Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A brilliant New Zealand red - not cheap but a bargain

I spent the afternoon today at the annual New Zealand trade tasting - one of the best of the so-called generic (i.e. country-based) tastings. Each year I'm impressed at how good the overall standard is though it usually confirms my view that New Zealand's whites outperform its reds - with the exception of Pinot Noir.

In general I find that that the other reds - mainly Cabernet blends and Syrah - tend to be overworked and over-extracted and after two and a half hour's tasting was ready to call it a day when the guy at the Adnams' stand persuaded me to try three wines from the Gimblett Gravels area of Hawkes Bay on the North Island: a Syrah, a Cabernet and most impressive of all - a blend of Cabernet, Merlot and Malbec under the Newton Forrest label called Cornerstone.

So this is basically a style of wine that doesn't hugely appeal to me and which I'm not convinced New Zealand handles particularly well and from a producer (John Forrest) better known for his Sauvignon, Riesling and Pinot Noir. And yet it was fantastic - soft, fluid, elegant, as good as a top-class Bordeaux. And I'm not the only one to think so. In a tasting last year of Gimblett Gravels reds alongside first growth Bordeaux the 2006 Cornerstone came out sixth.

The best news of all is that it costs only £17.50 a bottle which is a fantastic price for a wine of this class. Snap some up while you can.



  1. I agree, this wine is classy, concentrated, meaty, expensive but good value, and more claretty than claret.

  2. Thank you for your comments on our Cornerstone wine, we will be releasing the 2007 vintage later in the year and selling it en primeur through Adnams, like we did with the 2006.

    The 2007 vintage, John Forrest believes this wine is a sginificant step up again and is maybe the best vintage he has seen from the Gimblett Gravels in many years.

    Many thanks

    Forrest Wines NZ

  3. Good to hear from you Dan. I'll look forward to the 2007! And glad you like it too, Patrick.