New Chief Winemaker Julian Grounds was an inspired if slightly avant-garde choice after the previous sets of steady hands that had driven Craggy’s reputation for very well mannered, classical wines with no edges, with a strong following amongst those who enjoy the slightly old school luxurious vibe of the Prestige Collection. Julian is clearly mindful of the pedigree and weight of expectation attached to the Prestige range, seeking to make changes slowly rather than a lurch into the unknown, but it’s also clear from the wines that he’s brought a new energy.
Winemaker Jannine Rickard’s Instagram is not for the faint-hearted but does give very good insight into why her personal label has been called Huntress. This is her second release of wines under this label, a subtle, smart trio that is well-formed and food-friendly. Fruit is sourced from a number of vineyards in Gladstone and Wairarapa.
Bendigo is a tricky subregion to get right, its (relative) heat and exposure can render it chunky and charmless at times but Rudi is very much amongst the safest of Bendigo hands. The alignment of his experience on his site and winemaking skill have delivered a fitting tribute to the vineyard that put the subregion on the map.
Central Otago’s Grasshopper Rock is located in Alexandra, a sub-region chosen (according to the GR website) for being the most world’s most southerly, the driest in NZ, and the one that experiences the biggest diurnal temperature shift (Alexandra has also recorded New Zealand’s hottest and coldest temperatures). Extreme to say the least. So it always…
For a team as experienced as the Dog Pointers (surely some of the most consistently capable of hands) it would take a catastrophic upset for the wines to be anything other than excellent. So when the year’s new releases arrived from the winery there was an initial fleeting thought; “do we actually need to review these or shall we just drink them?”
Ata Rangi Pinot Noir regularly graces the lists of top New Zealand wines, the likely legacy of great vineyards, increasing vine age, continuity of people and the assured hand of winemaker Helen Masters. The most recent releases of the flagship estate pinot and its sibling ‘Crimson’ deliver poised and delicious but never showy wines.