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This full-flavoured gem has a glorious cassis-laden nose, with firm tannins supporting plum, dark cherry and leather notes. A full but fresh New Zealand red with a touch of mocha on the finish.
Product Code: NZ10081
View all products by Craggy Range Winery
Craggy Range Winery in New Zealand’s Hawke’s Bay is a partnership established by Australian businessman Terry Peabody and Master of Wine Steve Smith. It began in 1997 with a shared vision: the selection of the very best land and the planting of densely planted, low-yielding vineyards with varieties ideally suited to each parcel of land and the creation of world-class winemaking facilities that respect the best both of tradition and innovation. It is these principles which have driven the entire system of farming and winemaking at Craggy Range. Craggy Range work with vineyards across Hawke’s Bay, Martinborough, Marlborough and Central Otago and each one is split into as many as 60 different parcels. Every Craggy Range wine comes from a single vineyard with individual parcels fermented and matured separately to allow flexibility to make small lots of unique wines. Overall direction came from expert Steve Smith who oversaw viticultural practices and winemaking – his aim was to achieve texture, complexity, character and balance in the wines. There are two wineries both located in Hawke’s Bay. The largest of these is the state-of-the-art, architecturally impressive Giant’s winery which is located in the shadow of the Te Mata Peak. The impressive visitor facilities here include an award-winning restaurant called Terroir and there is also on-site luxurious cottage accommodation for rent. The expanding Craggy Range portfolio features an impressive range of Martinborough varietals under the Te Muna Road label which have gentle texture and real class. The food-friendly sauvignon blanc is in particular demand. The more boutique wines made in even smaller quantities include those labelled under Gimblett Gravels, The Quarry and Aroha. The most iconic wines in the portfolio are Le Sol, a reserve-level syrah made only in the best vintages reminiscent of Northern Rhône in its power, and Sophia Merlot, a Bordeaux-style single-vineyard blend matured in French oak with a bold, muscular structure.
Still a baby when compared with other regions, New Zealand has quickly earned a reputation for top-quality wine. New Zealand might be a relative newcomer to the wine world (in 1960, the country had fewer than 400 hectares of vine) but its rise to pre-eminence is extraordinary. The precise, pure flavour of its wines has captured the attention of wine drinkers; Society sales certainly reflect this.The country’s two islands cover a vast area from north to south (it is often quoted in wine books that if New Zealand was in the northern hemisphere, the country would stretch from North Africa to Paris). The maritime climate is influenced by the strong prevailing winds of the Pacific Ocean and the striking mountainous terrain. These factors give the islands a wide range of growing conditions; broadly speaking, the regions of the North Island tend to be warmer than the cooler South Island.The cool New Zealand climate offers real opportunity for aromatic varieties like sauvignon blanc, riesling, pinot gris and gewurztraminer . Of the latter three, young plantings mean many styles rely more on sugar than fruit, which we avoid buying. But the very best share the intensity and palate weight of great Alsace examples with vibrant, lifted flavours. South Island’s Marlborough region is the benchmark setter for the former, and there are many pungently aromatic sauvignons that are stunning. Look out, too, for some of the exciting sub-regional wines – the Awatere is Marlborough’s coolest valley, now making really attractive, delicate and grassy wines, and Nelson across the hills is yielding superb wines from quality conscious producers like Neudorf. The first sauvignon blanc vines were planted in Marlborough around 30 years ago, when most farmers were raising cattle or growing fruit. The wines have since taken the world by storm. Farms have been replaced by vineyards, and today, chardonnay and pinot also flourish in Marlborough’s cool climate. The choice is sensational, so is the consistency in quality. However, Marlborough is not only about sauvignon blanc and there are crisp, juicy chardonnays and ripe but balanced pinot noirs of excellence.Further south is Central Otago, in the centre of the island. Pinot noir is something of a speciality here, though on the wrong site it can have difficulty reaching full maturity in this continental climate. The best seasons produce the country’s most dazzling examples of the grape, full-flavoured and superbly pure, and the greatest wines of this scenic region are in high demand around the worldThe north island also boasts excellent wine regions. North of the city of Auckland there is the Bay of Islands where a unique microclimate helps winemakers produce some wonderful reds, and the Brajkovich family’s Kumeu River Estate, specialising in rich but elegant chardonnay, can be found just north-west of New Zealand's biggest city. Waiheke Island, just off the coast close to Auckland, also produces some excellent wines.Hawkes Bay on the east coast of the North Island covers an extensive area of rolling hills, a sweep of coastline and the sharply dominant Te Mata Peak. The warm climate successfully ripens red grape varieties, the very best grown in the gravelly alluvial soils of the Gimblett Gravels appellation. Syrah is now adding its name to the roll call of successful varieties like cabernet and merlot. Chardonnay is well established here too, and the area makes some of New Zealand’s fullest and ripest examples.Close to Wellington at the southern tip of the North Island is Martinborough, arguably New Zealand’s most exciting area for pinot noir. The long growing season is particularly suitable to the slow, gradual ripening that this Burgundian grape so enjoys.
