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2002 Ata Rangi Pinot Noir
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- Closure: Cork
In 1980, Clive Paton, a Martinborough farmer, purchased 5 hectares of land with the intent of growing mainly red grape varieties. Three elements of the site appealed to Paton; firstly the localised, free draining shingle terrace (approx 20 metres deep), secondly the lowest rainfall of anywhere in the North Island, and lastly the proximity to Wellington – necessary if one hopes to attract tourists to the site.
Pinot Noir was the star of the vineyard right from the beginning, being planted to Pinot Noir clones, Abel, Clone 5, 10/5, Dijon clones.
Complexity is added to the wine by a variety of winemaking techniques. The berries are macerated for 5-10 days pre-fermentation. 15% whole berries are used. A Burgundian trick is employed allowing the ferment to reach a high temperature for several days prior to cooling down. The peak temperature is 32ºc. The wines undergo complete malolactic fermentation, and is in the best Burgundian tradition the amount of new oak is judiciously monitored – around 25% new, to avoid being over oaked. The fruit is sourced from four vineyards, Ata Rangi, Dodds, Di Mattina Cambrae and Lismore.
Ata Rangi Pinot is internationally recognised as being one of the great examples of this varietal. There is no doubt that the formula for success comes for a variety of reasons. The age of the vines is important, they are now over 20 years old, which has given them plenty of trunk heart wood. Yields are kept very low, 1.5 to 2 tonnes per acre, thus producing wines of great concentration of flavour.
Tasting Notes: The 2002 Ata Rangi Pinot is a benchmark for Australian (and many Burgundian) wine makers to aspire to. Deep crimson colour with deep crimson hue. The nose is superb – a wonderful fragrant sniff. Dark cherries, violets, cocoa, strawberry jam, spice and plums fill the head, and will only intensify with age. The palate starts off a touch drier than expected, and then comes the powerful Pinot flavour wave that is so sought after but rarely found. Velvet smooth tannins are supported by a layer of black cherry, hint of game, spice and a touch of stalk. This is a sensational flavour profile which then delivers the ultimate Pinot experience – a profoundly long aftertaste lasting over five minutes.
Expensive, sort of, but when one considers the price of Burgundy, this wine is very cheap indeed!
Cellar 4-5 years (2008-2009)