These are three remarkable wines. Craggy Range are very excited about the 2013 vintage in these two regions, and on tasting these wines it’s easy to show why. ‘In 2013 we felt it was the first time we had really seen the true potential of our great estates in Hawke’s Bay and Martinborough,’ says winemaker Matt Stafford.
I followed all three wines over the course of a few days, and so I felt I got to know them a bit. They are remarkable, and will improve with age, especially the Sophia, which is a 20 year wine. Interestingly, all three are cork-sealed. Is this because they will taste better in time under cork than under screwcap? Or is it because of market acceptance outside New Zealand? I suspect it is a bit of both, weighted more to the latter option.
Craggy Range Sophia 2013 Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
This is a Bordeaux-style blend with 62% merlot, 19% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. Yield 48 hl/ha, inoculated, aged 19 months in French oak, 42% new. 13.8% alcohol. Beautifully perfumed nose of floral red cherries, plums and blackcurrant, with a subtle fine spiciness. The palate has superbly balanced sweet cherries and black fruits. It has presence and concentration but it’s also quite understated, with fine-grained tannins and a fresh, dynamic personality. So fine, this has massive potential. 95/100
Craggy Range Le Sol 2013 Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
Varietal Syrah, 55 hl/ha, destemmed, mix of inoculated and wild ferment, aged in French oak for 18 months, 32% new. 13.1% alcohol. Brooding sweet black cherry and blackberry fruit nose with some fine peppery notes in the background. Sweetly aromatic and quite fresh. The palate shows sweet fruit, a taut presence and stylish spicy notes, together with a bit of pepper and well handled oak. A superb effort that on day 2 picks up some intensity and fleshiness. An exciting wine. 94/100
Craggy Range Aroha Pinot Noir 2013 Martinborough, New Zealand
Yield 29 hl/ha, 40% whole bunch, wild yeast, aged 11 months in French oak, 32% new, 13.4% alcohol. Fine and fresh with sweet, spicy blackberry, fine herb and cinnamon on the nose. Detailed with just a hint of undergrowth. Silky but structured palate with fine plums, red cherries, blackberries and spice. Nice structural detail here with some non-fruit complexity. This will develop into a warm, spicy maturity, I reckon. 95/100
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