Tuesday, July 3, 2012

'Craggy Range' Wines from New Zealand are PERFECT WINES by Philip S. Kampe

New Zealand’s  “CRAGGY RANGE WINES” are PERFECT  WINES by Philip S. Kampe

It is always an advantage to know and tell a story about the wine that you drink with your  guests or family. The wines from CRAGGY RANGE have that intriguing story that must be shared..
In 1997 Terry Peabody, an Australian businessman, visited New Zealand.
He was searching the world, at that time, to follow his dream . His goal was to find and start a winery, somewhere in the world, that would create a ‘Legacy’ for his family.
As chance has it, while in New Zealand, Terry Peabody met with Steve Smith who is a Master of Wine and noted viticulturalist. The two discussed Terry’s long range goal, which was to create new benchmarks with wines that would become internationally regarded as ‘World Classics’ .
Terry wanted his wines to be sold by fine wine merchants and on the wine list of the world’s best restaurants.
As chance had it, Terry sensed that New Zealand would be the perfect location for his winery. The climate was exceptional and the terroir would accommodate the varietals he would choose to plant.
Both Terry and Steve Smith agreed that to reach his goal, he would pursue the ‘Single Vineyard Philosophy’ of winemaking.
That philosophy is straight forward. The goal is to select and source the best land and vineyards in the country and plant vines perfectly suited for the terroir.
And that is what Terry Peabody and Steve Smith did. They were the first in the southern hemisphere to adopt such an approach from multiple regions of the country.
Today, the wines produced from their philosophy are sold at the finest wine shops and restaurants throughout the world. 
The winery at Craggy Range is world-class, using state-of-the-art technology. Meticulous craftsmanship and uncompromising standards set Craggy Range’s wines in a class by themselves.
I sampled three outstanding wines from the vineyard.
The first was the 2010 TE MUNA ROAD Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc. As we all know, New Zealand is known for their contribution of Sauvignon Blanc to the world. The Craggy Range Sauvignon Blanc follows Mr. Peabody’s philosophy of low intervention while letting the grape expose itself to elements of the terroir. The limestone soils, influenced by the Huangarua River, produce a distinctive, chalky texture that is both  complex and elegant at the same time. Using French oak to age, this 14% alcohol wine is vibrant with citrus acidity and an over the top  bouquet.
The second white wine I sampled was the 2010 KIDNAPPERS Vineyard Chardonnay. The wine is produced at Hawk’s Bay, known for its cool, temperate climate, which is perfect for Chardonnay.  The cool, yet, sunny environment allows for the development of intense Chardonnay flavors in the grapes. Combine traditional French Chablis winemaking techniques to Kidnappers Vineyard Chardonnay and the result is a mineral laden, chalky, lemony, peachy wine with balanced acidity and a long finish.
The 2009 TE KAHU Gimblett Gravels Vineyard is a Bordeaux blend wine made from Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. The wine is balanced, bright, acidic and is dark fruit forward. The wine is intense with soft tannins and is a perfect food wine.
Terry Peabody and Steve Smith have reached their goal of producing world-class wines in less than fifteen years of operation. What surprises me is how affordable the wines are.
The three styles I tried, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and the Bordeaux blend all retail in the $18-$22 range.


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