I love a good chardonnay. It’s such a likeable wine! Especially when it’s not too oaky, has good acidity and moderate alcohol levels. The 2007 Craggy Range ‘Kidnapper’s Vineyard’ really fits the bill. And it’s under $20/bottle.
Craggy Range is a very special winery located in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. Hawkes Bay wines are typically fly under the radar in the United States. However, the best wines are really wonderful. It is by far my favorite wine region in New Zealand.. Craggy Range makes some of the best wines in Hawkes Bay. They are incredibly passionate about the wines that they produce.
I was first exposed to Craggy Range about 7 years ago when I tasted (and was impressed by) their Bordeaux Style blend ‘Sophia’. A year later my boyfriend (now husband) and I found ourselves on a plane to New Zealand with the purpose to check out the land from whence hobbits came (or at least where the movies were filmed) and to taste some wine. We rented a campervan outside of the Auckland airport, and away we went. The campervan was a little shaky, to say the least, the maximum speed was 40 miles per hour, and that was going downhill in a stiff breeze. Pete proposed halfway through our trip so New Zealand remains a special place for the two of us.
Aside from being madly in love we were really impressed by the wines of New Zealand. We hand carried a total of 3 cases home. (We were very lucky that we could bring liquids on board the plane and our luggage was heavy. Very heavy.) We did have an appointment to visit Craggy Range Winery and we were incredibly impressed by the technology, architecture and setting of the vineyard. Steve Smith, Master of Wine showed us around the winery personally and when he heard that we were traveling and sleeping in a campervan offered to put us up in one of Craggy Ranges’ guesthouses for the night. It was an unexpected and generous offer, one that I haven’t forgotten. So I am very happy to declare the 2007 chardonnay delicious and delightful. It received 91 points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, so I’m not the only one that thinks so.
Serve this Chardonnay lightly chilled with chicken or white firm fleshed fish. It was particularly lovely with Braised Chicken Thighs with Calvados, sautéed apples and cream.