Craggy Range Le Sol shiraz 2007

90+ points

Craggy Range, Hawkes Bay, NZ. 14%

Quite a sophisticated show pony. Well judged expensive oak frames silky cool climate shiraz. It’s good.

I just fear that it seems to lack character. Perhaps with age?

And I find the price a bit disconcerting. This is exciting cool climate shiraz but it has a number of Australian competitors now. It stands out for sophistication but some of its competitors have pedigree, distinctiveness, regional character and/or price advantages.



Stonyridge Larose Cabernets 1999

81 points

Waiheke Island, Auckland. 13%

First bottle was barely drinkable, very ordinary. This one has an odd sheep shed aroma (I appreciate the humour in this being a NZ wine). Palate is not particularly inviting, green flavours with rotting ripeness. Very savoury, not so bad with food.

When I grew up in NZ this was an icon wine. This is very disappointing.


Puriri Hills 2005 Estate

91 points

Clevedon, Auckland, NZ. 13.5%

There is an old saying that there are no great wines just great bottles. A reference to how variable bottlings and corks could be once upon a time.

Puriri Hills Estate can be like that, but this was one of the great bottles. Rich ripe fruit with depth and freshness. Just a touch of brett. Great character.

Enjoy now.


Thornberry Merlot 2007

80 points (with potential to get better, or worse)

Hawkes Bay, NZ. 14%

How’s this for different reviews (see below), the first comes from Geoff Kelly, the 2nd I found online from someone who like me took Geoff Kelly’s advice. Personally I had a similar experience. I bought a case given his review and the low price – then when I tried it I was surprised that it was such a dense charmless wine. Now that it is 5 years old it has softened a bit but it is still without charm or character.

Geoff Kelly wrote:

2007 Thornbury Merlot Hawke’s Bay 18.5+ (*****)
Gimblett Gravels, Hawke’s Bay,New Zealand:14%;$20 screwcap; hand-harvested Me 89%, CS 9, Ma 2; extended 4 weeks cuvaison; 16 months in French and American oak 30% new; a Villa Maria group label
Ruby, carmine and velvet, a little denser than 2007 Coleraine. Bouquet is remarkably close in style and achievement to Coleraine, but a little softer,less aromatic and cassisy, more floral and smooth. These characters fit in with the Thornbury being merlot almost entirely, unlike the cabernet-imbued Coleraine. Palate has the same velvety quality of perfectly ripe fruit harvested at a grand cru cropping rate, and raised in good oak. The American component does not stand out, the oak may not be quite so exquisitely (potentially) cedary as the Coleraine,but this is wonderful wine at a sensational price. My understanding is the Thornbury label is (loosely speaking) a winemaker’s play-label within the Villa Maria group,to try and achieve something remarkable. They have succeeded superbly here. Cellar 5 – 15 + years. EXTRAORDINARY VALUE GK 03/09

Anonymous wrote:

Tasted by toddr on 4/24/2009 & rated 88 points: Interest wine. Geoff Kelly raves about it, but the overwhelming impression is acid, leaning to tartness/sourness. Wonderful concentration, lovely dense nose of fruit, florals, pepper. Slightly lifted. Palate is concentrated claret, more cab sav than cepage would suggest. after 5 days progressive sampling and chilling it is opening up, but good points aside, practically undrinkable as a pop’n’pour.If GK is right this wine will soften out yet maintain its freshness and be unbelievably good in 10 to 15yrs. If he’s wrong the fruit and tannins will disappear and leave a bottle of acid. I’m tempted to get a case just for my own education rather than enjoyment – I can’t see it coming together, personally (417 views)