L and I went to the wonderful Matterhorn for the annual dinner with fellow members of the Magnum Society. Encouraged to raid our cellars for suitable bottles of wine to bring along for sharing, we would be assured of a taste or two of some very good drops from fellow diners. And so it was.
I brought a brace of older Craggy Range wines, along with an aperitif Prosecco. The Les Beaux Cailloux Chardonnay 2011 was amazing and totally delicious. It lived up to GK’s billing as one of NZs best Chards. The Aroha Pinot Noir 2007 was less good. It had not aged well, and was showing thin and confected.
Of the wines I got to taste, the Volnays stood out as very good. I don’t remember much of the rest. I must say one table had a very impressive selection of Gevrey Chambertins. Not jealous, much.
The meal was fabulous, and I hope we eat there again next time.
2014 Aroha Pinot Noir, Le Sol Syrah and Sophia Melot Cabernet
I was pretty excited to read about a small pop-up tasting being hosted by Regional Wines to celebrate the release of the 2014 Craggy Range prestige wines – the Aroha, Le Sol and Sophia. Craggy Range is known for great wines, some of which I have collected in the Pool Room already, so I headed over to where winemaker Matt Stafford was on hand to take me through the wines.
It was just the three reds we looked at, starting with the Pinot Noir Craggy Range Aroha Te Muna Road Martinborough 2014 (14% $121). As with all the wines here I did not make any direct notes (it felt too gauche to do that) so I just tried to remember my impressions as I went along…we then tasted the Syrah Craggy Range Le Sol Hawkes Bay 2014 (14.5% $121), and finished up with the Merlot Cab blend Craggy Range Sophia Hawkes Bay 2014 (14% $96).
The wines all looked very aromatic and very fine. The fruit quality was there in all of them, the Aroha in particular was looking great and very varietal, with lovely red cherry fruit, and showing the developed rewarding typicity I am starting to see from Te Muna sites. The Le Sol, a much-lauded, and famous, NZ Syrah, was drinking a bit younger and less closed than its ’13 predecessor, with much beauty and grace (I did confess to Matt that I am kinda bewildered about NZ Syrahs, and am finding it hard to get my head around them). Meanwhile, the Sophia was showing much of the density and finesse you would expect of a top HB red blend but perhaps not as deep as I would want, if I have to quibble, but still a very good wine…
I would likely score all these wines in the low to mid nineties if I had the time and opportunity to do so…I liberated an Aroha for the Pool Room so I will see how it looks in five years time…
In keeping with the evening, I also bought bought a (much cheaper) Craggy Range Te Kahu 2013 for the home table…lovely, intense dark fruityness, dense & aromatic…didn’t disappoint. I have a couple more bottles Below Stairs which I will look at properly from 2018 onwards…