A box of wine arrives. Inside is a Gruner Veltliner and a St Laurent. I show them off to my partner. He, unsurprisingly, cocks a confused eyebrow.
Gruner Veltliner and St Laurent are a duo more naturally found in Austria than the South Island of New Zealand. However, these two wines make up the latest release from the Forrest Estate Marlborough vineyards under their The Doctors’ label. The letter that accompanied this box of wine labelled these as the Doctor’s Austrian offerings.
Gruner Veltliner is a white grape variety affectionately known as the groovy grape. If you’re looking for a more well known comparison you won’t be too far off the mark with a mix between a dry Riesling, a fruity Pinot Gris and a fatty Chardonnay. It stands out from all of these with its distinctive white pepper aroma. At its very best Gruner Veltliners compare in quality with the very finest Chardonnays made in Burgundy.
St Laurent is the Austrian answer to Pinot Noir as a perfumed, fruity red and soft tannins. The wine’s distinct sour cherry character sets it apart as a little something different.
It’s early days in New Zealand for both varieties, but they’re showing promise.
Chris Andrew, assistant winemaker, travels to Austria every year to make wine at the Salomon winery in the Wachau, bringing back his experience of these grapes to the production of The Doctors’ wines.
Forrest Estate The Doctors’ Gruner Veltliner 2012
When looking for a little something different, look no further.This is a youthful wine with lifted aromas of tart green apple, fleshy white pear and the varietally characteristic white pepper that jump out of the glass and pull you in. Seriously bone dry with a lightly sour acidity and a far more linear palate. An interesting combination that sets this wine apart from many of the other whites on the market. It can be enjoyed well-chilled and young but it has the acidity and structure to help it develop.
Forrest Estate The Doctors’ St Laurent 2012
A fresh and fruity wine that benefits from being served lightly chilled, The Doctors’ St Laurent has the youthful, primary fruit character of easy drinking. Clear, pale ruby with pronounced aromas and flavours of sour cherry, raspberries and a touch of white pepper. The rich, red fruit is complemented by soft acidity, slightly drying tannins and a supple body. The natural sour cherry quality of the grape means the St Laurent isn’t as fresh or light as a Pinot Noir made in a similar style but the sharp quality is the wine’s point of difference. All-in-all it’s a rather cheery drop.