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.
The superb 2016 vintage has yielded a beautifully balanced, fragrant example of Crimson with loads of very fine velvety tannin contributing to the full, plush texture and long, soft finish. The nose is both complex and complete, with its cranberry-like aromas and hints of fresh, ripe raspberry. Spice and red licorice nuances also mingle with the earthier, typical pinot 'forest floor' characters. Though a serious pinot which will age at least 5 years, it is 'classic Crimson' in style; still very approachable as a young wine.
It isn’t the flagship pinot from Ata Rangi but boy is this a powerful wine. Impressive to say the least. This is muscular and dense, in a varietal context, with satsuma plum, steel, black cherry and campfire notes bleeding gradually into sweet spice and stem. It’s as intricate as it is integrated. It’s primed with tannin, all spicy and ripe, and it still manages to fan ample flavour out through the finish. It’s all quite remarkable, really. Tasted: July 2017; Alcohol: 13.5%; Price: $38; Closure: Screwcap; Drink: 2018-2024+; Rating: 94 Points; Campbell Mattinson; The Wine Front
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