John Forrest Collection, Pinot Noir, 2009 – Waitaki, New Zealand

Wine tasted:

  1. Forrest Wines, John Forrest Collection Pinot Noir, 2009

At the Rioja tasting last week I caught up with a recent acquaintance who mentioned he had tasted an extraordinary Pinot Noir from somewhere in Otago, New Zealand

“Wai-something”. Given my family home has been in the Otago region for many years, my interest was immediately piqued. We determined the area was Waitaki in North Otago on the border with the Canterbury region and, rather fortunately, we also determined the wine was available here in Hong Kong.

As a regular visitor to Central Otago and a fan of the Pinot Noir from that area I was curious to taste wine from North Otago, something I had never done before. So off to Kerry Wines in Hong Kong I went and duly ordered said wine.

Waitaki compare Central Otago 2
South Island of New Zealand. Left: Central Otago District. Right: Waitaki District. Source: Wikipedia

The John Forrest Collection Pinot Noir 2009 did not disappoint. The collection is part of a portfolio of wines from Forrest Wines and is intended to display the best sites, vines and vintages on offer. The 2009 displays a beautiful perfume of red fruits and sweet and pungent spice which leads to flavours of juicy sour red cherries, spice and forest floor. The wine had a certain delicacy to the mouth feel – refined and elegant but at the same time rather succulent making you want to refill your glass!

The Waitaki River Valley would seem to offer ideal conditions for vines with a mixture of soil types including limestone, clay and gravel together with a lowered propensity for frost due to the coastal winds from the Pacific Ocean 40km away. Although rather windy (approximately 180 windy days on average each year) the valley is sheltered by gentle slopes that will eventually lead you to the Southern Alps. Add to that a longer growing season (approximately 10 days longer than Central Otago) which allows the grapes more time to ripen and you are left with a delicately perfumed wine and just the right balance of fruit and savoury flavours on the palate.

We drank this wine with a roast chicken and roast vegetables, including roast mushrooms which complemented the earthy notes in the wine but also allowed the juicy red fruits to sing. Dessert was Ghirardelli dark chocolate, which matched perfectly with the red fruits of the wine bringing forward flavours of raspberries and cherries.

John Forrest Cap Ghirardelli

With only 1,400 bottles of this available it is best to get in front of this one and take a look at the list of distributors on the website to ensure you can get your hands on some.

Happy Drinking!

Tasting Note:

John Forrest Collection label

Forrest Wines, John Forrest Collection 2009, Pinot Noir (100%)

Medium garnet colour. Aromas of red and black fruits – strawberry jam, red cherries, fresh ripe blackberries. Hints of pungent and sweet spice – black pepper, nutmeg and vanilla. Tertiary aromas of forest floor and wet leaves indicating the wine is developing. On the palate, medium body, medium acid and tannin levels with flavours of juicy red fruits, red liquorice, forest floor and wet leaves. Medium plus finish.

Related Happy Wine Woman Posts

Pinot Noir: Circe, Kumeu River, Payten & Jones


Forrest Wines

Pinot NZ

Waitaki Braids Winery

Jancis Robinson Purple Pages

Skelton, S. (2007). Viticulture. An introduction to commercial grape growing for wine production. Great Britain: Stephen Skelton

Published by Happy Wine Woman

Wine consultant currently based in Melbourne, Australia.

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