Craggy Range 2004 Sophia Gimblett Gravels Red (Hawke's Bay)

Shows all the intensity you could want from a New Zealand Merlot (there's just 7% Cab Franc and 1% Cab Sauvignon in the blend), but seems to be in a bit of an awkward stage right now. Back in June it showed great finesse and elegance to go with its power, but tasted again in September it seems chunkier, with some rough edges of wood and alcohol poking out. Try in 2009. Joe Czerwinski

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