2007 Craggy Range Sophia Merlot/Cab/Cab Franc

Tasted May 2012 with hickory smoked leg of lamb and roast vegetables.

This comes from that area in NZ north island called Gimblett Gravels, an astonishing breeding ground for outstanding red wines, mainly of the Bordeaux right bank mix, that is Merlot predominant.

Colour is deep rich crimson, no sign of any change over time yet. The nose has chocolate, plums, blackcurrant and spice, and still just a touch of the violets. The palate comes with all of the above, plus a wonderful texture and subtle oak impact; it’s medium to full bodied with the 14.5% alcohol level no longer noticed. The balance of all the parts is now superb, however the wine clearly will live for many more years; though I’m not sure how it will do so in our cellar, given the sheer class of the wine right now.

Bob Campbell gave it this review back in 2009, and he’s right, it’s only getting better.

‘A flagship blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec that thoroughly justifies its exalted status. Plump, ripe plum and dark berry flavours with a suggestion of floral and spice character plus a sensitive influence of classy oak. A very serious red that’s dangerously easy to drink now but will certainly repay cellaring. This is the best wine under this label since it was first made in 2001 and must surely be one of the top merlot-dominant blended wines made in the country.’ – 97 Points and 5 Stars, Bob Campbell MW for Gourmet Traveller Wine, 2009

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