News, Expert Opinions and general chit chat from the world of wine

JN Wine Blog

New from New Zealand - The Forrest Estate Collection

John Forrest and his wife Brigid have been making wine in Marlborough since 1990 which is a not insignificant length of time in a country where winemaking as we know it only really began in the 1980s.  They’re a dynamic duo – constantly experimenting with new grape varieties and regions and making an incredibly wide range of wines from sparkling to reds, whites and sweet wines from more different grape varieties than most producers would dare to. 

One of their latest experiments has been with Austria’s native grape variety Grüner Veltliner (pron grooner velt-leener) which is a light white variety with gentle aromatics and lovely supple texture.  For the legions of Sauvignon Blanc fans out there, this is a lovely option for when the pungency and vibrant acidity of your usual tipple might be too much.  Under the ‘Doctors’ label John and Brigid (who are both ex-doctors) offer something a little unusual and experimental such as their low alcohol Doctors’ Sauvignon and their  Doctors’ Riesling which is a fabulously refreshing medium dry aperitif wine that goes down a treat on a warm summer’s day.  It’s also pretty fabulous with a spicy Thai green curry.

The Doctors’ Grüner Veltliner.  £11.75

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The Doctors’ Riesling £11.70

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The Doctors’ Sauvignon Blanc.  £11.70

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Of course if Sauvignon Blanc is your one true love, he has a treat for you!  The John Forrest Collection is a range of wines made only in the best years, all hand picked and from small plots of his best sites.  We have 2 new John Forrest Collection wines to add to our range.  The Sauvignon Blanc is from some of his oldest vines in the Wairau River Valley area of Marlborough.  These old vines give very small yields of top quality fruit and this wine sees a bit more attention in the winery to bring out the body and complexity of the wine. 

John Forrest Collection Sauvignon Blanc.  £19.75

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From further south in NZ we now have the John Forrest Collection Bannockburn Pinot Noir which is from Central Otago.  Still a relative baby in comparison to many winegrowing regions in the world, this area has come on in leaps and bounds and is rapidly gaining recognition for its world class Pinot Noir and Riesling.  Forrest’s Bannockburn Pinot Noir is also made in only the best years and the fruit is all selected by hand.  The wine shows concentrated dark fruit flavours, some toasty oak and some floral notes.  This is a richer and more deeply fruited Pinot Noir than the lighter Marlborough wine which offers great value for money.  In fact Forrest Estate was recently recognised by Olly Smith in the Mail as one of the top-notch New Zealand Pinot producers outside of Otago. 

John Forrest Collection Bannockburn Pinot Noir.  £25.50

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Forrest Estate Pinot Noir.  £13.75

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If you are a fan of Forrest wines please do join us when the man himself will be here in Crossgar on Saturday 24 May hosting a tasting of his new wines. Entrance is by ticket only so get yours now before they sell out - Book Here


New Arrival - Dominio Del Bendito

You might imagine that a wine from somewhere called Toro (trans. bull) would be pretty powerful. You wouldn’t be wrong. Think Toro wines, think red wines with plenty of muscle. These wines are intensely and deeply fruity with great tannic structure that will age very gracefully indeed.

The wines are made from Spain’s native grape (Tempranillo) but a particular strain of Tempranillo called Tinta de Toro.  At 600 to 750m above sea level, the Toro region is high in altitude and very dry with huge swings in temperature from very hot during summer days and cold again at night.  All of which means the grapes get plenty of sunlight which allows them to develop lots of flavour and concentration but are cooled every day to keep freshness in the wines and stop the grapes turning into raisins.

Dominio del Bendito (the blessed domaine) is owned by a Frenchman by the name of Antony Terryn who did a considerable amount of travelling in France, Chile, Portugal and the US before finding his own idea of vineyard perfection here in Toro in Castilla y Leon.  The vineyards he fell in love with are home to some fabulous old vines, a proportion of which were planted before the second half of the 19th century.  These incredibly mature vines yield top quality fruit that lends concentration and longevity to the wines.

He has been winning awards and gaining fans ever since and we are delighted to have these fantastic wines in our portfolio.  You might want to pay a visit to your butcher in preparation....

Dominio del Bendito El Primo Paso 2011, £14.95

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100% Tinta de Toro from a mix of old and young vines to achieve a balance of youthful fruitiness and structure.  The wine is created to be soft enough to be drunk and enjoyed as soon as it is released but will age very nicely for 5-10 years for anyone patient enough to do so.  The wine is aged for around 6 months in a mixture of American and French oak to give complexity and balance.

Dominio del Bendito Las Sabias 2009, £19.95

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100% Tinta de Toro only from old vines (45-80 years old) which are ungrafted, pre-phylloxera rootstocks giving low yields.  The wine is aged for 16 months in French oak.  The wine is beautifully balanced with lots of intense, deep fruit, complexity, tannic structure and elegance and drinks very well after 2 or 3 years in bottle.  It will develop very nicely in bottle for another 8-15 years.


Excitement Building over Monte Bello 2013 Vintage Release - Ready to Order Now!

