Three additions for slumberland under the watchful gaze of KellerMäusefänger Mimi.
Wynns Michael Ltd Release Shiraz Coonawarra 2012- $$$ – drink 2020-2027. A gift from lovely L. High hopes for this classy Aussie.
Man O’War Ironclad Cabernet Waiheke 2012 – $$$ – drink 2020-2022. Odd to think that despite me having enjoyed wines from this producer for a few years now, there isn’t any in the Pool Room. There is now – this great cab!
Man O’War Valhalla Chardonnay Waiheke 2016 – $$$ – drink 2021-2024. And this one too.
A trio of new additions for the Land of Nod:
Giles Robin ‘Alberic Bouvet’ Crozes-Hermitage 2014 – $$$ – drink 2021-2024. This was the standout (affordable) wine from the recent Giles Robin Tasting I attended.
Lamont Riesling Central Otago 2014 – $$ – drink 2021-2024. I remember drinking an earlier vintage from this producer at La Boca Loca with L and Mum and Dad a couple of years ago. I loved the super-dry and austere mineral character of the wine. Quite foreboding, and unlike any Riesling I have tried before. Very interested to see how these two behave!
Not much to say about these wines. Being devoid of inspiration, and short of $$, I thought I had better get a few random cheap Bordeaux for the cellar, in the absence of any better idea. I really should just buy more Rieslings, hmm. But however…
They are all Cotés de Bordeaux, and had a good write-up in the shop. Let’s see in 5, eh?
Ch. Fongaban 2013 – $$ – drink 2018-2021
Ch. Mayne-Vallet 2009 – $$ – let it rest a bit and drink later this winter I guess.
L and I visited Craggy Range at their winery and cellar door situated beside dramatic Te Mata Peak near Havelock North in Hawkes Bay. We enjoyed one of the best and most entertaining and informative tasting and presentations I have ever attended. Our host was enthused and engaged and really knowledgeable. What he had to say as we looked at their wines was incredibly informative, and really encouraged me to buy up large!
Craggy Range Sophia Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay 2014 – $$$$+ – drink 2020-2029. This is a gorgeous merlot-predominant blend. Powerful. At the top of the game.
Craggy Range Le Sol Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay 2014 – $$$$+ – drink 2020-2029. An incredible Syrah. One of NZ’s finest wines.
Craggy Range Te Muna Four Martinborough 2014 – $$$$+ – drink 2020-2029. A delicious combination of Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Gewürztraminer co-fermented to make a single blended white wine in the Alsatian style.
We tasted though their latest releases of Syrah, Rose, Sauvignon Blanc, Aroha Pinot Noir (and a library wine!), and Riesling, and bought a few extra bottles to enjoy back in Wellington from the Fridge. The Savvy in particular was fantastic.
Produttori del Babaresco Nebbiolo Montestefano 2007 – $$$+ – drink 2017-2022. Plucked from the MS wine ballot after the Produttori del Barbaresco horizontal tasting. Delicious. One of the world’s great wine styles.
Elephant Hill Airavata Syrah Te Awanga HB 2013 – $$$$ – drink 2018-2028. Not tasted, but if judged by both the 2013 Syrah and Reserve Syrahs out of Elephant Hill this will be a Stunnah.
Esk Valley Heipipi The Terraces Merlot Malbec Franc Bay View HB 2013 – $$$$ – drink 2018-2028. Tasted at the Winery. Fantastic. A longsleeper, this.
Another three wines for aging:
Haha Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2015 – $ – drink 2018-2020. Decanter magazine Gold Medal awarded. I’ve been cellaring these for a few years now. Don’t disappoint. Super value.
Greywacke Wild Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2014 – $$$ – drink 2019. A Kevin Judd wine. Oak ferment, wild yeasts. I have tried and loved this.
More whites – a sister for the Savvy I bought last month, and a brace of Chardonnays that were highly regarded by the tasting panel at Dish Magazine earlier this year…
Te Mata Cape Crest Sauvignon Blanc Hawkes Bay 2014 – $$$ – Drink 2019-2024.
Spy Valley Chardonnay Marlborough 2014 – $$ – Drink 2018-2020.
A trois of aromatics this month:
Craggy Range Aroha Pinot Noir Martinborough 2014 – $$$+ – Drink 2019-2024. Tasted at an instore presentation, and highly rated – worth the splurge.
Te Mata Cape Crest Sauvignon Blanc Hawkes Bay 2014 – $$$ – Drink 2019-2024. A long-standing favourite of mine, & rated by GK at 18.5pts.
Felton Road Bannockburn Riesling Central Otago 2015 – $$$ – Drink 2025. A second bottle secured for the Long Haul.
All bottles stored under the careful watch of cellarmouser Mimi. Don’t give me that look, puss….
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…
If I can’t buy an old example of Célèbre at auction, I’d better start laying down new examples in my cellar and get the aging process going…
Ata Rangi Célèbre Merlot Syrah Cabernet Martinborough 2013 – $$$ – Drink 2020-2023.
Some notable reviews:
Bob Campbell MW | Bob’s Wine Reviews, June 2015 | 95 points.
Merlot (55%), Syrah (35%) and Cabernet Sauvignon. Robust yet elegant red wine with dark berry fruits, violet, cedar and spice flavours. A firm backbone of fine tannins offers structure and longevity without being too much of a barrier at this early stage. The best Celebre I can recall tasting. Drink 2015-2023.
Michael Cooper | http://www.michaelcooper.co.nz
Pronounced ‘say-lebr’, this is a blend of grape varieties – Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Robust and vibrantly fruity, it typically has impressive weight and depth of plummy, spicy, slightly herbal flavours in a complex style that matures well. There is no 2010 or 2012. The 2011 vintage (4.5*), the first since 2009, is a blend of Merlot (63 per cent), Syrah (27 per cent) and Cabernet Sauvignon (10 per cent). Richly coloured, it’s a stylish, youthful wine with fresh acidity and rich, vibrant blackcurrant, plum, spice and herb flavours, seasoned with quality oak. Showing excellent concentration and complexity, it’s already approachable, but should flourish with cellaring.