Overall, New Zealand's harvest totals were up 20-30% on the very small 2015 vintage, but did not exceed the record sized 2014. However, the additional yield in 2016 will help towards the shortfall created by a growing global demand and the smaller 2015 harvest. In Marlborough the vintage went reasonably well, without any major climatic issues through spring and summer. Summer was reasonably dry allowing for good concentration and full ripeness, although rain at key times helped maintain vine growth and healthy yields. There was a little rain towards the end of harvest, but the producers that we work with were finished well before the trouble. 2016 is a classic Marlborough vintage, perhaps without the intensity of the 2015, but plenty of charm.In Central Otago the vintage was warm and dry in comparison to 2015 and 2014. This has led to some excellent fully ripe pinot sites, and expectations are very high for the quality of this vintage. Hawke's Bay has had a successive run of very good vintages, in 2013, 2014 and 2015, but 2016 was a little trickier. With slightly cooler than average conditions the best grapes came from the warmer, more protected sites.
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"This 2015 wine has matured beautifully. Very much a Bordeaux style but with a delightful balance of elegant dark and jammy fruits.
Thankfully the tannins are now softly integrated. Just amazing value for this quality of Cabernet/Merlot.
From the highly regarded New Zealand Craggy Range winery."
Mr Michael N Laing (09-Nov-2019)
"I do not understand why there has been a very negative review of this wine. There is no need to compare it for example to a French wine. It simply tastes good and is perhaps of its own kind (rather than being comparable to anything else). And, let me say, much against my self-interest, the current Exhibition Margaux wines on offer are excellent, so I am a lover of good French wine. What I taste in it is something of the flintiness of a New Zealand wine coupled with the roundness of the Merlot grape, but without the sweetness and blandness that can come with some Merlot-only wines."
Mr Oliver Hyams (30-Oct-2019)
"An excellent wine, the equal of a claret but better value. "
Mrs Caroline Pygott (03-Jun-2019)
"Lovely fruitiness but bonkers tannins a detraction, almost needed a knife and fork. Definitely enjoyable but 3 stars for the price "
Mr Michael Martin (23-Mar-2019)
"Some dark fruits as per the description but this is possibly the worst wine I’ve had from the Society. What fruit there is very short lived and totally overwhelmed by the tannins, leaving nothing but bitterness as the finishing flavour. I definitely wouldn’t recommend this wine and I’m surprised it is included in their Exhibition range. "
Mr Arthur Butler (22-Feb-2019)
"I have now bought this wine twice,and have enjoyed its decently complex flavour and easy drinking style.
Unlike other reviewers, I have'nt needed to decant, though a bottle left a couple of days open had a pleasant extra mellowness.
I discovered Hawkes Bay reds during an unsuccesful search for value for money pinot noirs in New Zealand, and now find them some of the best value medium bodied reds on the Society's list."
Dr Christopher J H Ingoldby (26-May-2018)
"Dark red showing minimal maturity. Attractive nose of ripe blackcurrents with a hint of oak. Mid weight entry although the middle palate and finish was overly dry and disappointingly unattractive."
