Wines of Craggy Range, Hawke’s Bay

These tasting notes accompany our feature on Hawke’s Bay as part of our New Zealand 2020 series


White Wines

(2020) Te Muna Road is the address of Craggy Range's property in Martinborough, though since acquiring another large vineyard nearby, some labels will now drop the 'Road' and simply state 'Te Muna'. Julian says this comes from a very humid site which doesn't produce every vintage. It sees eight hours skin contact, and half made in foudre, half in steel. Beautiful pale greenish colour. Clean, dry apple juice and lemon, there's a salty lick of minerals and lemon juice in a sheer style of Riesling where the 9g/l of residual sugar is entirely negated by its acidity. Price and stockist in the UK is for the previous vintage at time of review.
(2020) There is a Marlborough Sauvignon in the portfolio, but here we have a different expression from Craggy Range's Martinbourgh vineyards. Part was fermented in oak puncheons, part in steel. A little touch of creaminess and peach and lemon peel, a little passion fruit, but very little herbaceous character. A huge thrust of limey citrus zest on the palate leaves this mouth-watering in decisive.
(2020) Again, a combination of stainless steel tanks and puncheons for ferment and ageing, though not much oak influence on the nose. From shallow, warm clay loam soils near Cape Kidnappers in Hawke's Bay, lots of punchy citrus, orchard fruits, ripe fruit sweetness, a touch of waxy lemon character. A little nutty infill from the oak and good, lightly salty acidity balances nicely.
(2020) From a single block of Chardonnay this is fermented with wild yeasts in barriques, and spends 12 months in barrel (38% new) with 100% malolactic fermentation. Lovely nose, the crushed almond and sheen of oatmeal over pear, melon, and lemon meringue pie is fairly obvious, but the palate is both racy and concentrated, nutty notes, bright and juicy orange, and a rounding fruit concentration and texture. Price and stockist quoted is for an earlier vintage at time of review.

Red Wines

(2020) From 45 different sections of vineyards, a lovely perfume here, berries, truffle, a touch of woodsmoke. Sweet fruit on the palate, a little chestnut and briar, then a lip tingling spice. Tight tannins and acidity, a little grippy edge in the finish. Single bottle price given. Ministry of Drinks sells a case of six at £18.99 per bottle at time of review.
(2020) 50% whole bunch pressed, into oak cuves and steel. Aged in barrel, 30% new. Very dark, has an intense violet edge to the blue black fruit. Sweet, supple, savoury and silky in texture, it is fruity and dense, even quite plummy on the palate, but floral edged at all times showing finesse.
(2020) Concentrated glossy black fruit aromas, a refined violet edge. Immediately layered, plush and supple, taut tannins and the sweetness of fruit comes through again. Deliciously savoury, a tonic with savoury tannin and acid balance, supple, sweet length and spice.
(2020) Ramps up the sweet black fruit intensity. A tiny glimpse of violet and game here, of complexity with a meaty and ripe, umami, pastrami character on the palate, a beautifully sour cherry acidity too and fine tannins.
(2020) The blend is 58% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Franc and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon - plus 1% Petit Verdot. It spent 18 months in French oak barrels. Meat and graphite, touches of bloodiness and game, melt into black fruit. On the palate the citrus acidity and juicy, tight tannins give a long, quite firm finish.


Back to Craggy Range profile in our feature on Hawke’s Bay

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