Craggy Range-Still Delivering the Goods
Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at 8:44AM
Tom Firth

By no means is Craggy Range new to the market, but they are a New Zealand winery delivering high quality wines at a premium price. Established way back in 1997, it’s one of those wineries starting right out of the gate with top level quality and confidence that they are making those premium wines  whether you want to pay that much or not. Some of that comes with being a family owned winery, and some of that comes from being started by an extremely well-off family. Either way, Craggy Range is a young winery, and yes, I think you should try their wines.

During my time tasting these wines recently, we went through four different offerings available on the Alberta market. Some I loved, and there was one that didn’t quite blow me away. However, the price may be what scares you off, from these wines if you haven’t had them. (Who wants to pay more than $25 for NZ sauvignon blanc?)


Craggy Range 2010 Single Vineyard Te Muna Road Pinot Noir, Martinborough

Very pale, even for pinot, the nose is classic and still stylish. Fresh cherry fruits, mocha, herb, compost, and a nice fruit bomb quality. Flavouring is consistent-always a good thing-with a wonderful creamy mid-palate and a long, crisp-almost tart finish. Should be perfect with slightly spicy foods or something with a little fat to cut some of the acid. $51

4 stars (★★★★) Highly Recommended

Craggy Range 2011 Single Vineyard Te Muna Road Sauvignon Blanc, Martinborough

First off, this IS premium New Zealand sauvignon blanc, similar to other premium offerings, and a little more restrained than some more entry level offerings which try so hard to “prove” it’s from NZ that it has no style or balance. The nose is crisp with citrus aromas and a somewhat mild grassy character. Loads of melon and mineral tones, with just a touch of jalapeno and a hint of almond. In the mouth, the attack is sharp and herb driven with apple fruits, all those thing we saw on the nose, and a real kick in the ass on the finish to wake up your palate. I won’t say it’s a quaffing wine, but it is very easy to have a second and third glass on the patio. Enjoy with calamari, sushi, oysters, or lemony dishes. $31

5 stars (★★★★★) Excellent.

Craggy Range 2010 Sophia, Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay

A merlot based blend with cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and a touch of petit verdot, this bottle was a little earthy, with liquorice root, anise, raspberry and cherries, notes of coffee and a roasted berry character all with floral undertones. To my tastes, the fruits seemed dried out and overall, didn’t have any of the vibrant character shown by the other wines. I couldn’t recommend it based on the price and how it was showing. $70

2 stars (★★) Acceptable. 

Craggy Range 2009 Le Sol, Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay,

Well I learned something here, the meaning of le Sol is the soil, not the sun-indicating the importance of the stony soils and their effect on the wine. Its syrah through and through with some stellar depth and style. Plenty of spice on the nose keeps me happy with ginger, violets, liquorice, red fruits, raisin, cinnamon, and a subtle meaty character. ONLY 14 percent alcohol it seems a little higher, but no denying the robust nose. I really like the style and approach to the wine in the glass, its distinct, with a lot of fruit, but never too….over the top. The meatiness is just right and the overall structure is perfect for beef, venison, bison, or mushroom dishes. Around $80

Damn good. 4 stars (★★★★) Highly Recommended.

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