Craggy Range Sauvignon Blanc 2011, New Zealand
T his is a delightful expression of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc from an area that hasn’t gotten much attention. About 80% of New Zealand’s great wines are grown in Marlborough, but Craggy Range is in Martinborough.
Located at the southern tip of the country’s North Island, the area is just 90 minutes from the capital city Wellington. Only about one percent of New Zealand’s wines come from Martinborough, but if this wine is any indication of the region’s quality, we will be hearing a lot more about their wines.
The wine is a gorgeous deep yellow in the glass, with an intense aroma filled with peach and citrus. It has classic New Zealand flavors of lime and grapefruit, with a smooth finish and some minerality. Nice acidity gives the wine some structure and makes it a good food wine.
Teri and I had this wine with her sister and brother-in-law, Mary Jo and Russ. They live in Virginia and appreciate fine wines. They both loved this wine.
“It has a nice finish,” said Mary Jo, “well-balanced and not too sharp.”
“There’s a pleasant grassy taste with a nice, lingering aftertaste,” said Russ, who belongs to a group called the Men’s Wine Corps that conducts regular tastings.
Teri also thought it was pleasant and appealing.
The grapes come from several parcels in an area of limestone-influenced soil along the Huangarua River. Intervention in the cellar is kept to a minimum, with fermentation in French oak barriques and stainless steel tanks.
Craggy Range is a family owned winery specializing in the production of expressive single vineyard wines. Their Martinborough vineyard is located at Te Muna, which means “secret place”.
Serve this wine slightly chilled.
Winery: Terry Peabody and his family searched for 10 years to find the place and the people that could help him fulfill a dream – to make some of the best wine in the world.
In 1997 he and Steve Smith started developing Craggy Range, buying vineyard land from local farmers and choosing spots for their homes, cellars and restaurant. They wanted to make wines that expressed a vineyard’s terroir, so they specialized in single vineyard wines.
Peabody brought business expertise and serves as chairman, while Smith brought wine expertise and serves as wine and viticulture director. Their families also are involved in the venture.
They produce wine in two separate locations in the Martinborough region. Most of their wines are from single vineyards and include Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, a Bordeaux blend and a Riesling dessert wine.
Goes With: We tasted this wine with cheese and nuts as an apertif before dinner, and we all loved it. The wine was refreshing, with the acidity cleaning our palates nicely before the main course.
I also think it would be great with seafood, especially something like shrimp or scallops in a rich cream sauce.