Ata Rangi, meaning 'dawn sky' or 'new beginning' is a small winery with an enviable international reputation for PInot Noir. Owned and managed by a family trio; Clive Paton, wife Phyll and Clive's sister Ali. Clive planted the first vines on a small, stony sheep paddock at the edge of the Martinborough village in 1980 as one of a handful of people who pioneered wine growing in the area.
Ata Rangi Pinot Noir is undoubtedly the flagship wine, and in 2010 was honoured with the inaugural Tipuranga Teitei o Aotearoa or 'Grand Cru of New Zealand.' With a skilled team in place, including dynamic winemaker Helen Masters, Clive now has more time to focus on his commitment to conservation and to the Ata Rangi alliance with Project Crimson.
Refreshingly vibrant and juicy, the 2016 Sauvignon shows enticing aromas of citrus blossom and lemon grass with hints of jasmine and crisp, freshly-sliced fennel bulb. This latest offering is supple and bright and, at 12.5% alcohol, is wonderfully light on its feet. Around 5% of the fruit was fermented in contact with its skins and held for two months, drawing out the more complex flavours that reside in the skins. The grape skins also contain phenolics which, combined with the natural acidity, give the fresh back bone to this wine. Adding further interest, 30% of the juice was fermented in neutral oak barrels. Our naturally low yields, older vines, small canopies and judicious, labour-intensive hand picking of the entire crop are also factors in producing this uniquely Martinborough style of Sauvignon Blanc.
Stonefruit and citrus characters dominate in this release, with lovely tropical nuances of guava and papaya also vying for attention. A hint of fennel bulb and a twist of mint join the party, while the flinty minerality steers the fine, dry finish to a long and satisfying conclusion. Hand-picked, hand-sorted fruit and time on lees are all integral to achieving this more textural and restrained style of Sauvignon Blanc.
"This is a real gem. Pristine fruit is the hero but the wine is stylishly enhanced by subtle infusion of oak. Aromas of stone fruit, lemon peel, rockmelon, and hints of vanilla and cashew lead to a concentrated palate that is richly textured and elegantly fruited, brilliantly framed by bright acidity. The finish is superbly long and creamy. Already a charmer with a potential to develop greater complexity. At its best: now to 2020." - Sam Kim - Wine Orbit - 5 Stars
2014 - "This is elegant and seductive, yet there is a powerful engine driving the concentrated fruit and layers of complex flavours. The bouquet is inviting, engaging and intriguing with aromas of white stone fruit, rockmelon, nougat and brioche, with hints of vanilla and cedar. Wonderful weight and harmony. Stunning composure and finish. At its best: 2016 to 2024." - Sam Kim - Wine Orbit - 5 Stars
VINTAGE 2015 - A great and largely typical season – a gentle spring, with a warm January and a welcome coolness at the back end through February and March. Some large winds in January put pressure on the canopies, the positive being that berry size was kept smaller, intensifying the fruit. Crimson is our selection of fruit from younger parcels of vines from our various vineyards on the Martinborough Terrace. Vine age ranges from 5-20 years. In their youth, vines tend to be more fruit expressive, gaining more complexity with age (as do we all!). The winemaking philosophy is the same as for our signature Pinot Noir; no enzymes or yeasts are added, providing a hands-off, traditional approach to expressing the site. What we find in the 2015 year is a length and drive that belies the age of the vines. More savoury in spectrum than previous vintages, the nose exudes spice, red licorice and a medley of bramble fruit. All carry through onto the palate, with the older vine portion providing real weight and a fine line and length
Only the oldest and most revered parcels of fruit are used in this, our premium Pinot Noir. The fabled Abel clone, allegedly smuggled from Burgundy in the mid-70s, makes up 40% of the blend. The result is a very complex, structured wine, beautifully perfumed in the classic Ata Rangi style. Exotic spice, dark cherry and rose petal are offset by a more savoury array of aromas and flavours on the finish. This is a very complete and graceful wine; succulent and generous on the palate yet supple, sinewy, long and fine. Another excellent vintage to follow 2013, the season was characterised by an unusually warm, settled spring. This trend continued through flowering and on into January. February and March were thankfully cooler than usual, stretching out the season and preserving aromatics as the evenly-formed bunches steadily ripened. Interestingly, accumulated Growing Degree Days of 1170 (a measure of heat across the growing season) leading into this harvest were, in the end, almost identical to those for the fabled 2013.
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