First, this is the first New Zealand red wine I have tasted in a least four years. The last was an unimpressive Pinot Noir that, along with some not so favorable press about NZ reds, kept me away from trying anymore. I have always liked New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc's, but red wines were just not attractive to me.
Secondly, let's get out of the way what I don't like about Craggy Range Te Kahu 2009 ($22).
It has a twist off cap. OK, now that is over with, let's talk about what I do like about this wine.
We'll start with the aromas of blackberry, plum and currant and a surprisingly aroma of coal.
I grew up in the coal region in Tamaqua, Pennsylvania and remember the smell in the air when near the coal mountains and mines in the neighborhood and when playing on the coal banks. I found aromas very reminiscent of a time long, long ago and found these aromas very pleasant.
A smooth mouthfeel, with lots of berry and cherry flavors and some tobacco, was also very pleasant. The finish was long and fruit filled with plums and currants and a little spice.
The 2009 Te Kahu is a Bordeaux style blend of 80% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Malbec. The proportions of the blend change most
vintages to reflect conditions of the year and to ensure that Craggy Range meets a
certain 'house style'.
Te Kahu means 'the cloak' in Te Reo Maori and refers to the mist that
envelops the Giants Winery in the Tuki Tuki Valley. Legend has it that
this mist was used to protect a mythical Maori maiden from the sun as
she visited her lover Te Mata.
The Craggy Range Te Kahu can be found on-line for $16 and would be well worth the price. For just sipping in the family room or den or enjoying with a nicely cooked rib eye and maybe even a Thanksgiving turkey, Te Kahu is a winner and a must have.