Over the years, New Zealand has developed their travel, food, and wine programs into a truly unforgettable experience. For times when you’re craving an overseas adventure but are unable to travel, read on for suggestions to create and enjoy a virtual travel experience to the “Land of the Long White Cloud.”

The wine industry is thriving, and gourmet chefs and restauranteurs have followed suit in providing guests with delightful epicurean experiences. One winery that stands out for its fine wines and dining experience is Craggy Range Winery.

Spectacular Inside and Out

Founded in 1997, Craggy Range is a family-owned and operated winery that exclusively crafts single vineyard, terroir-driven wines that are a brilliant representation of New World wines made in an Old World style. Considered a benchmark ambassador for the high quality of New Zealand wines, Craggy Range offers a stunning portfolio that goes beyond the region’s most popular varietal Sauvignon Blanc, with a beautiful selection of Pinot Noirs, Syrahs, and red blends produced by winemaker Julian Grounds.

The wines of Craggy Range are produced at two sites, the Gimblett Gravels Winery and Giants Winery. Both wineries have individual bespoke cellars designed to the requirements of each wine style providing the best winemaking conditions for the unique parcels harvested from vineyards in Hawke’s Bay, Martinborough, and Marlborough.

Located in the shadow of the spectacular Te Mata Peak in the premium wine growing area of the Hawke’s Bay region is Craggy Range’s Giants Winery. It is a must-see location for visitors, boasting boutique-style lodging among the vines, winery tours, tasting in the Cellar Door Tasting Room, and meals at the award-winning Terrôir Restaurant.

Giants Winery, Craggy Range, New Zealand
Giants Winery of Craggy Range

Virtual Wine Travel to New Zealand

You might be thinking, This all sounds wonderful for those lucky New Zealanders who can hop in their car and drive over. Because unfortunately, air travel is not always an option, even in the best of times (i.e., non-pandemic). Therefore, if you can’t make it to Craggy Range’s stunning property and excellent restaurant, why not create your own virtual travel experience at home?

Craggy Range’s Terrôir Restaurant recommends their classic recipe of roast lamb shoulder with a side of salsa verde and roasted carrots. New Zealand cuisine can be hearty, featuring earthy game meats like duck or lamb with rich roasted vegetables. The Kiwis usually pair these delicious dishes with juicy, medium-bodied red wines, such as the Te Muna Road Pinot Noir.

Craggy Range Pinot Noirs are crafted in a Burgundian style with aromas of dark cherry, dried rose petals, thyme, and damp earth. On the palate, there is New World flare with bright red fruit, earthiness, fine tannins, and wonderful acidity, necessary for a gamey dish like lamb. Interestingly, most would pair a heavier bodied wine with this dish; however, the Te Muna Road Pinot Noir will not weigh down the dish and will bring out the lamb’s darker, earthier notes for a delicious meal.

Roast Lamb Shoulder with a Side of Salsa Verde and Roasted CarrotsCraggy Range roast lamb

Brine Ingredients:

  • 8 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 3 bay leafs
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1/2 packet pickling spices

Roast Lamb Ingredients:

  • 1 boned lamb shoulder, rolled and tied
  • 1 lg. onion (quartered)
  • 1 carrot (quartered)
  • 4 cups chicken stock

Salsa Verde Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Italian parsley
  • 1/2 cup mint
  • 1/4 cup cornichon pickles
  • 2 tbsp. capers
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 lemons – juice and zest

Brine Instructions:

  1. 24 hours in advance: Add all the ingredients into a pot. Bring to a simmer at medium heat until all salt has dissolved. Allow brine to cool completely. Place the lamb in the cool brine, cover and leave for 24 hours. Drain the brine and pat dry.

Craggy Range, red wine, bottle, Pinot Noir, New ZealandCooking Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Preheat a large skillet over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the lamb. Brown the lamb all over then remove from heat.
  3. On a roasting tray, add carrot and onion. Then add 4 cups of hot chicken stock.
  4. Place the lamb on top and then put in the oven to cook for 3 hours.
  5. Remove lamb from the liquid, rest for 25 minutes. In the meantime, strain and skim the stock and reduce by two-thirds.
  6. For the salsa verde, blitz all ingredients in the food processor until smooth.
  7. Slice the lamb and garnish with roasted baby carrots, salsa verde and some stock. Serve with a glass of Te Muna Road Pinot Noir.




Veteran wine publicist for Kobrand Wine & Spirits with WSET 2 certification. Lover of wine, crafty cocktails, foodie, high fashion and a good workout

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