Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The First and he Latest

Wine styles undergo perpetual development and evolution, regardless of the producers’ desire to remain stable.  Claret is the classical example where for decades the wines have remained elegant and the Left Bank wines especially showing a degree of cooler spectrum greenness.  Yet this most traditional style has moved with the times.  Fruit has been picked riper, alcohol levels have risen, and the wines are now more concentrated and carry more oak.  This movement in style has been recognised, and steps taken to reverse the trends, but essentially the modern classical claret is a different beast to that of old.
With The Young One and Jo-Lo in town, we opened two wines to show development and evolution of style.  The very first Craggy Range ‘Le Sol’ Gimblett Gravels Vineyard Hawke’s Bay Syrah made, the 2001, alongside the latest release the 2014.  Craggy Range would be the first to admit that their initial releases were designed to be show-stoppers or statement wines.  “We have arrived!” was the message.  But as time has progressed, the recognition that elegance and finesse gave more drinkable and enjoyable wines came to fruition with the latest wines quite different to the earlier wines.

The 2001 I still very dark, near impenetrable, but clearly with some dark brown hues to the black-red.  On bouquet, very densely pack with volume, breadth and depth.  Black fruits now becoming savoury with secondary and tertiary aromas and flavours.  But solid, weighty and immensely concentrated, the tannins rounded for sure, but the size of mouthfilling flavours so striking.  Not so much robust or solid, but just with so much presence.  Very complex now, but this will drink as it is for another decade.  Then the 2014.  Not a small wine either, and with considerable and significant extraction, but the tannins very fine grained.  What this had was freshness, floral lift and bright acidity and a refreshingly succulent mouthfeel.  Sweeter in its finesse and elegance, and in a way far firmer than the 2001, but with refinement, perfumes and style.  This modern wine was ‘finer’ for sure, but not lacking or giving anything away to the older.  But the enjoyment level was a tad higher.  Overall, there was a house style and varietal nature that was identical.  But new and fresh won the day for pleasure, and the older and mature wine still a statement.

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