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NZ finds new expression for Austrian grape

Marlborough is carving out a niche for its unique expression of Austria’s Grüner Veltliner grape, according to John Forrest from New Zealand’s Forrest Wines.

marlborough.jpgAs wines from his first commercial vintage hit UK shores, he told the drinks business that the style was like “Austrian Grüner Veltliner with hormones – it is much more aromatic”.

Indeed, he stated: “Marlborough may have done to Grüner Veltliner what it did to Sauvignon Blanc as much as 30 years ago.”

Although his current production is only 250 cases, Forrest says that this will double in 2011 and further plantings should take the total to 1,000 cases in the near future.

His 2010 Grüner Veltliner sells under the Doctors’ label and is listed in the UK by Adnams.

Ironically, Forrest says he’s so impressed by the results from the Grüner Veltliner he planted in Marlborough three years ago he has pulled up five acres of Sauvignon Blanc to put in more of the Austrian grape, as well as Chenin Blanc – a variety he has worked with since 2001.

It is not New Zealand’s first Grüner Veltliner however, and Forrest estimates the total number of producers working with the grape to be six, with Coopers Creek as the pioneer, using grapes grown in Gisborne.

Furthermore, Forrest experimental varieties in Marlborough include Arneis, which he has used to make a Doctors’ wine from for the last three vintages, while he has also planted the early-ripening red variety St Laurent as well as Petit Manseng.

He also said that his Doctors’ Riesling “is now almost outselling” his Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.

Forrest has also been creative with the latter grape and recently produced a lower alcohol Doctors’ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc with 9.5% abv – a trophy winner in this year’s Wine Innovation Awards.

Patrick Schmitt, 11.11.2010

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