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Wonderfully polished, ripe and finessed New Zealand sauvignon blanc from this Martinborough icon. There is a lovely fresh but plush and rounded texture on the palate, which holds the peach, nectarine and lime fruit flavours impressively. Seriously drinkable sauvignon.
Product Code: NZ12411
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.
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Mr Andrew Burns (06-Jun-2020)
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