Craggy Range Gimblett Gravels 2015 Chardonnay and 2014 Te Kahu, Merlot and Syrah

Craggy Range, along with nearly every other Hawke’s Bay wine producer touted 2013 to be the best vintage in living memory, and with just cause judging by the stupendous quality of the ‘Prestige Collection’ Gimblett Gravels wines ‘Sophia’ and ‘Le Sol’. The Craggy Range ‘Family Collection’ wines of ‘Te Kahu’, Merlot and Syrah were also of an extremely high standard, signalling the outstanding nature of the season. A year on, and the 2014 vintage is also being described as outstanding. This is not just rhetoric, as the story is being told consistently, and the 2014 vintage Hawke’s Bay wines I’ve seen to date have borne out the superior quality.

However the 2013 and 2014 wines are different in style, this being the result of dissimilar growing conditions. Matt Stafford, Craggy Range’s chief winemaker notes that 2013 had a hot start to summer in December 2012 setting up ripe tannins, but the milder ripening period after allowed ‘nerve and freshness” to be maintained. For 2014 the heat did not arrive until January, requiring patience for tannin ripeness and sugar accumulation. Overall, 2014 was a warmer year (in terms of GDD), and the season gave larger berries. Matt sees the 2013s as having a "classical reserved feel” whereas the 2014s have "generosity of fruit and immediate deliciousness”. As is the case with twin outstanding years, the wines will be most interesting to compare and have their relative virtues debated over for many years. Here, I review the new release 2015 Chardonnay and 2014 ‘Te Kahu’, Merlot and Syrah, from the Craggy Range ‘Gimblett Gravels Vineyard’.


  • Craggy Range ‘Gimblett Gravels Vineyard’ Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2015
  • Craggy Range ‘Te Kahu’ ‘Gimblett Gravels Vineyard’ Hawke’s Bay Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon/Malbec/Cabernet Franc 2014
  • Craggy Range ‘Gimblett Gravels Vineyard’ Hawke’s Bay Merlot 2014
  • Craggy Range ‘Gimblett Gravels Vineyard’ Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2014

Latest wine reviews, news, events and more. 🍷
We respect your privacy.