Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Craggy Range 2009 Releases

Luckily there is some correlation between investment dollars and quality of wine, otherwise people would not do it. Voyager Estate is a good example in Australia and Craggy Range is the prime New Zealand example. When I visited there a few years ago, I was impressed with the immaculate viticulture and the attention to detail in the winemaking.

The 2009 releases are impressive, although not across the board, in my view. The 2009 Craggy Range Les Beaux Cailloux Chardonnay is a wine from the Gimblett Gravels, as are their reds. The wine shows citrus flavours over a nutty base and has quite an acidic finish. I found the oak quite strong and I am not sure the fruit can take it as the wine settles down and matures (91 points).

The 2009 Craggy Range Te Muna Pinot Noir tastes of red cherry, but is overall quite savoury. It fans out nicely with the finish, which is more gripping than elegant (93 points).

The 2009 Te Kahu Merlot Blend is made from younger fruit and it shows. The wine is lacking depth (89 points).

The 2009 Craggy Range Sophia can be thought of like a right bank Bordeaux. It is predominantly Merlot, with some Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a medium bodied wine with beautiful blackcurrant fruit. The wine is well rounded, with fruit and oak seamlessly integrated, and a lengthy finish - a cracker, and cheaper than 2nd growth Bordeaux (95 points).

The 2009 Craggy Range The Quarry is a Cabernet Sauvignon. It is also well rounded and quite elegant for a young Cabernet, but not as complex and beautiful as the Sophia (94 points).

The Sol Shiraz is the self declared challenger to Grange as the number 1 Shiraz of the southern hemisphere. The 2009 Craggy Range Le Sol Syrah has a deep purple colour. It tastes of blackberry and is quite peppery like a cool climate Australian Shiraz, but with a lot of intensity and a silken texture. The wine is quite acidic with dry tannins and good length on the finish . The 2009 is an excellent example of this style (95 points).

Overall, a strong portfolio, but the wines are not cheap.

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