(2022) John Forrest's Pinot Noir has 9.5% alcohol and an elegant, pale to medium density and colour, with pleasant aromas of cherry and some tobacco-like spices. There's a little floral edge too, so authentically Pinot for sure. In the mouth there's a sour cherry and lemon savouriness to this, perhaps just lacking a little in fruit roundness or ripe generosity. It is certainly dry and gastronomic, though I feel a little more flesh on its bones would be to its benefit.
(2021) This Pinot comes from the Awatere Valley, furthest south of Marlborough's wine regions, cool and influenced by the ocean more than the vineyards further north. That suits this delicate style of Pinot that for me is more on the rhubarb and beetroot, more vegetal spectrum which is an authentic expression of this variety. Very pale in colour, the fruit is of small red berries - cranberry and reducurrant - with a gentle influence of older oak barrels accentuating some spicy and vanilla components. Gentle tannins and good acidity. It's a wine in the distinctly cool-climate, red-fruited and savoury style. Watch the video for food-matching ideas and more information.
(2021) Indigenous yeast fermentation followed by ageing in French oak barriques for around 10 months. Mid-density crimson in colour, there's lots of vanilla and custardy oak character here, set against deep and ripe berry fruit. A little floral highlight does emerge. In the mouth the barrel does slightly dominate, custardy and creamy, but its a charming enough Pinot, pulpy strawberry fruit adding to the easy-drinking appeal.
(2020) This is 100% Southern Valleys fruit. Dijon clone 5, a lovely pale and quite bright colour, briar, cherry and tobacco, small herbs and spices, and then the sweetness of the fruit bursts into ripe, creamy berries. Gentle but persistent acidity and a long finish. Price and stockist at time of review are for the previous vintage.
(2020) Bottled just a week before I tasted it, a blend of 10% St Laurent and Pinot Noir, cherry bright fruit, a nice tang of cherry skins, with a nice tannin density. No UK stockist listed at time of review.
(2018) How fascinating to return to a wine I last reviewed 11 years ago, and which is another 'forgotten' bottle retrieved from my own cellar where it has lain quietly for over a decade. The colour is now much paler with a touch of warmth to the ruby core. Although it certainly has not stood still under screwcap in 11 years, it seems clearly to be the same wine, with the softening development I would hope for and expect. An autumnal, earthy and woodland character that is very Pinot Noir has joined the fruit, still in the cherry pie and spice spectrum, the creamy and slightly coffee-ish oak is still there but has also mellowed, and the nice sour orange acid framework sits very well to balance. I never intended to cellar this modestly-priced Pinot for 11 years, and arguably it may be on the down-slope now, but my word what a delightful discovery, giving plenty of enjoyment. Price and stockist quoted at time of review is for more current vintages.
(2015) Fruit is sourced from a number of vineyards in the Awatere and Wairau Valleys for this Pinto, which is partly fermented with wild yeasts, and I suspect sees ageing only in older oak. There's a rosemary, herby lift on the nose, bright cherry fruit, and a sense of sappy freshness. On the palate it is dry and savoury, a medium-bodied style of Pinot yet with a bit of substance and depth of colour (and 13.5% alcohol), it is typically Marlborough, balanced between 'pretty' and 'serious', and very enjoyable if just slightly flat in the finish.
(2014) >From the cooler Southern Valleys of the Marlborough region, this wine was made in open fermenters and aged in large, 500-litre French oak barrels for nine months. It has a nicely transparent ruby colour, and very appealing aromatics combining fresh, juicy cherry, a touch of autumnal, underbrush and mushroom and a sheen of creamy oak. On the palate the sweet and ripe fruit hints at strawberry, a real abundance of ripe and open summery fruit flavour, before toast and chocolate fill in. It remains light and fresh, though medium-bodied, its gentle tannins and tart acidity doing enough to dry and add some bite to the finish.
(2011) Delightful, silky, fragrant cranberry and beetrooty, but has a strawberry charm too. Soft background of oak. The fruit is beautifully sweet-edged, with fabulous coffee and earth background, but staying light and with great charm. Layered, but in some ways very straightforward and deliciously.
(2011) Planted by Italianate original owners, but survived when Sangiovese didn't. A nice touch of herbal quality, tobacco and charming savoury, leafy cherry fruit. The palate has lovely balance, with plenty acidity and plenty of herbs and that sour cherry savour. Delicious and hits the spot very nicely.