dinner – John Forrest Collection Pinot Noir Waitaki Valley 2011 – I liked the florality and expression a lot more than the Bannockburn. This vineyard is one of the Doctor’s passion projects, and it shows. Dark carmine, tending brick. 13.5%. Black cherries, soap, lightly oaked on nose. Light fruit, soft tannins, a herbal lift. Plum to taste, blackberries, a chalky finish. Complex and very rewarding. 95 points

Photo Credit: the top photo featuring Dr Forrest and guests – courtesy Regional Wines and Spirits website


What’s in the glass tonight April 27th

Felton Road Chardonnay Bannockburn 2010

From the Cellar: Felton Road Chardonnay Bannockburn Central Otago 2010 – $$$

I have thought for a while now that Chardonnay grapes grown in Central Otago, due to the cooler climate down there, are well-suited for producing Chablis-like wines – wines with a more minerally, austere character, rather than the more fruit-drive ripe versions grown further north in the Hawkes Bay.

Unfortunately Chardonnay production levels from this region are low (blame the fashion for Central Otago Pinot Noir), and are correspondingly expensive so I don’t get to drink much Central Chardonnays to test this hypothesis. Here is a small chance to put this right:

This is a regional blend from three Felton Road vineyards in Bannockburn Central Otago. Brilliant pale gold colour. 14% alc.

Compressed fruit nose. Nutty and elegant.

Linear and somewhat austere flavours. Lacking a bit of zing and vivacity. Grapefruit and white peach. Dry minerals. A bitter finish. This wine is as good a candidate for a Chablis descriptor as you could get around here. I would have liked a bit more steel, if a full flavour was not on offer.

BTG 3+

What’s in the glass tonight February 17th

Carrick Excelsior PN 2007

Carrick Excelsior Pinot Noir Bannockburn Central Otago 2007 – $$$+

A great wine is built around the way it smells. And this wine is something special. Bought by a client at a business dinner. The restaurant had just taken a delivery of a few cases and the wine hadn’t even made the official wine list.

Carrick makes this flagship Pinot Noir from grapes harvested in their Bannockburn vineyard.

It’s a super-dense Pinot Noir with core of black cherries enveloped in spice. Lots and lots of vanilla. Rich and powerful. There are florals evident, but this delicacy has been brutally shouldered aside by broader, bolder aromatic characters.

Plums, dark chocolate, black cherry and baking spices in the mouth. Perfect ripeness. No vegetal or metallic characters. The wine has a rich velvety texture that is totally involving. Tannins are firm. Length is out through the door into the car park. It improves on standing in the glass too.

What a way to bring up my 300th post !!

Outstanding 5

Straight to the Pool Room – March 2014

Pool Room March 2014

We received some cracking gifts of wine at our housewarming. Thanks friends!

I also bought a couple of trophy winners:

Palliser Estate Martinborough Pinot Noir 1993 – gift from MH – drink now. Looking forward to this!

Elephant Hill Hawkes Bay Syrah 2012 – gift from K&D – drink 2015-2017. This scored 94 in Gourmet Traveller Wine Magazine. Having tried it last year, I agree completely

Carrick Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2011 – gift from M&G – drink 2015. I tried the second label Unravelled last year and enjoyed it, so looking forward to this too.

Mudhouse Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012 – $$ – drink 2015-2016. An Air NZ gold medal winner and Champion Commercial Red Trophy wine. Worth a swig.

BTW, in the house renovation the lurvely curtains are going…



What’s in the glass tonight March 9th


Kingsmill Tippetts Dam Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2008

I haven’t blogged much lately. L and I have been heavily involved in beginning the house renovation project instead.  A mate, and reader, came up to me the other night and asked me if I’d stopped drinking? Fat chance. This work will go on for some time, and I will need constant fortification during the process. I’ll just store my notes for later…

…and, also, we just hosted our housewarming! It was a great night. Many dear friends came, and we had a fun BBQ and party that lasted into the witching hours.

One of the benefits of friends knowing you write a wine blog is that they give you great bottles as gifts. And we were blessed that night. Here is one…

A gift from M&L. 14%. Deep carmine colour, brown around the rim. Savoury and aromatic. Ripe red fruit in the mouth. A nice touch of licorice, thyme. Smooth, easy tannins. A light style pinot, tasty and mature. 4