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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.

The Petrie block, 20 minutes’ drive north-east of Martinborough, sits on deep, gravelled, uplifted river terraces. Higher elevation vineyard perspective and wind exposure contribute in making this a cooler site, expressed in the typically bright fruit and marked thread of minerality for which Petrie Chardonnay is renowned. Complex aromas of wet stone and flint meld with notes evocative of pear and almond tart. The palate is long and driven; the acidity coiled around complex fruit characters of melon, roasted fennel and grapefruit.

Bright, pale straw-lemon colour. The bouquet is tightly concentrated with intense aromas of white stonefruits and complex gunflint reductive notes. On palate this is rich with mealy and citrussy detail to the stonefruit, flint and nutty flavours. Attractive oaking adds to the complexity. This is taut and fine-textured, with bright acidity enhancing a succulent expression. A very contemporary Chardonnay with mineral interest. Rating: 18.5-/20; Raymond Chan Wine Reviews

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. Rating: 93 Points; Sam Kim | Wine Orbit


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