Craggy Range ‘Prestige Collection’ 2016 Vintage

12-Sep-2018

The Craggy Range ‘Prestige Collection’ wines represent some of the finest wines of the Gimblett Gravels, Hawke’s Bay and New Zealand, and they now have a 16 vintage provenance that indicates they are world-class wines. The Peabody family endorsed Steve Smith MW’s recommendations on planting in the Gimblett Gravels, and then a little later in Te Muna, in Martinborough, and as a result the ‘Prestige Collection’ wines are among the most anticipated releases.

Over the 16 years, there has been continued development and evolution; the first releases were truly showcase wines that stopped everybody in their tracks. The recent vintage releases made by winemaker Matt Stafford have been far more elegant, and entice a drinker into the wine. The original wines were the Les Beaux Cailloux Chardonnay, ‘Le Sol’ Syrah, the ‘Sophia’ Merlot-blend and ‘The Quarry’ Cabernet Sauvignon-based blend, all from the Gimblett Gravels. These were joined by the ‘Aroha’ Te Muna Road Pinot Noir with the 2006 vintage. Not every label has been made in every vintage, ‘Les Beaux Cailloux’ ceasing production with the 2011 vintage due to virussed vines. The last vintage of ‘The Quarry’ was in 2011, after which the growing seasons were insufficiently favourable to support the making of the wine. And interestingly, there was no 2010 vintage ‘Aroha’, but there was one made in 2012, seen to be a challenging year.

This new ‘Prestige Release’ has all five wines again. 2016 carried a strong El Nino prediction which suggested a dry summer and ripening period for the country. However, as all winegrowers know, it doesn’t necessarily turn out that way. Hawke’s Bay experienced a very cold and wet start to the growing season. But the latter part saw one of the hottest seasons on record. Thankfully the Martinborough region experienced a superlative growing season with warm and dry conditions throughout. There is talk of 2016 being comparable to 1998, but that would not take into account the uniqueness of the 2016 season per se, especially the cooler start for Hawke’s Bay.

Here, I review the 2016 vintage Craggy Range ‘Prestige Release’ wines. The ‘Aroha’ has a completeness that I haven’t seen in the wine so far, and the Gimblett Gravels wines, including the Chardonnay, display a beautiful richness with elegance. With these wines, I have omitted the varietals employed in their names, as Craggy Range prefer to use their proprietary names for the wines and do not have the variety as part of their nomenclature. www.craggyrange.com


FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW

  • Craggy Range ‘Les Beaux Cailloux’ Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay 2016
  • Craggy Range ‘Aroha’ Te Muna Martinborough 2016
  • Craggy Range ‘Le Sol’ Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay 2016
  • Craggy Range ‘Sophia’ Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay 2016
  • Craggy Range ‘The Quarry’ Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay 2016

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