“Sod the wine, I want to suck on the writing. This man White is an instinctive writer, bloody rare to find one who actually pulls it off, as in still gets a meaning across with concision. Sharp arbitrage of speed and risk, closest thing I can think of to Cicero’s ‘motus continuum animi.’

Probably takes a drink or two to connect like that: he literally paints his senses on the page.”

DBC Pierre (Vernon God Little, Ludmila’s Broken English, Lights Out In Wonderland ... Winner: Booker prize; Whitbread prize; Bollinger Wodehouse Everyman prize; James Joyce Award from the Literary & Historical Society of University College Dublin)





03 July 2013


Ace Riesling master Colin Forbes pays homage to some determined ancients (NOT Riesling) in the Hickinbotham Vineyard at Clarendon ... photo Philip White

Forbes & Forbes Eden Valley Riesling 2007
$35; 11.5% alcohol; screw cap; 96+++ points

Aw baby, look at those numbers!  Small alcohols.  Six years in bottle.  $35.  Those alone make it seem a steal.  But add the words: Eden Valley kicks it up to another level.  Put Forbes on there, too, and we’re rockin. Previous to this, the last Forbes Riesling I reviewed was the mind-numbing 2002, which, at seven years of age screwed 96++ points out of me. Screwed is not the best term really: the points just seemed to ring up like I’d hit the jackpot on that pokie every poor bugger dreams of but never meets.  Colin Forbes knows better than anybody how to capture the old stony air of the rocks on the Barossa Tops: his Rieslings seems somehow to combine the austerity of dust and the ancient sandstones and schists with a hearty, creamy fullness which blows all but the most expensive Chardonnays clear off the bench.  Like this is Yattarna territory. It’s a ravishing luxury of a wine.  Of the 2002, I wrote “In the mouth, it’s much more elegant and fine than that huge bouquet would insinuate, with beautiful unsalted butter touches – beurre blanc with soft poached diced white onion sort of thing; plenty of lemon juice on the King George Whiting fillet that’s wrapped around that frothy prawn mousseline – and then those dry old upland soils come back to haunt the aftertaste. Fantastic maturing wine. Fair dink swoon city.” Ditto here.  If anything, this one’s even more creamy and limy.  It has all the exotic tropicals of its predecessor, but seems more composed and smug, like a bone dry triple-X rated lime marmalade. It’s heavenly, transporting wine. Beam me up Scottie.      

Forbes & Forbes Eden Valley Riesling 2012

$25; 11.3% alcohol; screw cap; 95+++ points

As if that wasn’t enough, here’s another one from the schisty Woodman Vineyard that Forbes sourced his fruit from during his old days at Craneford Wines.  It’s not as generous as the 2007, but it’s heading in that direction.  All those citrus blossoms and cosmetic tones, all the tropical jackfruit sweets and lantana greens of only the best juvenile Eden Valley Riesling are presented in a perfectly smooth, caressing manner.  I know I tend to anthropomorphise great drinks too readily, and it’s hardly fashionable to get gender-specific about ethanol, but this is the more feminine wine, and it seems as far removed from your actual alcohol as a wine could get.  It’s like a mother resting her lips on her new baby’s forehead. Rarely do we see a wine as gentle, delicate and composed, nor one which will perform such wondrous miracles in the cellar.  Go buy.  And be quick: both wines are in limited volumes.  That gold bling, by the way, is from the Barossa and Canberra wine shows: two of the toughest Riesling classes in the country if you’re interested in being the best. 

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