Mr David Chittleborough (04-Apr-2018)
"Bordeaux blend of grapes it may be but this NZ version is not out to copy. The wine has a fresh fruity nose with the mulberry and damson malbec quite evident, But to get anything from the wine you need to decant it for well over 90mins as its as tight as a drum when opened. Then its fresh and fruity with medium depth, very inviting. Its a NZ red for sure. Will it improve with age? I'm not too sure about that, so i reckon it's priced about right."
Mr James Brown (22-Sep-2017)
Mr Patrick O'Brien (02-Apr-2017)
midweekwines.co.uk (2nd Aug 2018)
"A blend of merlot,
cabernet and malbec that – as a Craggy Range product – is classy enough to
qualify for the Exhibition range. Dark and concentrated, [this wine] has
compelling cassis aromas that lead into ripe, smooth bramble and loganberry
fruit with chocolate, cinnamon and aniseed elements and firm but proportionate
tannin. - Brian Elliott"
decanter.com (30th Jun 2017)
nose of cedar and tobacco alongside a touch of garrigue, cassis and plum in the
background. Relatively light, but juicy and moreish with some chalky tannins.
There is lots of peppery spice, cinnamon, cedar, tobacco and hedgerow fruit, making
for a pleasurable drop that will work excellently with a peppered steak. Made
by Craggy Range. - James Button"
decanter.com (22nd Jun 2017)
nose of cedar and tobacco alongside a touch of garrigue, cassis and plum in the
background. Relatively light, but juicy and moreish with some chalky tannins.
There is lots of peppery spice, cinnamon, cedar, tobacco and hedgerow fruit,
making for a pleasurable drop that will work excellently with a peppered steak.
Made by Craggy Range. - James Button"
"I tried a bottle just after buying and found it very disappointing and closed. Second bottle this week, still a bit dour on opening, but it opened up over the next couple of days. I found firm fruit, some good length and depth with a pleasing slightly astingent finish. Interesting and quite pleasant, but not exciting. Still another bottle to try next year . . watch this space."
Dr David Rickeard (11-Mar-2019)
"Agree with what others said. I also note a long cherry finish."
Mr Jonathan Bohane (08-Sep-2016)
Mr Robert Hudson (12-Aug-2016)
Mr Paul Murdin (11-Aug-2016)
"Deep purple, very young looking even after 3 years. 1 hour decanting not enough to clear fruity flush; much better and firmer on day 2. Aroma very delicate (barely detectable until day 3), but some hint then of the cedary notes. Not one for drinking now, but worth keeping for a few years."
Dr David Rickeard (26-Jun-2016)
"I agree with Mr Jones that this will be better with time. It was nowhere near as approachable as I thought it would be. We decanted it and it needed all of two hours to come round. I'd have it down as more full than medium bodied and a bit on the austere side at the moment. It is certainly no fruit bomb and hasn't had time for other flavours to come forward. I don't doubt that it is a lot of wine for the money -- but, in 2016 at least, it's a keeper not a crowd-pleaser."
Mr Robert Trevelyan (03-May-2016)
"Really a very nice wine however, like so many others in my view, being recommended for drinking too early. The richness of the fruit is evident but a lingering tart acidity on the mid palate needs time to diminish. Will be so much better in 5 years time but at this price, it makes patience affordable!"
Mr Andrew Jones (11-Mar-2016)
Daily Mail (28th May 2016)
hidden gem: A blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, malbec and cabernet franc,
this is sublime - and a steal given it's from one of the world's foremost
wineries, Craggy Range.
- Matthew Jukes
The Times (23rd Apr 2016)
Craggy Range-sourced, merlot-dominant red from a top vintage, all ripe,
smouldering, Victoria plum and green olive-scented fruit.
- Jane MacQuitty
thewinegang.com (21st Mar 2016)
"Merlot is the star
performer among the Bordeaux red grape varieties in Hawkes Bay, so Craggy Range
has provided a Merlot-dominated blend for The Exhibition range – and from the
excellent 2013 vintage. It delivers a rich, crisply defined mouthful of cassis and
black cherry fruit with dark chocolate, toasty oak and a leafy, herbal lift.
You can drink it now or cellar it for five or so years. 89/100"
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