Craggy Range Prestige Collection 2013 Sophia, Le Sol and Aroha release

Craggy Range 2013 Prestige Release13 months ago, we first tasted, 'en primeur', the barrel components that would eventually become Sophia 2013.

Steve Smith MW, Director of Wine at Craggy Range, was there - and had a quiet pride about him.

Even in such an embryonic state, it was obvious these 2013 Prestige reds were something else, something new - something that, perhaps, had never been seen before in New Zealand. We'd heard about the exceptional growing season, how the stars had aligned in a confluence of warm, bone-dry days and cool, clear nights. About the extended growing season that had allowed winemakers to pick at perfect physiological maturity, rather than staring anxiously at the rain radar. About terms like "vintage of a generation" and "vintage of my lifetime."

But there's a lot that can go wrong between harvest and bottling, when a thousand separate winemaking decisions will decide if this will be a 'very good' or a 'truly great' wine. It's the human element of the word terroir and, as we know, humans are innately fallible.

It's why we always reserve our judgment until the final wine has been bottled. When the Prestige Collection sample bottles arrived a couple of weeks ago, we wondered if the wines could really be as good as we hoped. After carefully pulling the corks and decanting the 3 wines, we gave them several hours to breathe and compose themselves, to show us their true essence.

Craggy Range 2013 Prestige ReleaseWe're very pleased to declare that after a fascinating tasting session involving all our staff (no one could stay out of the room) - that Matt Stafford's debut Prestige Collection is out of this world. Sophisticated, suave, stylish and sensual… The winemaker's touch is light and the 2013 wines retain the benefit of the wisdom of the Rod Easthope era - and continue forward to carve a new high water mark for NZ red wines.

The scores our panel gave the wines - for what they're worth - are as high as any we have ever handed out to NZ wines. The allocations are sadly not as generous, with demand ramping up to unprecedented levels.

Anyone who has a cellar, or has ambitions of starting one, should be well aware that these wines will be the cornerstones of great NZ cellars for years to come.

Craggy Range Aroha Pinot Noir 2013

Craggy Range Aroha Pinot Noir 2013

Everything we love about Martinborough Pinot Noir - a true Grand Cru in every sense.

"Ravishingly perfumed, deliciously savoury and silky" Michael Cooper

5 Stars
- Michael Cooper
Gold - Decanter World Wine Awards
95/100 - Jamie Goode
19+/20 - Raymond Chan
95/100 - Fine Wine Delivery Co

Te Muna Road is home to some of Martinborough's finest Pinot Noir, and Craggy Range have made the most of superlative growing conditions in 2013 to craft a very Burgundian style Pinot Noir. Made using 40% whole-cluster fermentation and aged 11 months in 32% new French Oak, this epic wine marks a coming of age for this label.

SMELLS: Summer clove hay and undergrowth, with earthy red fruits, tamarillo, plum and cherry, with delicate floral notes.

TASTES: Deep, soft and full, immense fruit sweetness is well supported by the whole-bunch influence of sweet dried herbs. While still very youthful, this is already showing signs of being an all-time classic NZ Pinot Noir. Expect this wine to give great pleasure between now and 2025.

Craggy Range Le Sol Syrah 2013

Craggy Range Le Sol Syrah 2013

Years of refinement have led to this - the most, elegant and concentrated Le Sol yet!

98/100 - Bob Campbell MW
5 Stars - Michael Cooper
19.5+/20 - Raymond Chan

Never before in NZ history has a wine release been so hotly anticipated. After some time in the decanter, one sniff of this and the hysteria is instantly justified. Crafted from 100% MS clone Syrah grown on the famous Block 14 vineyard, the wine is aged 18 months in French Oak (32% new). 2013 is a vintage that will go down in history - make sure it goes down in your cellar too!

SMELLS: Densely packed aromatics but with a floral lift that's startling. Freshly polished leather, blackberry, brown spice and clove, the glass revealing something new with each re-inspection.

TASTES: Highly concentrated and elegantly layered but yet medium bodied at 13.1% alcohol, this wine is quintessential cool climate Syrah made with no expense spared. A departure from the 'more is more' ethos of earlier vintages, the tannins play a supporting role to the weight of fruit, the final package brilliantly polished with savoury nuances beginning to emerge. This wine will be extremely long-lived but has a deceptive approachability about it. Give it until 2019 in the cellar and then watch it develop from there.

Craggy Range Sophia 2013

Craggy Range Sophia 2013

About as close to perfect as you can imagine a young NZ wine being…an all-time classic Sophia!

"This 'Sophia' has remarkable vitality and life…it will age 15+ years" Raymond Chan

20/20 - Raymond Chan
5 Stars - Michael Cooper
95/100 - Jamie Goode
93-95/100 - (barrel sample)

Already given a rare perfect 20/20 by Raymond Chan, this 2013 Sophia looks set to be the launching pad for Craggy Range's global domination. 62% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot, it's perfection in a glass, with a long life ahead of it. Aged 19 months in 42% new French Oak.

SMELLS: Bewitching perfumes float from the glass, too many dark florals to name, leather, sandalwood, violets, pencil shavings, plum, cassis, steel and currants.

TASTES: Finest dark Belgian chocolate envelopes the many layers of fruit and mineral nuances, hints of cigar box emerging, the pristine fruit calling to mind summer plums, juicy and perfectly ripe, the blackberry and raspberry (minutes later!). Luxurious and velvety on the palate with subtle, fine tannins, the finish has striking length and complexity. A transcendent wine, about as close to perfect as you can imagine, this wine will cellar for 20 years, though it's the most approachable Sophia upon release that we can remember. Our advice? Tell the kids this is their inheritance and push the boat out! Allocations are very limited.