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: Boat O'Craigo

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Boat O'Craigo

Boat O'Craigo cellar door
Boat O'Craigo cellar door in mid-winter (photo: genxywines). It lies just outside of Healesville on the foothills of the Yarra Ranges.

www.boatocraigo.com.au

499 Maroondah Highway, Healesville, 3777

Cellar Door: Weekends (10-5)

Ph: (03) 9899 9986

label

The 14 ha winery at Healesville is on one of the highest and coldest sites in the Yarra Valley, bounded by Little Grace Burn River.

The winery was acquired by Steve Graham in 2003 who changed its names to Boat Craigo, a tiny Scottish village where his ancestors lived. The white wines (Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris) are made at the high altitude 'Black Spur' Healesville vineyard.

Some of the Shiraz and Pinot Noir is grown on moist black clays at Kangaroo Ground, near Eltham at the warmer Diamond Creek end of the region.

Boat O'Craigo stall
Jacqui running the Boat O'Craigo stall at Melbourne Food and Wine Festival (photo: genxywines)
Boat O'Craigo cellar door
Boat O'Craigo vines in mid-winter (photo: genxywines)
Tasting Notes

There are three types of Tasting notes:

(W) Notes from the winery (blurbs from bottle)

(GXY) Notes from a GenXY wine reviewer

(G) Notes from GenXY's Tasting events (collective opinions)

Boat O’Craigo Blanc de Blanc 2010

Purchased: Cellar Door ($34)

Drink: 2015

(GXY) Tasting: June 2013, 100% Chardonnay, 2 years on lees,  fairly rich showing lemon zest, white nectarine and green apple with toasty honeysuckle notes,  long palate with racy grapefruit acidity and  dry finish  (****)

Boat O’Craigo Black Spur Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink: 2014

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2013, brightly flavoured but not pungent or overly herbaceous showing fresh limes, passionfruit, cut grass and guava with some leesy texture, spicy finish with fine talcy minerals and orange peel edged acidity, better concentration than the 2011 (****)

Boat O’Craigo Black Spur Gewurztraminer 2012

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink: 2015

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2013, this also shows better concentration than the 2011, chalky lychee and peach with varietal rose petal, musk and gingery spices, some leesy creaminess on the mid-palate, good persistence with ripe phenolics (****)

Boat O’Craigo Black Spur Chardonnay 2010

Purchased: Not ($24)

Drink: 2017

(GXY) Tasting: Nov 2012, partial barrel ferment, creamy but expressive melon, white nectarine and lemon with gun flint notes, balanced toasty hazelnut-vanilla-cinnamon oak with racy grapefruit acidity (***1/2)

Boat O’Craigo Black Spur Sauvignon Blanc 2011

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink: 2013

(GXY) Tasting: Apr 2012, quite aromatic and showing more grassiness due to the cold vintage but also some muted passionfruit and lime with some herbal edges and a hint of pineapple, spicy red capsicum finish with the talc and fresh acid support, as with many 2011 whites it is lacking enough concentration (***1/2)

Boat O’Craigo Black Spur Gewurztraminer 2011

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink: 2014

(GXY) Tasting: Apr 2012, aromatic with musk and rose petal features, the palate is quite light and chalky with some lime/lychee fruit, brief lees contact has filled out the texture but lacks enough concentration, fine talc-like phenolics (***)

Boat O’Craigo Black Spur Chardonnay 2008

Purchased: Not ($24)

Drink: 2014

(GXY) Tasting: Aug 2011, 30% barrel fermented and matured in French oak, the rest fermented in stainless steel, creamy melon and white nectarine and lemon, subtle toasty hazelnut-vanilla-cinnamon oak with vibrant acidity (***1/2)

Boat O’Craigo Shiraz Grenache Viognier 2008

Purchased: Not ($26)

