When Craggy Range embarked on a project to produce a New Zealand Shiraz to rival Penfolds' Grange, the wine world reacted very sceptically. When the first vintage, the 2002 Craggy Range Le Sol was released, wine critics and drinkers alike were gob-smacked by the power and intensity of the wine. Certainly, something like this has never come out of New Zealand before. How does this wine stack up in perspective and after eleven years?
The 2002 Le Sol is still a big, full-bodied wine. The blackberry and blueberry fruit is very pure. Pepper spices add to the complexity of the palate. This is a very masculine wine with firm tannins. The mouthfeel gets slightly impacted by the high alcohol (15%). The wine can take it, but it is noticeable, and detracts from the otherwise elegant flavours. The wine is close to the end of its optimum drinking range.
Is it like Grange? Not really. For starters, it won't last as long. The palate is big, but not as big as Grange in most years. Pepper is not very obvious in Grange. On the other hand, this wine is as unique in New Zealand, as Grange is in Australia. I enjoyed this wine on a cool Christmas day evening.