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New Zealand tasting notes

text and photographs © 2007 Tom Cannavan

These notes accompany our in-depth feature on New Zealand's North Island.

CRAGGY RANGE

Wild Rock, Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Lovely perfume with tropical fruit intensity and a fine, delicate floral note, not too much herbaceousness, but a little gooseberry hint. Very sweet, fine fruit on the palate, with a wonderful blend of sweetness and punchy, verdant, lime-slicked acidity. £8.99

Wild Rock, Marlborough 'Vin Gris' Pinot Noir Rose 2005
Lovely soft, strawberry and red fruit perfume. A touch of dried herbs, rose hip. Very nice fruit on the palate. An initial fruit sweetness like cherry and raspberry gives way to a fine acidity. Lovely texture and fruitiness. Good balance. £8.99

Wild Rock, Pinot Noir Martinborough 2004
Very fine Pinot expression, with a soft, quite delicate strawberry nose. Nice perfume and earthiness, a touch of damp, autumnal leaves. Lovely smoky, gently juicy fruit on the palate. It has plenty of acidity, but a nice fleshiness. Good, elegant oak comes through adding smokiness on the finish. £8.99

Wild Rock, Hawke's Bay Merlot 2004
100% Merlot (not in UK at moment). Fine, cedary quality, plenty of pencil shavings and ripe, creamy fruit beneath. On the palate there's a touch of boot polish and plenty of crisply delineated, vivid red fruit. Very dry tannins, with lots of acidity and crisp, lipsticky quality to the fruit. £7.99

Red Rock, Gravel Pit Red Merlot/Malbec 2004
Nice dark, dramatically rich black fruits on the nose. There's a nice richness and sweetness here, with hints of black olive, but mostly spicy, meaty black fruit. On the palate a good black fruit quality. Plenty of damson and bittersweet black plum and cherry, and a fine smoky rounding out with oak. Well-balanced. £8.99

Craggy Range, Old Renwick Vineyard Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Lovely opulence with a hint of oatmeal over very ripe fruit, with tropical notes and plenty of plush, ripe pear and peach. Palate has a rush of sweet fruit, but a searing core of grapefruit and lime acidity powers through. Lots of verve here, and a touch of lime and ripe, almost figgy touches on the finish. £10.99

Craggy Range, Avery Vineyard Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Slightly more austere at first, with a more mineral tone, and a fine citrussy fruit quality. The palate has lovely acidity - a big lime and wax core, with nectarine and juicy ripe ogen melon and peachy fruit. Very fine, with fruit sweetness playing against that core of mineral acidity. £12.99

Craggy Range, Te Muna Road Vineyard Martinborough Sauvignon Blanc 2005
22% oak fermented, 40% of which is new, partly wild yeast fermented. Big, leesy, waxy nose, with a dollop of acidity and just a touch of steely, mineral quality. Some herbal, grassy punch too. On the palate it is really ripe and tropical, with lots of pineapple and lychee flavours, around a fleshy nectarine quality, and then that acidity punches through, extending the finish where there is a supporting, mealy quality. £12.99

Craggy Range, Gimblett Gravels Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2004
100% whole bunch pressing, 100% barrel, 40% new. All wild yeast. Very distinctive nose. It is not quite nutty, or toasty, but has a minty edge and a lovely vivid fruit quality. A touch herbal and sage or thyme-like quality. On the palate the fruit is bold and tropical at first; a big sweet edged blast of pineapple and nectarine, but then a core of white fruit and white fruit acidity (apple and pear) comes through. Very good acidity, and a nutty, gently toasty level of oak just supports the long, juicy finish. £15.00

Craggy Range, Gimblett Gravels Hawke's Bay Merlot 2004
91% Merlot, a little Cabernet Sauvignon (possibly a little Cabernet Franc or Malbec in some vintages). Big, dusty, herbaceous and tobacco-streaked character on the nose. Lots of Sandalwood and cedar. Plummy fruit beneath. Terrific fruit sweetness. Palate filling and rich, but with a real cut of cherry acidity. Nice plush, plummy, chocolate-licked fruit, and a ripe tannic structure. The oak is warm and coffeeish, giving a plush, deep finish. Very attractive. £15.00

Craggy Range, Gimblett Gravels Hawke's Bay Syrah 2004
17 months in wood. 'We treat this like a Pinot' - no racking, hands-off. More depth and opulence here. There's a still a touch of charcoally edge. But a sweeter, more full fruitiness too. In the mouth it has a cool, long, quite polished but ripe and sweet black fruit - blackberry and black cherry, with some aromatic tones. Nice balance here, and a lovely sweetness marrying with grippy chocolate tannins and acidity. £18.99

Craggy Range, 'Sophia' Gimblett Gravels Merlot Cabernet Franc 2004
12 months in French oak, then blending, then back into oak for a further 8 months. Fine, very polished Sandalwood and cedar nose. Lovely fudgy depth, with licks of dark chocolate. Lots of spice and ripe, sweet black fruit. Very dry, juicy, palate-filling richness of fruit. Fine, silky tannins, with lots of chocolate and ripe fruit. Good acids, but this is all about quality of fruit and wood integration. Lovely quality here. Poised and elegant. £25.99

UK Agent: Louis Latour, Tel: +44 (0)207 409 7276

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