Drink: 2016

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2011, rather unusual due to the combination of varieties and the use of Grenache in a region as cool as the Yarra, the 7% Viognier was co-fermented with half the Shiraz, the 10% Grenache was co-fermented with the remaining Shiraz, the two were then blended and allowed to integrate for a further six months, perfumed, medium bodied silky, dense and tarry blackcurrant and raspberry with savoury roast meat, black pepper, anise and toasty asian spice notes, firmish tannins, this has been scored very highly by some other wine writers but there are two points of contention for me: the herbally apricot Viognier is too overt, I would drop it back to 4-5%, secondly there is a question of volatile acidity, the first bottle I tried had severe VA and the second one had slight VA, this may reflect some heat stress these particular bottles may have been subject to being transported to the wine show so my score will ignore the VA issue (****)

Boat O’Craigo Gewurztraminer 2010

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink: 2013

(GXY) Tasting: Aug 2010, perfumed turkish delight nose but the palate is less opulent, fairly oily nectarine, musk, rose petal and cinnamon, rather dry, chalky and phenolic finish (***)

Boat O’Craigo Braveheart Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

Purchased: Not ($24)

Drink: 2018

(GXY) Tasting: May 2010, rich and brambly with a think extract but not excessively phenolic, spicy plum and blackcurrant with mint, pepper, black olives and cinnamon, good line, dry finish with firm savoury tannins, balanced cedar oak with lively acidity, needs time but will reward (****)

Boat O’Craigo Blanc de Blanc 2006

Purchased: Not ($28)

Drink: 2011

(GXY) Tasting: May 2010, Healesville Chardonnay made in the methode champenoise style, 2 years of yeast lees, creamy mousse with white peach, nectarine with a touch of honeysuckle and dough, rather powdery texture, a bit broad in places but has good length and balance (***1/2)

Boat O’Craigo Black Spur Sauvignon Blanc 2009

Purchased: Not ($18)

Drink: 2011

(GXY) Tasting: May 2010, mix of a French clone and New Zealand clone, some creaminess from 8 weeks barrel ferment, lively passionfruit, guava and cut grass with a savoury mid-palate and a touch of matchstick, the Kiwi clone brings some spicy red capsicum to the finish but it isn’t too pungent (***1/2)

Boat O’Craigo Black Spur Chardonnay 2007

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink: 2011

(GXY) Tasting: May 2010, from Healesville, fairly intense honeydew melon, nectarine and lime, the palate has lots of nutty and savoury lees input and also added texture from fermentation with light grape pulp, toasty and spicy French oak, likely grapefruit acids keep it fresh but it is fractionally short (***1/2)

Boat O’Craigo Rob Roy Pinot Nor 2007

Purchased: Not ($24)

Drink: 2011

(GXY) Tasting: May 2010, spicy plum, glazed cherry and raspberry as is typical for the Kangaroo Ground end of the region, medium bodied and confectionary palate although there is some balancing earthiness, fairly overt toasty oak, the overall impression is a bit sturdy reflecting the difficult vintage (***)

Boat O'Craigo Black Cameron Shiraz 2006

Purchased: Not ($27)

Drink: 2012

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2009, another classy blend from high altitude Healesville vineyard with the warmer Kangaroo Ground vineyard , ripe blueberry, plum and blackberry with an array of pepper, cinnamon and clove notes, seamless marriage of the best features of both vineyards, balanced acid with slightly charry cigar-box notes admidst the complex oak inputs, the finish is set in a well handled grid of savoury tannins (****1/2)

Boat O'Craigo Black Spur Gewurztraminer 2008

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink: 2010

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2009, delicate musk and lychee with gentle spices and a dry minerally finish, short lees contact, just needs more presence to go to the next level (***1/2)

Boat O'Craigo Black Spur Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2006

Purchased: Not ($23)

Drink: 2009

(GXY) Tasting: April 2008, far more delicate but a more complex style than the non-reserve, lychee, tropical fruit and gooseberry, creamy texture with chalky mineral base and a whisper of old French oak, good length and balance (****)

