It’s not everyday you hear a winemaker talk openly about having their hopes and dreams smashed by an expert who sees their vineyard in an entirely different light to them. But, like most winemakers, Duncan Forsyth is well used to adapting to his environment.
Not least because that environment is the world’s southernmost wine region. Frosts are standard fare at certain times of the year and the region is heavily reliant on one grape – Pinot Noir, which may be relatively early ripening, but is also thin skinned and has all the jazz and drama that goes along with anything or anyone who is thin skinned. Still, Duncan put great personal investment into the small Morrison Vineyard when he planted it entirely in Pinot Noir.
So you can imagine his surprise when the French agronomist engineer Claude Bourguignon stood on this favoured vineyard and said that “One day you will possibly make great white wine from this site.”
It was the last thing that Duncan expected to hear from Bourgignon’s lips. He and others in the region had pooled their resources to bring the French soil analyst to their region to help accentuate their chosen leading grape – not to diminish its importance by coming out of left field. But Duncan is a man who listens and he has since replanted parts of the small Morrison Vineyard in Lowburn with white grape varieties. He also retains Pinot Noir on the vineyard and it is consistently the pinnacle of his Pinots, but then again, the Riesling from this site is an outstanding wine with the potential to age for at least a decade. It’s a dry style with the same hallmark of the Morrison Vineyard as the Pinot Noir – a firmness on the finish of each sip, says Duncan.
I obviously need to taste a lot more of these wines (there are worst tasks) to pinpoint that characteristic in a blind tasting, but I can see his point. And I plan to get better acquainted with these wines because they consistently shine, for me, in both blind and non-blind tastings.
Duncan has also launched a new brand into New Zealand this week – it’s called Ted. And it includes a rose, a Pinot Blanc and Pinot Noir. This range is mostly destined to bars, cafes and restaurants. Check out the wines.
Taste these Mount Edward wines…
2014 Mount Edward Morrison Vineyard Pinot Noir
Arock star of a wine; picked earlier than in the past by two or three weeks to retain acidity, which drives the core of the dark cherry flavours in this intensely concentrated Pinot Noir. Whole bunch fermentation is big in this wine but it’s nicely integrated so that the flavours are fruit and savoury with a fresh, intense grip on the finish. It is certified organic with Bio-Gro New Zealand.
2017 Ted by Mount Edward Rose
Light in colour, high in acid, very fresh and very youthful with a dry fruity style.
2016 Mount Edward Rose
Less fruit driven and more textural – a little more lees time adds weight and interesting texture to this wine.
2016 Ted Pinot Blanc
Lovely dry white, nice lees work adds texture to this wine’s refreshing citrusy flavours. It’s one of only three Otago Pinot Blancs.
2015 Mount Edward Morrison Riesling 12%
Extremely tasty; extremely low pH means this southern white will age superbly for the long haul (up to and probably beyond a decade) but it also drinks nicely now, thanks to notes of lime, lemon grass and green apples. But I’d keep it… cellar for at least two to three years.
And then there’s the orange wine – 2015 Mount Edward Clockwork Orange, which is a blend of Pinot Gris and Riesling blend; 8 months on skins and another year in barrel and then the trick, says Duncan, is at least another year of bottle aging. There are some nice floral aromatics in here; pretty and textural.
The Mount Edward Gamay is also a star, but made in tiny quantities.