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"2005 Le Sol is simply an incredible wine, a massive nose of black plum, game and a touch of tar, the palate full-bodied with robust tannins and just like the great Northern Rhone producers, delivers a svelte, elegant finish that belies the powerful fruit that charges this wine along. If you doubt New Zealand can make world-class wines, then try this."-Wine Advocate
Craggy Range's Gimblett Gravels vineyard supports 200 acres of vines, the majority of which are Bordeaux varieties. Thirty-six varietal plots are matched to the variations in depth and texture of the gravel soils of the Ngaruroro River old stream bed. Of these, six are planted to 27 acres of Syrah, and two of these, lying on soils higher in gravel and lower in loam, yield fruit for Le Sol ("the soil"). Vines in these two parcels are of an old, pre-phylloxera selection of Syrah thought to have been brought to New Zealand by James Busby in the 1830s. Density of planting is an intense 1,335 to 2,105 per acre, and the vines are cane-pruned and the shoots vertically positioned. Extensive shoot, leaf and cluster thinning reduce yield and maximize exposure to the sun and reflected heat from the stones.
Syrah is the last variety to be harvested in this vineyard, hand picked very late in the latter part of April when the berries are slightly wrinkled and have reached 24º to 27º brix. The grapes are chilled overnight to 45ºF, sorted and destemmed directly into the tank, with part the fruit going in as whole clusters depending on maturity. Following an eight to ten-day cold soak, fermentation is initiated with indigenous yeasts and the cap regularly hand-plunged.
Crafted on the French model of Syrah, Craggy Range Le Sol is deep black purple in color, with heady aromas of sweet black berry fruit, blueberries, exotic spices, black pepper and a hint of dustiness. These complex impressions are confirmed on the dense, highly defined palate set in a structure of sweetly elegant, tight tannins and finely honed acidity. The finish is long, penetrating and integrated.
From the beginning, Craggy Range Winery has some great land and vineyards and a wonderful home in which to weave the strands together. The first wines made in the 1999 vintage are from small parcels of mature vineyards in Marlborough and Hawkes Bay. The wines show the character of the vineyards and the Craggy Range philosophy of wine both inside and outside the bottle. In time, as the vines mature on their own estates, the wines of Craggy Range Winery will without doubt express their origin and the commitment and skill of their people.
Hawkes Bay is the second largest wine region, following Marlborough. The area is known for its shmorgasborg of different microclimates and soils. Gimblett Gravels, while sounding like a character out of Lord of the Rings, is a soil and a district in the area. Gimblett Gravels are a gravelly mix that absorb and retain heat, much like the soils of Graves in Bordeaux or Chateauneuf du...Read More About Hawkes Bay
(seh-RAH/shee-RAHZ) It's a Smokin' Grape Syrah and Shiraz - same grape, different name. It's a popular and adept variety, growing in multiple regions and creating many different styles of wine. The home base of Syrah is the Northern Rhone, where it creates the exclusive wines of Hermitage and Cote Rotie. On the less pricy side, the Rhone makes Syrah-based wines in Crozes...Read More About Syrah/Shiraz
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