Craggy Range Les Beaux Cailloux is pale straw in color with complex aromas of ripe stone fruit, apples and lemon offset by notes of roasted hazelnut. Initial impressions on the palate are of lush, intense fruitiness in the New Zealand style with flavors of stone fruit, apple, fresh grain and vanilla. These lead into a lean, cleanly structured texture supported by finely balanced acidity and sweet fruit notes on the finish.
|Wine maker notes
|Craggy Range’s Gimblett Gravels vineyard is planted to 200 acres of vines in 36 varietal plots matched to the variations in depth and texture of the gravel soils of the old Ngaruroro River stream bed. One California and two Dijon clones of Chardonnay are planted to four of these parcels totalling 19 acres. Les Beaux Cailloux ("the beautiful pebbles”) is sourced from one particularly stony block in the center of the vineyard. The vines are planted at a density of 1,350 per acre, and are cane-pruned and the shoots vertically positioned. The crop is thinned to reduce yield to two pounds of fruit or less per vine. Leaf removal is confined to the eastern side of the canopy and grass cover is maintained to manage exposure to sun and limit heat reflection from the stones.
A hand harvest is carried out in several passes in early to mid March when the grapes have achieved 22º to 25º brix, and all lots are maintained separately. The fruit is chilled overnight to 45ºF, sorted and whole-bunch pressed, and the must allowed to settle overnight. The must with high solids is then transferred to French oak barriques, 65 to 80 percent of which are new, for extended alcoholic and malolactic fermentation. Regular bâtonnage is practiced over the 14 to 16 months the wine spends in oak. After selection, the blend is assembled and the finished wine bottled unfined and unfiltered.
|Craggy Range exclusively crafts single-vineyard, terroir-driven wines from key winegrowing properties—and serves as a benchmark ambassador for the high quality of New Zealand’s wines.