Craggy Range - Tuki Tuki Valley, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
In the shadow of one fallen giant --Te Mata, rises another that is perhaps even mightier.
Now if there is one name tourists know around here, it's 'Craggy Range'. This behemoth of a wine company has always been a heavy hitter, and with Master of Wine Steve Smith as one of the founding directors how could they not be?
Craggy's philosophy is all about old world values in a new world environment.
The classic 'new take on old model' way to go.
When you approach Craggy Range for the first time, I think awestruck is an appropriate word.
You drive down and all you can see is Te Mata soaring above you, the road is lined with trees and a magnificent set of buildings appears to the side of you.
My entrance was even better because, as I turned in the driveway, a helicopter flew low above me and landed on the lawn.
With an entrance like that I knew it was going to be a grandiose experience.
As I went inside I was greeted by a large modern cellar door full of photographs and information lining the walls.
One of my favourite features as I began my tastings was large aerial photographs of the main company vineyards.
This was especially important when it came to Craggy Range's Martinborough Pinot Noir which is grown at the beautiful Te Muna Road Vineyard which consists of two different terraces. One raised above the other each terraces plays host to a completely different composition of soil and rocks.
To help accentuate this difference, below the photographs were two large cylinders, one showing the stones from the upper terrace (best for Pinot Noir) and the other rocks with limestone from the lower terrace (most suitable for Sauvignon Blanc).
The tasting itself was very enjoyable. My host had a great sense of humour and told me many interesting details about each of the 7 wines I tasted.
Their first try at rosé was interesting and I think will improve in the years to come, my favourites were the astounding Gimblett Gravels Vineyard Syrah (Syrah from this area never fails to please) and the Te Muna Martinborough Pinot Noir.
Craggy Range is also home to the famous Terroir restaurant which I have yet to be able to visit.