The ‘Forager’ label is the new and exciting family wine project of talented and thoughtful winemaker Dominic Maxwell at Greystone Wines in the Waipara Valley, North Canterbury. Dominic was recently awarded 2018 New Zealand Winemaker of the Year for his high quality wines and this is his personal project that lets him express his individual take on Pinot Noir.
Dominic intends to take the natural process of winemaking to a new level by conducting wild fermentation in the vineyard so that the indigenous yeasts of the vineyard can work thoroughly in their natural environment to truly express the actual vineyard site and "the essence of the land” as Dominic puts it.
5 Stars & 96/100 Bob Campbell MW, The Real Review, January 2019 (2017 Vintage)
"From a high limestone site near the remote township of Waiau about 30 kms east of Hanmer Springs. Made by Dominic Maxwell, the brand was born in 2012 but this is the first release of the wine from this vineyard. Elegant pinot noir with a strong floral influence (red rose) together with cherry, spice, savoury and dried herb characters. Nicely layered and complex wine with an ethereal texture. Approachable now but should develop well. It has a fine-boned character that I associate with a high limestone site."
Rated Outstanding & 96/100 Cameron Douglas MS, March 2021 (2017 Vintage)
"This is a delicious wine with a beautiful core of flowers and fruits. Sweet red cherry and dark rose, limestone and firm clay mineral scents, spices from oak and a savoury wild dried herb complexity. On the palate – equally savoury and complex contrasted by the core of fruit and flavours of a soil, lees, fruit and location. Firm fruit tannins from time on skin – adding complexity as well as texture, acidity highlights the savoury whole bunch technique and ripe tense red berry fruit flavours layer in the varietal pinosity that is the ultimate voice of this wine. Lengthy and delicious. A wine to invest in, cellar and enjoy from 2022 through 2030+."
5 Stars & 18.5+/20 (94) Raymond Chan, November 2018 (2017 Vintage)
"The 2017 Forager Pinot Noir is Dom’s sixth release, and this time he has used fruit from a different site again – the ‘Isolated Hill’ vineyard on Amuri Limestone Quarry Hill in the Waiau district tended by the Black family. The vineyard is 40 km inland and is at 210 m altitude. The particularly interesting facet here is the high limestone content in the soil. The 2017 growing season shows its influence too, fine to begin with but wet at the end, resulting in low cropping, around 4 tonnes/ha. With the vineyard ferment, the temperature fluctuations, prolonged maceration and cooler-than-winery soaking temperatures came into play. I see the wine with an array of detail, but with an elegant vintage expression. It has complexity.
Moderately dark ruby-red colour with some depth, lighter on the rim with purple hues. The nose is gently full and voluminous with an array of fragrant and savoury dark-red cherry and berry fruits along with an amalgam of dark herbs and dark-red florals and subtle earthy suggestions. The aromatics form an elegant, taut core with intensity and penetration, showing finesse. Medium-full bodied, the palate is elegantly proportioned with a heart of sweet and lush dark-red cherry and berry fruit, the flavours a little restrained in expression. The wine flows smoothly with supple, fine-grained tannin extraction in support. The acidity is soft, but lends cut and poise. The flavours grow in richness, unfolding savoury herb and earthy detail as it carries to a lingering finish. This is an elegant and refined Pinot Noir with subtle sweet and savoury red cherry and berry fruit with complexing herb and earthy detail on a supple, poised palate. Serve with wild duck and pork over the next 5 years. Pinot Noir fruit from the ‘Isolated Hill’ vineyard, Waiau, fully destemmed with no whole cluster, indigenous yeast vineyard fermented to 13.8% alc., the wine spending 26 days on skins and aged 15 months in one-third each 1 y.o., 2 y.o. and 3 y.o, French oak."