Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Noel Young - John Forrest Collection

Monday, 06 June 2011.

Led by Dr John Forrest himself - an assured, opinionated and expressive character and by golly does it shows in his wines. I cannot remember the last tasting where there were more wines which scored A- than not; seriosuly good quality. 'The White', Chardonnay and Noble Riesling were particular highlights. Prices are retail to Noel Young.

2010 'The Doctors' Sauvignon Blanc
£13.50. A-

A deliberately low alcohol Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough; 9.5% abv with 23g/l residual sugar.
Incredibly pale, almost crystal clear, slight tinges of colour. Nose is green, plenty of capsicum, gooseberry, some lime too; fresh, theres almost some minerality and spice peeking through. Palate is fresh, you can feel the residual sugar but theres plenty of acidity, doesn't feel flabby (which is the danger); plenty of fruit, sweet lemons. Overall, theres a nice vibrancy about it, interesting take; ideal to go with light spicy asian dishes.

2006 The John Forrest Collection 'The White'
£17.69. A

Blend of many grapes from best possible sites, all components fermented separately and blended at the end.
Smells thick, oily almost; some oak going through, sweet vanilla, even barrel ferment notes, tertiary character; lots of white fruits, some floral touch, still lemon - seriously fun nose. Palate is textured, filling mouthfeel; really interesting, lots of things going on, from the ripe white fruits, fat acidity, there's even some prickly spice - everything is together, integrated, the bottle age certainly hasnt hurt. Structure is good, will probably age gracefully. A food wine, demands your attention.

2006 The John Forrest Collection Riesling
£15.99. A-

A blend of Riesling sourced from two sites within Marlborough.
Fresh lemons on the nose; very light touch of kerosene, waxy; bit of floral too, touch of spice, white pepper. Lifted and expressive. Decent width on the palate, fat acid, citrus fruits still stays through; nice presence and linger. Has 10g/l residual sugar but doesn't show, just adds that bit of fatness.

2009 The John Forrest Collection Sauvignon Blanc
£16.99. A-

From a single site in Wairau River, Marlborough; from oldest vines, very low yield and deliberately shaded to prevent the green phenolics from being overpowering.
Again very pale, nose is very restrained, some gooseberry and limes / citrus, herby, even flinty minerality. Clean fat acidity, decent width on the palate but the acidity makes it feel quite austere, nervy minerality. Interesting take. This is not typical of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, lacks the green capsicum etc, closer to a Sancerre in style and execution.

2004 The John Forrest Collection Chardonnay
£16.99. A-

From Wairau River, Marlborough; has all the Burgundian tricks thrown in.
Golden colour. Developed nose; yeasty, barrel ferment definitely, creamy oak, lots of lees, brioche. A full textured palate, make no mistake, this is a big wine; still lots of fruit, the oak is contained within the bags of acid and fruit. Lots of tertiary, bready, yeasty, savoury complexity. Everything dialled up without being flabby, if anything the criticism would be that its too showy - but I like the style. Will probably keep.

2007 The John Forrest Collection Pinot Noir
£17.99. B+

From Bannockburn, Central Otago.
Classic nose, sweet cherry, raspberry, lots of currants; some damp earth, aromatic herbal like thyme, also floral; in all, bright and pretty. Palate is fruit dominated, juicy like crushed berries; mouthfeel rounded and gentle; unfortunately slightly thin, mid palate short. Still fresh and light, just not quite there for me.

A tip from the man himself: The 2009 Waiteke Valley Pinot Noir due to arrive soon in the UK is apparently the best Pinot Noir John Forrest has made.

2006 The John Forrest Collection Syrah
£17.99. B+(+)

From Gimblett Gravels, Hawke's Bay. All the Rhone Valley treatment thrown in, solid matter during fermentation, some unsulphured, malolactic.
Very juicy, so much crushed dark berries, really like ribena; also white pepper; some jammy, cooked, hot, touch of sweet spice. Palate filed with fruits, crushed currants; decent depth, not heavy; plenty of acid to keep it vibrant, lots of freshness, does linger. Its a high acid fresh Syrah as opposed to the bold, bloody and heavy Shiraz; is expressive of what its trying to achieve, drinking beautifully but should age well too.

2005 The John Forrest Collection Cabernet Sauvignon
£17.99. B(+)

Plenty of dark fruits, some mint coming through, quite hot and jammy. palate continues with dark fruits; bit closed and tight, muscular; this just needs time, this hasn't opened up. Some alcohol at the back. Acid decent. Not showing together, nervy adolescence I think. The only tonight which didnt show particularly well.

2006 The John Forrest Collection Noble Riesling
£19.99 (375ml). A-

From Marlborough; 200 g/l residual sugar with pH of 2.96.
Deep golden, dark honey. Smells like a beerenauslese or TBA; lots of raisins and sultana, treacle and honey, sweet marmalade, plenty of acacia; floral, tangerine and ripe valencia - very vibrant and full on the nose. palate is noticeably full and heavy; so much sugar, but there's fantastic acidity which is really rather piercing; end result is that it didn't cloy. Such depth of concentration, like sucking on candied lemons and raisins. No holds barred, but not without finesse.

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