Mac Forbes is one of Australia’s best young winemakers, and has been a dynamic leader of a new wave of winemaking in the country.
His illustrious wine career began at the tender age of 18 when, whilst backpacking, he ended up working on vineyards in the southern French town of Gaillac. He then made his name as a winemaker at Mount Mary in Victoria’s Yarra Valley, before going to work back in Europe as a consultant in Austria and Portugal, including a stint with the legendary Dirk Niepoort. His consulting experience has given him an uncanny knack of discovering some of the most exciting vineyard parcels, which is why he is also responsible for the Society’s exclusive and ever-evolving Blind Spot range of wines.
In 2004 he decided to return to his native Yarra Valley and start making groundbreaking wines of his own, bringing back with him several old world traditions and a more European outlook that is very much evident in his wines. He specialises in the Burgundian pinot noir and chardonnay varieties, and is a pioneer of growing these in a more restrained, elegant style. His pinot noir comes from the cooler sites he owns, and is picked when ripe but still crunchy to taste.
His old world influence is also hugely apparent in his passionate belief in sub-regional expression and smaller vineyard parcels. He produces wine on an incredibly small scale in comparison to other Australian producers, which means he has time to devote enormous care to the health of his vineyards. He believes that strong vines, soil and fruit result in more clarity and complexity in the finished wine: minimal input achieves maximum expression of the region and grape variety. Pinot noir in particular is seen through Mac’s eyes as merely an extension of the vineyard.
Unsurprisingly, Mac’s wines are not aimed at classic Australian wine drinkers: widely regarded as more of a competitor with Burgundy, his pinots are packed full of delicate, radiant and deeply textured character.
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