It has been said the finest tailors dress simply. It is all about the cut and the cloth. I was thinking about this as walked down Savile Row after tasting Craggy Range wines from New Zealand. The brightness of the sky and the clean rocks are the good basic materials for these wines.
What marks Craggy Range as unique is the clean taste on the tongue after tasting. Like licking a pebble from a stream. I don’t mean “clean” as opposed to “dirty”; this is clean as in freshness and vitality. And I don’t mean “simple” as in “dull”; I mean simple as in expert tailoring.
I have had this clean sensation in white wines, but never so pronounced in a red. They are total savoury and zero sweet fruit.
To be honest, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is not my favourite wine. The bright gooseberry and citrus notes from Marlborough are too bright and about as fun to me as suddenly facing car headlights on a dark road. That said, the 2010 Craggy Range Sauvignon Blanc Te Muna Road from Martinborough, not Marlborough, is not too frighteningly bright. Very balanced and restrained with notes of the herb garden: spearmint, parsley, cut grass. A very stylish wine for only £13.
The 2009 Craggy Range Pinot Noir from Pinot Noir is a tailored expression of the volcanic
soils in Martinborough. It would be difficult to compare with any Pinot Noir from Burgundy or elsewhere in the world because it has a distinct taste of the warm earth. About £22 – £24 per bottle.
Unlike the Savile Row style from Martinborough, the 2009 Pinot Noir from Calvert Vineyard from Bannockburn, Central Otago is still wearing a suit but more like a suit worn by Elton John. Central Otago has an energetic UV light, with different soils, and creates wines with a heavier fruit and weight. This is a fuller expression closer to Felton Road. £28.
You can taste the sea in the Bordeaux blend of Te Kahu from Hawkes Bay. Like a sea sailor puffing a lovely warm pipe. (£15) From the famous Gimblett Gravels Vineyard in Hawkes Bay, which has 600 metres depth of gravel. This is the second wine to the “Sophia” which is a tight core of fruit at this stage – very pulled together and mannered – yet, with great depth (£35).
Syrah shows some very interesting characters when it comes from Hawke’s Bay. The Craggy Range wines are very mineral and vital wines with a slight white pepper and flowers.
The top wine 2009 “Le Sol” from Gimblett Gravels Vineyard has deep bramble fruit with strong tannins and slightly leather perfume. This is a Savile Row tailors wine. The nose seems more opulent than the palate, just like a good suit, look closer – it’s all about the cut, which means this is one keep and will keep looking good for the next 8 to 10 years.