Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Craggy Range Te Kahu 2009

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.


natalie.corkery said...

Hi Joe, loved your post on Te Kahu - we always get excited waaaay back over here in NZ when someone on the other side of the world writes about our wine!
Te Kahu's come a long way since our first release in 2004 and we're very proud. And it sure helped that 2009 was an absolutely exceptional vintage for Hawke's Bay reds.
Would also recommend our Sophia Proprietary red blend - feel free to drop me a line if you'd like any other info :)
Natalie Corkery
Twitter: @Craggy Range

joeshico said...

Thank you Natalie for taking time to comment. I am now tasting the Craggy Range Sauvignon Blanc as I post this.
I thought the Te Kahu was an exceptional wine and will certainly be on the look out for the Sophia Proprietary red blend.

The Spectator said...


Nothing wrong with screwtops. They just mean you can get the bottle opened faster.

The other day I got of bottle out of the cooler for lunch. I said to my wife: I picked this because it had a screwtop so I could taste it sooner.

It was, btw, a NZ sauvignon blanc. NZ is always our first preference for SB.

joeshico said...

Thanks for the comment Tom. Actually, screwtops keep wine from spoiling a bit better than the traditional cork. I'm just a traditionist and love the 'pop' of a cork as it is removed from the bottle and I still have this aversion to what was once only used for 'cheap' wine. But, you are now and soon will see many quality wines with the screwtop.