2017 Craggy Range Pinot Noir Te Muna Road Vineyard

Year: 2017
Appellation: Martinborough
Country: New Zealand
Wine Spectator: 92
Wine Advocate: 88
James Suckling: 92
Wine Enthusiast: 91
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 13.0%
Price :
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"Appealing for the blend of savory details and fresh fruit core, with pine needle and loam notes, cranberry and raspberry flavors, and pops of white pepper. Strikes terrific balance, particularly on the finish, where everything is in harmony. Drink now through 2032. 2,900 cases made, 650 cases imported. -MW" (WS)

"Cola and black cherries appear on the nose of Craggy Range's 2017 Pinot Noir. It's medium-bodied and fully ripened, without any noticeable herbal notes, even if it's not the most concentrated or richest Pinot. A gentle streak of silky tannins gives the palate shape and focus, lingering onto the finish. It's a fine value and solid introduction to Martinborough Pinot Noir.

The past year has been full of change at Craggy Range, culminating with the departure of longtime winemaker Matt Stafford and the appointment of Julian Grounds as chief winemaker. Grounds was previously at McHenry Hohnen in Margaret River and is a rising star on the Australian circuit, having been named Dux in 2017 of the prestigious Len Evans Tutorial. As his official first day on the job was the day after my visit to the winery, I met with general manager Aaron Drummond, who presented the winery's prestige range. The following wines were made under Stafford's guidance, so it will be interesting to see how much latitude Grounds is given in tweaking wine styles going forward. The newest releases include the return of two bottlings that have been absent from the lineup since the 2011 vintage: Les Beaux Cailloux Chardonnay and The Quarry Cabernet Sauvignon. Of the two, I found the 2016 The Quarry particularly impressive; alas, both are already sold out at the winery. Note that there will be no Le Sol, Sophia or The Quarry from the 2017 vintage, as the weather failed to cooperate. Production of the 2017 Les Beaux Cailloux, however, inched up to 250 cases. Finally, for visitors to the property, I cannot recommend the redesigned restaurant highly enough. Not only was the cooking of Head Chef Casey McDonald superb, the entire eight-course Hawke's Bay Menu-focused on the local summer produce-was a very reasonable NZ$75. Don't miss it if you happen to be in the region." (WA)

"The fresh and poached red cherries and blueberries are enticing with a very smooth, fresh and supple core of silky, fine tannin and a vibrant, lively finish that holds plenty of cherry flavor. Drink now. Screw cap." (JS)

"A sturdy and harmonious expression of Martinborough Pinot, this bottling opens with ripe cherry fruit, licorice, earthy spice and mineral nuances, backed by some mealy oak. The palate is medium in weight, the tangy fruit cinched by sinewy, drying tannins. It's a touch woody, but there's enough fruit and spice to balance it out. Drink now–2028. -Christina Pickard " (WE)

Winery Notes:
Bright red with vibrant crimson hue. Enticing pure fruit aromas of red cherry and raspberry meld with rose and damp earth. Supple and fleshy across the palate with a youthful fruit profile and lovely fine tannins creating an elegant dry finish. Beautifully varietal.

The higher elevation Te Muna Road Vineyard is harvested about a week later than nearby sites in Martinborough, resulting in grapes with terrific freshness and acidity. Gentle handling with whole-bunch fermentation and delicate French oak Barrique treatment ensures a floral wine which embodies the distinctive, intense fruit characters of the region.