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Ata Rangi, meaning "dawn sky" or "new beginning" is a small New Zealand winery with a big reputation for serious Pinot Noir. Located at the southern end of the North Island, it is owned and managed by a family trio - Clive Paton, his wife Phyll and his sister Alison. Clive planted his 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 winegrowing in the area.

Craighall is from prized blocks of low-yielding Mendoza clone vines. The oldest, now over 30 years of age, are situated directly opposite the Ata Rangi home block in the heart of the deep, free-draining gravels that make up the Martinborough Terrace. Add in low annual rainfall and typically strong Wairarapa winds and the result is a high percentage of tiny berries, giving wine of serious concentration and drive with tight, bright acidity. Citrus blossom, nectarine and almond/brioche notes, best describe the bouquet at this early stage of development. The promise of longevity comes from sheer palate weight, the firm back bone and a sleek, salivating, flinty minerality. Fully barrel fermented with indigenous yeasts,  has excellent cellaring potential - we can’t wait to see what it looks like after 2020.

This shows richness and layers of fruit with barrel-ferment, and a far more opulent mouthfeel, but not the penetration. This just fills the mouth. Old vines doing their job. Bright straw-yellow with green hues. This is creamy and nutty, the barrel ferment and oak totally melded with layers of sweet, ripe stonefruits and tropical fruit, mealy notes, and integrated MLF butteriness. The palate reflects the decadence of the nose, the savoury fruit balancing the sweetness. Soft and lush textures, yet fine, poised acidity. Very rich, long finishing. Something very special here, and a must buy. Rating: 19.5/20.0; Raymond Chan Wine Reviews


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