Craggy Range ‘Prestige’ Release 2011

The preview afforded by the exceptional 2009 vintage ‘Gimblett Gravels'(and Te Muna) releases from Craggy Range earlier in the year has created an expectation of something superlative with the forthcoming ‘Prestige' wines. My ratings for the ‘Gimblett Gravels' wines averaged around 18.5/20 or 5 star, equivalent to gold medal standard. I wasn't too sure if Steve Smith MW was joking when he said "Wait until you see the ‘Prestige' wines, you'll need to go over the 20 point mark with them!” Certainly Steve wasn't joking about the quality of the 2009 vintage wines that he and his team at Craggy Range had made. It is accepted that 2009 in the Gimblett Gravels and Hawke's Bay, and for that matter in Martinborough, is an outstanding vintage. In The Bay, it is seen as better than the previous year. Across the board, all the producers I have tasted wines from have fared as well, if not better with 2009 than 2008, with the Bordeaux varietals and Syrah.

The 2009 Craggy Range ‘Gimblett Gravels' wines impressed me with their perfect ripeness levels and stunning finesse of tannin extraction. Click here to read my report on those wines. Now it is the time for the ‘Prestige' wines to speak. They are amazingly restrained for such statement wines, and the tannin extraction, as with the ‘Gimblett Gravels' wines is exemplary, if not more remarkably supple, considering how much more is built into these wines. How did they manage to combine such soft stylishness with so mch individual flavour and personality? Obviously a great deal of heart, soul, thought and work went into the 2009 ‘Prestige' wines. With all seriousness, they can be consumed with pleasure now, but of course, they will age very, very well. www.craggyrange.com

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