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Craggy Range Sauvignon Blanc 2002
In its youth the wine is moderate straw in colour with green tints. Aromas are reserved and quite exotic with hints of lime, peach, honeysuckle, passionfruit and gooseberry. Even in this cool year there is not a hint of greenness. Flavours are exuberant as is often the case with young vines. Ripe flavours of sweet gala apples, lime and rich tropical fruits predominate in a lush textured style with a long dry grainy finish. The presence of this grainy texture is particularly encouraging as this is not often found in young vines. The wine will drink superbly when young , some 12 to 18 months after vintage.
The grapes, grown in exceptional winery-owned New Zealand estate vineyards in Hawke’s Bay, Martinborough and Marlborough, are selected for their special soils and unique climates producing wines of character, quality and authority. The architecturally inspired Giants winery complex and vineyard is also home to the Craggy Range Cellar Door and the award winning restaurant Terroir at Craggy Range. Nestled amongst the vines, the four Craggy Range Vineyard Cottages offer self-contained boutique accommodation.
Part of the Wairarapa region in the southern end of the country’s North Island, Martinborough is a bucolic appellation full of artisan, lifestyle wine producers. Above all else, their goals are to tend vineyards for low yields and create wines of supreme quality. Pinot noir is the main grape variety here, occupying over half of the land under vine.
Comparing topography, climate and soils, the region is nearly identical to Marlborough except that it produces top quality reds on the regular.
A crisp, refreshing variety that equally reflects both terroir and varietal character, Sauvignon Blanc is responsible for a vast array of wine styles. A couple of commonalities always exist, however—namely, zesty acidity and intense aromatics. The variety is of French provenance, and is important in Bordeaux and the Loire Valley. It also shines in New Zealand and California, while Chile and South Africa are excellent sources of high-quality, value-priced Sauvignon Blanc. High-quality Sauvignon Blanc is also produced in Washington State, Australia, and parts of northern Italy.
In the Glass
From its homeland in the Loire Valley, where citrus, flinty, and smoky flavors shine through in Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume, to Marlborough, New Zealand, where it is pungent, racy, and “green” (think grass, leaves, gooseberries, and bell peppers) and tastes of grapefruit and passionfruit, Sauvignon Blanc has something to offer every wine drinker. In Bordeaux, it is typically blended with Sémillon and Muscadelle to produce a softer, richer style. In California, any of the aforementioned styles can be emulated.
The freshness of Sauvignon Blanc’s flavor—from bell pepper and cut grass to passionfruit, gooseberry, and ripe kiwi lend it to a range of light, summery dishes including salad, seafood, and mild Asian dishes. Sauvignon Blanc settles in comfortably at the table with notoriously difficult foods like goat cheese and asparagus. When combined with Sémillon (and perhaps some oak), it can be paired with more complex seafood and chicken dishes.
Along with Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc is the proud parent of Cabernet Sauvignon. That green bell pepper aroma that all three varieties share is no coincidence—it comes from a high concentration of pyrazines (an herbaceous aromatic compound) inherent to each member of the family.