Craggy Range Masterclass with Mark Cunliffe

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Tasted July 6, 2017 by chatters with 349 views

Introduction

the most recent vintages of the Craggy Range, err, range with some back vintages for comparison sake.

Flight 1 - On Arrival: Family Selection (2 notes)

Hmm, these are the entry level wines

White
2016 Craggy Range Chardonnay Single Vineyard Gimblett Gravels Vineyard New Zealand, North Island, Hawke's Bay, Gimblett Gravels
slightly dusty (dirty glass?), butter toast, a little sharp citrus under generally peachy notes and a bit of yoghurt. I also get a bit of rocky minerality. Hmm, quite a worked chardonnay: Good quality oak, touch of grip but also astringency, butter, slight sour cream are the predominant notes on the palate which the muted fruit struggles to get through.
Red
2014 Craggy Range Pinot Noir Single Vineyard Te Muna Road Vineyard New Zealand, North Island, Wairarapa, Martinborough
Same glass so similar dusty aromas knock the muted pinot elements out of the, umm, glass. Bit of spice. Polished red cherry here. It's a bit hard green and tart on the palate. Meh.

Flight 2 - Bracket one - Pinot Noir (3 notes)

Of this lot the 2015 was quite a different beast and a far better wine though Mark felt this was probably the worst vintage from their perspective.

Red
2013 Craggy Range Pinot Noir Aroha New Zealand, North Island, Wairarapa, Martinborough
Medium minus aromas of cream, cherry, a little reductive a well and a touch green. Polished oak, wet, slightly sour and bitter cherry, bit of chalky tannic heft as well - bit much for a pinot for me.
Red
2014 Craggy Range Pinot Noir Aroha New Zealand, North Island, Wairarapa, Martinborough
Aromas of milk chocolate over muted cherry and polished oak. With time it opens up a bit and gets richer on the nose. Riper but still with touches of tartness on the fruit in the mouth. Again a bit of tannic heft, spice and bitterness on the palate that closes things down a bit and, for me, ruins the finish. Hmm.
Red
2015 Craggy Range Pinot Noir Aroha New Zealand, North Island, Wairarapa, Martinborough
Slightly dirty, dusty glass aromas. With agitation it shows pretty cherry with floral top notes and plain chocolate as well as a bit of spice and a touch of sharpness. It's s a little riper on the palate with muted cherry fruit and firm tannins. Bit of coffee as well. Despite the fruit ripeness this is also pleasantly fresh. Okay. Actually this is quite pleasant though it does highlight the relative lack of acidity in the 13 & 14.

Flight 3 - Bracket two - Syrah (3 notes)

I find the Le Sol is the most enjoyable of the Craggy Range wines.

Red
2015 Craggy Range Syrah Gimblett Gravels Vineyard New Zealand, North Island, Hawke's Bay, Gimblett Gravels
Polished oak, savoury and ripe blackberry and plum, actually tending to a bit of compote here. Very slightly meaty as well. More peppery spice on the palate and the fruit is a little sharper than the nose implies. Tannins are moderately drying but quite tight. Hmm. I don't really like the juxtaposition of the nose and the palate.
Red
2013 Craggy Range Syrah Le Sol Gimblett Gravels Vineyard New Zealand, North Island, Hawke's Bay, Gimblett Gravels
Funky, meaty, charcuterie, warm blackberry and black cherry, peppery spice, almost crushed rock notes. Juicy with black cherry compote sprinkled with a pinch of freshly ground black pepper. Fruit travels long with plentiful font of mouth grip. Tannins are fine and join on the long finish. Nice.
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Red
2015 Craggy Range Syrah Le Sol Gimblett Gravels Vineyard New Zealand, North Island, Hawke's Bay, Gimblett Gravels
Exceedingly similar to the 2013 but with a little less fruit ripeness and a little more black peppery spice as well as a touch of herbaceousness. A slightly fresher wine on the palate as well. The fruit is more contained, again plenty of front of mouth grip but otherwise fine tannins. Medium plus length. Pleasant.

Flight 4 - Bracket three - Bordeaux Blend (1 note)

Just the one in this bracket

Red
2015 Craggy Range Sophia New Zealand, North Island, Hawke's Bay, Gimblett Gravels
Pencil shavings, slight graphite, ripe black currant fruit with plum tending to umeboshi. Polished oak. On the palate it's juicy, fleshy but the fruit is subsumed beneath, admittedly smooth, tannins. I'm afraid I can't get excited by this.

Closing

Hmm…These wines are expensive for what they are - the Aroha's & the Le Sol are just too much at AUD 140…I feel a fairer price would be about AUD 80 for what it's worth (pun intended, sorry)

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