Craggy Range is New Zealand's preeminent winery across a wide range of wines. Tasting the new releases demonstrates the high quality across the board, although lacking absolute high points.
The 2011 Te Muna Pinot Noir from Martinborough tastes of cherry and strawberry. The fruit is a bit simple and straight forward and the wine quite light-bodied. It has an ethereal texture and quite silky tannins (91 points).
The 2010 Calvert Pinot Noir from Central Otago is bigger in fruit weight and more complex. The dark cherry flavours are augmented with forest floor, but the finish is not as smooth as I would have liked (92 points).
We are now moving to Hawkes Bay, the home of Craggy Range, and where the grapes for the fuller bodied reds are grown. The 2010 Gimblett Gravels Syrah is very spicy and the fruit is a bit lean with slightly metallic flavours. The finish is quite satisfying (90 points).
The 2011 Le Sol Syrah is the flagship wine. It is more generous and elegant, not as intense as in some other years, with a smooth finish (92 points).
The star of the tasting was the 2011 Sophia. This Bordeaux style blend is dominated by Merlot and therefore fashioned similar to right bank Bordeaux. This wine has great depth of blackberry fruit, a sweet core, and firm tannins to provide a solid structure which will allow the wine to develop more complexity with time. An excellent effort (94 points).