We are delighted to announce that we have received our annual allocation of Monte Bello from our good friends at Ridge. Winemaker Eric Baugher is, once again, brimming with excitement about the imminent assemblage and the prospects of another fine vintage of Monte Bello. 

The annual Ridge Monte Bello offer has become ever more popular with each successive year. Our savvy customers recognise that it probably offers amongst the best value in Cabernet blends from anywhere in the world – including, dare we say, Bordeaux! Last year’s 2012 offer sold out very quickly and with no price increase we don’t imagine the 2013 will stick around for very long either!

En Primeur / Futures Offer                            

Ridge Monte Bello 2013 6 x 75cl in wood - £395 / €455 (Prices ex Vat and Duty)

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Ridge Monte Bello 2013 3 x 150cl in wood - £415 / €475 (Prices ex Vat and Duty)

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Wine will arrive here Spring 2016. At that time we will write to inform you of its arrival and you can decide whether to take delivery or store in Bonded warehouse. VAT and duty will be charged at prevailing rates whenever the wine is withdrawn from bond.

Harvest Report 2013

Winter began with unusual intensity as heavy rains saturated the ground in December. By all appearances, it seemed 2012's drought had ended, and that it would be a rough winter. Yet as the new year began, the rains abruptly ended. Dry weather persisted through summer and fall, and February's spring-like weather brought the vines out of dormancy; bloom was early. Unusually fierce May winds struck the middle- and upper-elevation merlot parcels particularly hard, reducing yields. Later-ripening cabernet sauvignon, franc, and petit verdot flowered during favorable weather, and yields were normal. Summer fog was minimal, allowing faster heat accumulation at Monte Bello than at our "warmer" Sonoma vineyards. For the second year in a row, Monte Bello exceeded Lytton Springs and Geyserville in growing degree days. The pace of the 2013 harvest was similar to 2012. Chardonnay and the Bordeaux varietals ripened before most zinfandel vineyards, filling the winery from mid-September through early October. A break in picking came on September 22, when a low-pressure system swept northern California, bringing a modest amount of rain. It did not damage the fruit. If anything, it helped the water-starved vines by setting sugars back: the grapes could remain on the vine longer, for greater development of color and flavor, and riper tannins.

As vintages go, though logistics of tank capacity were a challenge, 2013 went amazingly well. All blocks were picked at ideal ripeness. Never once did we delay harvesting a parcel for lack of a free fermentor. Mostly, this was because vigorous natural yeasts started the fermentations quickly. The more-thorough, aerated pump-overs could start sooner, achieving full extraction by the sixth day. Tanks could be emptied into the press, washed, and refilled with incoming grapes to keep up with the pace of harvest. With berry size considerably smaller than typical, the careful extraction we achieved in each tank yielded incredibly dark wine, but, unfortunately, less quantity per ton. Natural malolactic fermentations began in warmed secondary holding tanks. When they were a quarter to a third complete, the wines were transferred, with their lees, to new barrels to finish; they have remained on their lees since then.

We will begin the assemblage process in late January. The twenty-four lots traditionally considered classic Monte Bello will be blind-tasted. Six Estate parcels will also be included, since their water-stressed vines produced wines of strong Monte Bello character. Much as in 2012, all four varietals produced distinctive wines. The 2013 Monte Bello will likely contain all four, with cabernet sauvignon dominant at 60-65%, merlot at 18-20%, petit verdot adding 9-11%, and cabernet franc rounding out the final 6-8%. We have tracked the individual components in the cellar, tasting frequently to assess quality. At this early stage, the wines are reminiscent of the 2002 and 2005 vintages. They show intense black fruit, moderate-to-firm acid, and beautifully balanced tannins. This will be another great vintage to collect, and lay down for many decades.

Eric Baugher


JN Wine in the news this week

JN's ears have been burning this weekend as some of the most respected journalists in the business have kindly mentioned us and our wines. 

John Wilson - Irish Times

Our wonderful Dominio de Tares 2009 was featured this weekend in John Wilson's Irish Times article on Spanish wines.

You can read the full article here.

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Matthew Jukes - The Drinks Business

Following that, Mathew Jukes published a fantastic review of our delightful Umani R. Verdicchio Casal Serra.

You can read the full article here.

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Rachel Dixon - The Guardian

Finally, we also had a mention in The Guardian on Saturday. A fun article penned by Rachel Dixon, ‘Twenty adventures that don't cost a thing’. JN was described as an ‘independent worth investigating’ – thanks Rachel!

You can read the full article here.


La Jasse is back for another great vintage - Buy Now.

La Jasse is back with another great vintage. 

Just once a year, immediately before bottling starts, we are able to offer customers our limited allocation of La Jasse's new vintage with HUGE DISCOUNTS! Please see offers below:

La Jasse is also open for tasting instore Saturday 22nd and 29th March. 

Jasse Vv 2011: 4 Case Offer (48btls)

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Jasse Vv 2011: 2 Case Offer (24btls)

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Jasse Vv 2011: 1 Case Offer (12btls)

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Jasse Vieilles Vignes 2011: 6 Btl Offer

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