Ken Forrester The FMC Chenin Blanc 2019


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“The 2019 FMC, which comes from pure Chenin Blanc bush vines planted in 1974, has a subtle, precise bouquet of white flowers, peach skin, kumquat and light apricot scents, very pretty and charming. The palate is well balanced with a fine bead of acidity. This builds in the mouth, fanning out wonderfully on the finish without losing an ounce of precision. Superb. Drinking window: 2022-2038. 94 points

Since leaving Johannesburg in 1994 with his wife Teresa, Ken Forrester has built up a hugely successful business, even if, as he told me during our Zoom catch-up, he has never been motivated by financial gain but simply a passion for winemaking. Forrester’s portfolio straddles both the entry level with his “Petit” varietal range and a cluster of top-end cuvées that appeal to connoisseurs. For this report, I have focused on the latter; I plan to include the former in my follow-up report later this year, not least because they represent some of the best values in the $10–$15.00 range. I quite like his enigmatic titles, like “The Gypsy,” “Three Halves” and “Dirty Little Secret,” a multi-vintage Chenin blend. These are all well worth seeking out, my favorite being Forrester’s celebrated FMC. He recalled selling the first vintage, the 2000, for 160 Rands, the same price it fetched at the CWG auction, which prompted a fellow winemaker to quip that he hoped Forrester had a return ticket to Johannesburg if he expected to sell Chenin Blanc at that premium price. Twenty years later, it sells at around 600 Rands per bottle. The only cuvée that I could not get my head around is the aptly titled Misfits Cinsault, which had quite an unorthodox birth and came across a bit like a stalky Beaujolais. Forrester recommended drinking it with Hungarian goulash, which was unavailable during my tasting.”

Neal Martin, Vinous (04/21)