Ata Rangi, Martinborough Pinot Noir 2017
Ata Rangi is owned and run by Clive Paton and his wife Phyll, together with Clive's sister Alison and winemaker Helen Masters. Clive planted the bare, stony five hectare home paddock at the edge of Martinborough in 1980 and, in doing so, was one of a handful of people who pioneered grape growing in the area. Renowned for their Pinot Noir, which is consistently ranked as one of New Zealand's best, Ata Rangi also produces a range of white wines including Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris.
Ata Rangi's vineyards are situated in Martinborough, in the Wairarapa region to the north of Wellington. Grapes are planted on a thin layer of well-drained alluvial soil. Only the oldest and most revered parcels of fruit are used. The clonal make up of Ata Rangi Pinot Noir is unique to the region with the major portion (40%) being the Abel clone. This clone is later to flower and avoids some of the worst of the spring weather.
The 2017 vintage saw cool temperatures, particularly through the summer months. The overall growing degree days were well below the normal range and picking started two weeks later than average. The fruit was harvested with ripe tannins but low sugars.
30% of the fruit was whole bunch pressed with the remainder destemmed. A cool pre-fermentation maceration lasted five to six days at temperatures up to 32°C. All different clones and vineyards were kept separate during fermentation with indigenous yeasts. After pressing, the wine was aged for 11 months in French oak, of which 35% was new. During this time, malolactic fermentation was completed. The wine was then blended and held for another six months prior to bottling.
Exotic spice of star anise, manuka flower and sandalwood layer with redcurrant, juniper and cranberry on the nose. The palate is vibrant and supple with fine tannins that build through the mid palate and a fresh acidity carrying the wine to a long elegant finish.