John Forrest Collection 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon

88 points

Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. 14%

Following on from my discussion on whether or not New Zealand could produce ‘classed growth’ equivalent Bordeaux blends (claret), here is a wine that recently won the “Tri Nations Wine Challenge” top Cabernet Sauvignon (Balnaves “The Tally” came second).

It’s a very varietal, berry flavoured wine, with smoky oak. The tannins are rather dry, but not hard. It drinks quite well now, although there is fresh berry like acidity. Fruit oriented rather than deep and vinous. Nice wine, I’ll buy a few bottles to keep for 4-5 years then try again. At this point in time I see far less stylistic similarity with Bordeaux than the Te Mata Awatea I tried last week.

PS I should point out this is 100% Cabernet (or near to it) and did not compete in the Bordeaux Blend category, which was won by two Hawkes Bay wines (Villa Maria 2002 and Trinity Hill 2004).

UPDATE: Oct 2010 – fortunately this was under screwcap because if this was under cork it would be dead, as it is it has little zest – it’s so ripe.  It’s Californian in style, definitely late picked grapes.  I really hope that this fashion disappears soon in Hawkes Bay.  DRINK NOW.  83 points.

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