A preview look at Craggy Range 2013 wines

Like Craggy Range, Glengarry continues to be 100% family owned and proudly so.  Big fans of Craggy Range wines, we were thrilled to have the opportunity this week to preview the 2013 wines, due for release 1st June.


The Prestige Collection sits at the top of the Craggy Range quality ladder, encapsulating their very essence; single vineyard expressions that highlight the marriage between the ideal grape variety (or varieties) and the diversity of growing regions across New Zealand.

This year’s release is three wines all from the 2013 vintage, a vintage that is a little like 2009 or 2010 in Bordeaux; the vintage has had almost every superlative thrown at it. A defining vintage, vintage of a generation, the stars aligned. However you look at it, 2013 is an excellent vintage for Craggy Range. All three wines are superb and unique expressions not comparable to previous vintages. The great news is – I love the direction they are going in, these are the best Prestige wines from Craggy yet.

Discussing the difference in style with Matt Stafford during the tasting was enlightening. The magic of Craggy Range comes from the vineyards; that statement in itself is not new, there are lots of wineries that will tell you the very same thing. Only a few though will have the thorough understanding of soil and site that Craggy Range do. Craggy Range was established in the late 90’s when American born Terry and Mary Peabody set out to create a family legacy; a winery that would survive for generations and continue to be 100% family owned and managed. Once they had decided upon New Zealand they were introduced to Steve Smith who was the first specialist viticulturist in the world to pass the Master of Wine Examination. Steve and Terry set about searching for vineyard land and in the process established the concept that continues at Craggy Range today – producing only single vineyard wines across various regions. Matt Stafford’s background is in the science of soil and today he is the head winemaker at Craggy Range. The Prestige wines are from parts of the single vineyards that produce the best fruit. The selection is done in the vineyard, not later on in the winery with a selection of barrels.

Three wines coming up for release June 1: Aroha Pinot Noir from Te Muna in Martinborough, Le Sol from Gimblett Gravels in Hawkes Bay and Sophia from  Gimblett Gravels in Hawkes Bay.

Craggy Range ‘Aroha’ 2013 Te Muna Martinborough Pinot Noir 

40% whole bunch was used in the fermentation. The life and energy of this wine jumps out of the glass. Floral aromas greet you with vibrancy and flair; this is concentrated, yet at the same time, so delicate. The finish, lingering, dominated by black fruits and spice. A gorgeous balanced Pinot Noir.

Craggy Range ‘Le Sol’ 2013 Gimblett Gravels Syrah 

A gentler Le Sol than in previous years, this is all silk, satin, fine leather, spice and gentle tannins. Dark red fruits, gorgeous elegance with a brilliant finish. Delicate, fine balanced with dusty tannins.

Craggy Range ‘Sophia’ 2013 Gimblett Gravels 

Very closed on the nose, dense and tight. There’s a perfume of plum and cassis on the palate; Merlot dominant, there’s also Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot in the blend. The purity of character is impressive, precise, elegant with a long lingering finish. Finely structured and well balanced. More restrained and balanced than Sophia’s of the past, love the direction of this wine, stunning.

Alongside the Prestige wines we also tasted their respective little brothers: Aroha – Te Muna Pinot Noir 2012, Le Sol – Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2013 and Sophia – Te Kahu Gimblett Gravels 2013. The two 2013 reds particularly are well worth popping in the cellar, these are excellent 5 – 10 year cellaring wines from the very same exceptional vintage and talented team at Craggy Range.

Craggy Range 2013 Prestige Collection released on 1st June. The collection is available for purchase and pre-purchase online at Glengarry Wines. Matt Stafford will also be hosting a Craggy Range 2013 Prestige Collection tasting at Glengarry Victoria Park on 18th June.