Two decades ago, Terry and Mary Peabody gazed down on the land below from Te Mata Peak in Hawke’s Bay, and made a decision: of all the places in the world, this was where they would put down roots, and work to build a world-class winery.
Today, Craggy Range is synonymous with the skyline etched by that iconic peak as it presides over the Giant’s Winery and Vineyard, and with award-winning wines, made from three vineyard locations in different parts of the country.
This year the winery welcomed a new chief winemaker to the fold, Julian Grounds. We caught up with Julian to hear what attracted him to the winery, and what makes Craggy Range wines stand out from the crowd.
Craggy Range has vineyard locations in three distinct winegrowing regions of New Zealand, and it’s Julian’s job to translate what grows there into something we can savour with every sip, to tell a different story with each wine.
Gimblett Gravels in Hawke’s Bay, Julian explains, has “a unique combination of ideal soil types and moderate, maritime weather”, which makes it well-suited to multiple varieties including Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay–all of which carry the terroir of this warm, stony region. Craggy Range reds from here have “fine dusty tannins and minerality, along with white and black pepper in our Syrah”, explains Julian, while the Chardonnay boasts minerality, and a welcome savouriness. Craggy Range has been growing grapes in Martinborough for decades, with the Te Muna vineyard planted in 1999. More recently they purchased two more vineyards in the same area. “For us”, says Julian, “Martinborough is capable of making some of the most unique and world-class styles of both Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc: complex, with distinctive perfume and elegance”.
The top of the South Island adds a third distinct flavour to the Craggy Range family, with a vineyard in the Wairau subregion of Marlborough. The site was chosen because of its high stone content, which Julian explains produces wines with “minerality and power: the hallmark of the Craggy Range style”. Rather than being overtly fruity, they’re crafted in a complex style to pair well with a wide variety of foods.
Julian is a big believer in trusting your taste buds, exploring across and within varieties to discover what you like. “It helps to narrow down what you like to drink and when.” And keep in mind there’s a reason some wineries become synonymous with certain varieties. “Look for brands that have established a reputation for producing these varieties and styles”, says Julian, “and you’ll rarely if ever be disappointed”.
Find the full Craggy Range line up in our wine selection.