Produced entirely from Craggy Range’s Gimblett Gravels Vineyard, nestled on the right bank of the Ngaruroro River, the 2011 Sophia is a blend of the very best Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc parcels of the vineyard. The grapes were hand harvested and destemmed before fermenting in closed stainless steel tanks. The wine then spent 19 months maturing in 37% new French barriques.

93 Points
2013 vintage
93 Points
2013 vintage
Harvest Note
2013 was an ideal growing season, and the winery’s best one yet. A relatively mild budburst and flowering period established low-moderate crops in the Merlot and Chardonnay. More favorable conditions occurred during these early growth stages for Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. December and January were very dry and warm with a record number of days exceeding 86ºF during December. Hawke’s Bay plunged into a significant drought period. Water stress was delayed until January as the warm periods in December provided early indications of the vines wilting. No significant rains occurred throughout the growing season although there was some just after the onset of ripening. Overall rainfall was close to half of the long-term average. As usual in Hawke’s Bay, excessive heat was avoided as harvest approached and the retention of natural acidity without rapid sugar accumulation was achieved. Chardonnay harvest commenced on the 8th of March, Merlot on the 18th of March and Syrah on the 1st of April. Harvest was completed for all varieties on the 13th of April.
Tasting Note
Dark garnet colour. Beautifully lifted and complex aromas of spiced red fruits, crushed autumn leaves and sandalwood. Classically composed on the palate with fruit richness given length by balanced acidity and fine dusty tannins. Finishes elegant, dry and long.
Food Pairing
An excellent companion to roast beef and steak as well as lamb dishes.
Technical Data
GRAPES: 62% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot
PH: 3.61
ACIDITY: 5.9 g/l
ABV: 13.8%
AGING: Aged for 19 months in French oak barrells
Unique Selling Points
  • Like southern Rhône vineyards, Gimblett Gravels is covered by stones that absorb the day's heat to radiate it at night, promoting exceptional ripeness.
  • The Gimblett Gravels Vineyard is widely regarded as New Zealand's best terroir for Bordeaux blends and Syrah.
  • In blind tastings, Sophia has repeatedly placed ahead of top First Growth Bordeaux.
  • The 2005-2009 vintages of Sophia have completely sold out in the U.S.

About the Grape

Merlot makes plump, succulent wines to drink young or opulently massive wines for aging. Has silky, blackberry and currant fruit, with spice, earth, tobacco and chocolate notes, and soft tannins.
Cabernet Franc
Cabernet Franc usually shows tart red cherry and wild currant aromas and flavors with an herbal, spicy character. In the Loire, esp. Chinon and Saumur-Champigny, this grape shows firm minerality.
Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon is adaptable to various growing conditions, and is known for its low yield and late ripeness. It generally produces full-bodied wines with substantial acidity and tannins.
Petit Verdot
Petit Verdot makes a dark, firmly structured, tannic wine with superbly balancing acidity, and fresh, full flavors and aromas of spice, pepper and black fruits with notes of violets.
On-Line Assistant
Ask the Expert
We look forward to hearing from you! Please choose a subject from the options below and let us know your name and email address before adding your message.