Smith and Sheth ‘CRU’ is the wine brand of Steve Smith MW and Brian Sheth who together have formed Aotearoa New Zealand Fine Wine Estates. This is the return of Steve Smith, who is best known for his establishing of Craggy Range with the Peabody family and his role as chief viticulturist for the Villa Maria Estates group before that. Steve has teamed up with Brian Sheth, one of the founders of Vista Equity Partners, a global technology investment firm. Among other business and interests, Brian is also the chairman of Global Wildlife Conservation. Aotearoa New Zealand Fine Wine originally aimed to have wine from great parcels from exceptional vineyards, but has grown to purchase unique and individual winegrowing operations, starting with Pyramid Valley in North Canterbury and Lowburn Ferry in Central Otago. The company also has a 5 ha vineyard in the Gimblett Gravels in Hawke’s Bay with Chardonnay and Syrah, awaiting its first yield. Michael Henley, formerly of Craggy Range and Trinity Hill is the CEO, and the company works closely with several viticulturalists. Smith and Sheth will launch their first wines under the Smith and Sheth ‘CRU’ label in April this year. The wines are made from the highest quality fruit selected from special sites. Steve personally makes the wines at friends’ winery facilities.
What The Critics Say
95/100 Wine Orbit, Sam Kim
"From the Bridge Pa district, this gloriously complex chardonnay shows fabulous aromas of ripe stone fruit, nougat, toasted hazelnut, subtle spice and brioche on the nose. The palate is concentrated and powerfully expressed, while remaining properly structured and balanced, displaying outstanding fruit weight and intensity with creamy mouthfeel and perfectly pitched acidity. Engaging and gratifying." Drink 2018 - 2023
18.5/20 Raymond Chan
"Bright, light golden-yellow colour with some depth, a little lighter on the edge. The nose is firmly concentrated and penetrating with up-front aromas of white stonefruits and citrus fruit entwined with bold aromas of gunflint sulphide reductive complexities along with nutty oak and mineral elements. The aromatics fill the nose unfolding toasty oak. Full-bodied, the palate has bright and vibrant flavours of white stonefruits and citrus fruit forming a taut core. The fruit intermingles with refined gunflint reduction and nutty oak complexities. The mouthfeel is smooth-flowing and slippery, and energised by fresh, lacy acidity. The palate has an elegantly proportioned line with drive and tension that carries to a long, crisp finish. Serve with seafood and poultry over the next 5 years. Hand-picked fruit from the Bridge Pa Triangle, vines 15-20 y.o., pressed with stems and fully barrel-fermented with cloudy juice, partially by indigenous yeasts to 13.3% alc., the wine aged 11 months on lees in 40% new French oak barriques, the wine undergoing MLF. 192 dozen made. 18.5+/20 Mar 2018 RRP $40.00." Drink 2018 - 2023
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