Craggy Range 2011 Vintage ‘Prestige Collection’ Release

The ‘Prestige Collection’ release of Craggy Range from the Peabody family is one of the most significant for many wine enthusiasts of New Zealand Wine. With one of the strongest viticultural and winemaking teams and ultra-modern, fully-equipped winemaking facilities, the high-profile Craggy Range operation, led by the equally high-profile Steve Smith MW, produces absolutely superb wines that are benchmarkers. The 2011 ‘Prestige’ wine from the Gimblett Gravels is reckoned to be similar to the 2006s, and the ‘Prestige’ release from Martinborough will also reflect a more gentle, but classical expression, as well, and if the 2006s are examples, the new releases will be very worthwhile to collect and follow.

The 2011 Release is noteworthy on a number of counts. The 2011s will not be followed by a release of 2012 vintage Gimblett Gravels wines, as the vintage in the Hawke's Bay district was too cool and wet to provide material of the required standard to produces these wines. Instead the Hawke’s Bay fruit for the ‘Sophia’ and ‘Le Sol’ has been classified into the ‘Gimblett Gravels’ tier Syrah and ‘Te Kahu’ wines, making them possibly outstanding for their categories. The burgundian varieties in 2011 are important for different reasons. The ‘Les Beaux Cailloux’ Chardonnay will not be produced for some time now, as the wines for this wine were grubbed up due to virus. New plantings for this label will be established. However the ‘Aroha’ Martinborough Pinot Noir 2011 signals a settling of philosophy and approach in making this wine, following over a decade of experience variety in that district. The ‘Aroha’ will be made from the individual and superior ‘Block 19’ and Block 16’ sites only, the fruit managed and vinified accordingly to make "grand vin” as Steve describes ‘Aroha’.

I tasted the ‘Prestige’ Gimblett Gravels wines as previews at the ‘Deep Purple Wine Club’, and also the ‘Prestige’ Martinborough wine at a ’10 Year Te Muna Road Vineyard’ celebration at two different events in March. (Click here to see the ‘Deep Purple’ day report, and here for my article on the ‘Te Muna 10 Year’ event.) The wines impressed me immensely then. Here are my full and considered reviews of the wines now they have been released. www.craggyrange.com


  • Craggy Range ‘Les Beaux Cailloux’ Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2011
  • Craggy Range ‘Aroha’ ‘ Te Muna Road Vineyard’ Martinborough Pinot Noir 2011
  • Craggy Range ‘Sophia’ Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Merlot/Cabernet 2011
  • Craggy Range ‘The Quarry’ Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2011
  • Craggy Range ‘Le Sol’ Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2011

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