Boat O'Craigo Braveheart Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

Purchased: Not ($24)

Drink: 2016

(GXY) Tasting: April 2008, ripe blackberry, redcurrant and plum with violet and mint notes, medium bodied but packed with black pepper and cinnamon, minerally base with persistent dusty tannins and a fair cut of acid, needs time (****)

Boat O'Craigo Black Spur Chardonnay 2005

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink: 2010

(GXY) Tasting: April 2008, fairly oily texture with melon and pear flavours but grapefruit and stonefruit acidity cut through to keep it fresh, hazelnut notes on the mid-palate with a lemon citrus finish (***1/2)

Boat O'Craigo Rob Roy Pinot Noir 2006

Purchased: Not ($24)

Drink: 2011

(GXY) Tasting: Nov 2007, from Kangaroo Ground, vibrant black cherry, dark plum and a touch of liqueur red cherry sweetness with liquorice and black pepper features, silky light-medium bodied palate shows some barnyard features, finishes with a hint of chocolate and cedar, fine balanced tannins (****)

Boat O'Craigo Dundee Shiraz Viognier 2005

Purchased: Not ($24)

Drink: 2011

(GXY) Tasting: Nov 2007, from Kangaroo Ground, well defined black cherry and dark plum, smooth with the spicy Viognier lift but not too much, full bodied with fine tannins, slightly hot finish (****)

Boat O'Craigo Black Spur Sauvignon Blanc 2007

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink: 2008

(GXY) Tasting: Nov 2007, lively gooseberry and tropical fruit although not as intense as the 2006 vintage, some barrel ferment texture, finishes with some capsicum notes and fresh citric acids (***1/2)

Boat O'Craigo Black Spur Pinot Gris 2007

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink: 2009

(GXY) Tasting: Nov 2007, delicate style showing light pear and musk, oily palate is fairly dry with some appealing cinnamon and clove spice, lemon citrus acids (***1/2)

Boat O'Craigo Black Spur Pinot Gris 2006

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink: 2009

(GXY) Tasting: July 2007, pear and melon, creamy palate with some honeyed features, lemon citrus acids on dry finish (***1/2)

Boat O'Craigo Black Cameron Shiraz 2004

Purchased: Not ($27)

Drink: 2012

(GXY) Tasting: Dec 2006, stylish savoury blend from both vineyards, rich blueberry, plum and blackberry with liquorice, pepper, rhubarb and clove notes, quite deep and spicy medium-full bodied palate, balanced acid and slightly charry cigar-box notes with complex cinnamon-cedar-vanilla oak, fine savoury tannins (****)

Boat O'Craigo Black Spur Sauvignon Blanc 2006

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink: 2007

(GXY) Tasting: Dec 2006, very lively gooseberry, citrus and blackcurrant on minerally backbone, crisp finish needs a touch more zing to get a very high score (***1/2)

Boat O'Craigo Black Spur Chardonnay 2004

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink: 2009

(GXY) Tasting: Dec 2006, crisp melon, peach and fig, buttery palate shows nutty lees complexity and vanilla oak, good fresh acid finish (***1/2)

Boat O'Craigo Black Spur Pinot Noir 2005

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink: 2010

(GXY) Tasting: Dec 2006, plum and sour cherry with liquorice and chocolate hints, medium bodied palate with some underlying barnyard features and varietal spice, drying tannins (***1/2)

Boat O'Craigo Rob Roy Pinot Noir 2005

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink: 2008

(GXY) Tasting: Dec 2006, smooth plum and black cherry with liquorice and black pepper features, silky light-medium bodied palate shows some barnyard features, finishes with a hint of chocolate and vanilla and balanced tannins, less tannic the 2004 (***1/2)

Boat O'Craigo Rob Roy Pinot Noir 2004

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink: 2009

(GXY) Tasting: June 2006, black cherry flavours, quite deep set with rhubarb and barnyard notes, quite tannic for a Pinot with firm French oaking (***)