I’m really not one for New Years resolutions. But I’m always happy to lend a hand for those of you who make them! And I’ll offer my support in any area, really- but if you should happen to desire to DRINK MORE in 2011 (or even just learn more about wine), I can certainly offer my services! So I’m starting 2011 off with one of my favorite wines of 2010. I had fully intended to have this be a end-of-the-year post, but life gets a little too intense in the last two weeks of December, as I’m sure you know.
But now we get to breathe and relax! And take some time with a good bottle of wine again! So allow me to reiterate: I FREAKING LOVE THIS WINE. I’d like to hail myself as having known the Craggy Range wines were something special when I first tasted them back in early summer. As anyone who is in the restaurant business knows, we taste a lot of wines with different distributors over the course of any given week- and let’s be honest- not all of them are mind-blowing. I am almost always polite when I taste wine, but a lot of times am forced to do the smile and nod. Smile and nod.
But every so often you have to do the “holy s@*!” and really mean it! As in this case, with the Craggy Range Te Kahu, 2008 Hawkes Bay, New Zealand- a blend of 64% Merlot, 15% Cebernet Franc, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Malbec.
I have a clear memory of the first time I tasted you, Te Kahu: I of course, was only half-listening to the schpiel about what I was tasting (true confession, sometimes I only half-listen until I realize it’s worth listening TO) and I assumed you were a Pinot Noir at first- why? because I don’t think I’d ever had a red wine from New Zealand that wasn’t Pinot Noir. True story. As soon as I smelled you, I knew I loved you. But no, no. You are definitely not Pinot Noir.
Rich and intense on the nose, it offers deep blackberry, exotic notes of sandalwood and incense, bay leaves, black olive and cinnamon. There’s a nice salinity to this wine as well, that make it a really nice match for food. Red meat is kind of a given, as Te Kahu’s tannin really calls for something to match it’s intensity. However, it manages to strike a nice balance between a big red that you can sip on solo AND a big red that you can eat with a steak. Hints of chocolate, tobacco and an untamed, wild and savory sort of personality round this bad boy out.
I sold a case of this wine, bottle by bottle, BEFORE it’s cool little 92-point rating from Robert Parker came out! AND before your sister wine, the 2008 Te Muna Road Pinot Noir, was named one of the Top 100 Wines of the Year by Wine Spectator! AND before Wine Enthusiast gave Craggy Range a 2010 Wine Star award for New World Winery of the year! I knew you were a winner, Te Kahu! And the more exciting part was that everyone I sold it to loved it. You might think, a case? that’s not really that much. Well, it is when you’re a small wine shop. And it is when you consider that we sell mostly $15 and under bottles of wine, and Te Kahu’s price at the time was $28. We have a little over a case left right now, and we’re selling it for $24! And yes, it’s the same wine. We didn’t take a glass out and then seal it back up. It’s the SAME. But like every other kind of store on earth, sometimes we’re offered more competative pricing, and we, in turn, like to pass it on to YOU!
As if that weren’t enough, we’re also pouring the Craggy Range Kidnapper’s Vineyard Chardonnay, 2008 by the glass right now at Cellar- which is a pretty kick-ass little Chard- and she is no slouch compared to her big brother, as she earned herself a nice little 92-point rating from Wine Spectator! Come give her a taste next time you’re on Greene Street! She is mostly stainless steel with a little oak- lean and elegant, yet flirty with notes of apricot, almond and pear. YUM. Craggy Range makes about a million other wines that I’m dying to get my hands on, too. Be sure to check out their website. Beautiful stuff.
Hope your 2011’s off to a good start! and don’t forget to drink more.