2013 Craggy Range "Sophia" Bordeaux Blend Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay (Elsewhere $90)

SKU #1221047 100 points Raymond Chan

 Very dark, deep, black-hued ruby-red with a youthful purple rim. The nose is very elegantly proportioned and tightly concentrated with aromas of ripe blackberry fruit entwined with black plums and blackcurrants. The aromatics show beautiful clarity and fragrance with lifted red and black fruits, along with fragrant spices, oak and smoke notes. This has great depth, intensity and finesse. Medium-full bodied, rich, sumptuous and luscious layers of ripe black plum and blackberry fruit are lifted by blackcurrants and sweet herbal notes, with fragrant red fruit, leaf and floral elements. The fruit is enhanced by nuances of spice and subtle oak richness. The wine is driven along with a very refined core of extraction, with elegance of structure and grip, and excellent linearity, the sweetness enlivened by juicy, ripe acidity. This has the perfect balance of freshness, vitality and mouthwatering richness, the flavours carrying through to a very long finish. This is a wonderfully elegant, sweetly rich, vibrantly refreshing Sophia, with refined structure and the balance to age 10-15 years. Serve with roast lamb, beef, venison, and with semi-hard cheeses. A blend of 62% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot from the ‘Gimblett Gravels vineyard, fermented to 13.8% alc., the wine aged 19 months in 42% new French oak barriques.

98 points Bob Campbell

 A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Lifted aroma with pronounced plum and floral characters. A complex array of flavours on the palate including plum, dark berry, chocolate, spice and a hint of violet. Gorgeous wine with plenty of weight, a silken texture and real energy. Will be very long-lived.  (8/2016)

97 points Sam Kim

 It was exciting and impressive to taste individual components but the blend is spectacular. Breathtaking fragrance and complexity - dark fruits, floral, spice and dried herbs with whispering cedary undertone. It's an undeniably concentrated and structured wine. Immensely appealing on the front palate, seamless and seductive through the middle, and exceptionally long and delicately drying at the end. A beautifully composed wine of enormous potential. A blend of about 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. To be released in mid 2015.

93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2013 Sophia Proprietary Red is intensely scented of crushed blackberries and blackcurrants with hints of cloves, cedar and violets plus a touch of pencil shavings. Medium-bodied and laden with muscular fruit, it has a solid backbone of grainy tannins and tons of vivacity in the long, multi-layered finish. 93+ (LPB)  (12/2015)

91 points Vinous

 (13.5% alcohol; 2013 was a great Merlot year, according to winemaker Matt Stafford, who noted that the selection for this bottling is made in October): Bright dark ruby. Deep, slightly medicinal scents of black cherry, black plum and dried herbs. Delivers a lovely blend of density, sweetness and reserve, offering a fine-grained texture and complicating soil tones to the well-delineated flavors of purple fruits and licorice. Finishes with rather noble tannins and sneaky length. The crop level for this bottling is typically between 6 and 8 tons per hectare, according to Stafford. This Bordeaux blend should age gracefully on its intensity and balance. (My second sample showed a much stronger licorice pastille quality on the nose and palate and less early sweetness.) (ST)  (5/2016)

Jancis Robinson

 Convincing evidence of this vintage's quality in Hawke's Bay. Hand picked 62% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot. In 42% new barriques for 19 months. Bright crimson and very bright fruit that is very beautiful and beautifully balanced. Super ripe but not sweet. Much fresher than the too-heavy bottle suggests. Really very accomplished. Long and neat. Really lovely wine that lasted well in an opened bottle - A Good Sign. 17.5/20 points  (7/2015)

Wine Spectator

 Opens with fresh green notes of eucalyptus and cedar wood, with a backbone of firm tannins and crisp, crunchy berry and plum flavors. Spicy, toasty accents linger on the finish. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. (MW, Web-2015)

K&L Notes

Thanks to our long relationship with Craggy Range, we can offer a very limited amount of these "Prestige Collection" wines. The 2013 Prestige Collection wines are some of the most highly awarded wines ever released from Craggy Range. 2013 has been hailed the "vintage of a lifetime" in New Zealand, don't miss these. (Ryan Woodhouse, K&L NZ Wine Buyer)

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Price: $69.99
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Varietal:

Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.
Country:

New Zealand

- New Zealand is an extremely diverse wine-growing nation. The long history of producing wine started in the 1830s with wineries such as Mission Estate (1850) and Te Mata Estate (1896) still producing wine today. The two islands hold a multitude of different growing climates ranging from warmer areas such as Hawke’s Bay to very cool regions such as Waitaki, and Awatere. Most regions are defined as Maritime with the exception being Central Otago that has a moderate Continental climate with the high elevation creating dramatic diurnal swings in temperature. The plethora of grapes grown in New Zealand reflects this diverse microclimate make up. Everything has a place here, Bordeaux varietals and Syrah in Hawke’s Bay, Chardonnay and Pinot in Nelson, Pinot Noir and Riesling in Central Otago , aromatic whites in Waipara and pretty much everything you can imagine in Marlborough. New Zealand is also one of the “greenest” wine producing nations on earth (94% of wine certified sustainable in 2013) with a strong focus on organic and Biodynamic farming.
Alcohol Content (%): 13.8