In 1980, Clive Paton, a Martinborough farmer, purchased five hectares of land with the intent of growing mainly red grape varieties. Pinot Noir was the star of the vineyard right from the beginning, being planted to Pinot Noir clones, Abel, Clone 5, 10/5 and Dijon clones. Since then, his 'Ata Rangi' label has been producing what is internationally acclaimed as New Zealand's benchmark Pinot
- a wine for Australian (and many Burgundian) winemakers to aspire to.
A youthful and refined Ata Rangi Pinot that will evolve beautifully.
The significance of clones to the wines quality, in particular the 'Abel Clone', is explained in an amusing anecdote and goes some way to accounting for why New Zealand has had the jump on Australia when it comes to world class Pinot: "...soon after purchasing the Ata Rangi home block, Clive called Auckland winemaker Malcolm Abel and volunteered to work a vintage... Tragically, Malcolm died unexpectedly a year later but Malcolm had already given Clive some promising pinot cuttings, the offspring of a single vine cutting allegedly taken by a traveller from Burgundy's finest estate, 'Domaine de la Romanée-Conti'. The illegal cutting had been intercepted and confiscated at Auckland airport, where Malcolm, coincidentally, was working as a customs officer in the mid 1970s. He immediately understood its significance, and sent it straight to the state-owned viticulture research station of the day. Malcolm waited patiently for the very first cuttings to become available, and duly planted them. To this day, the Abel Clone, or 'Gumboot Clone' (legend has it the nicked cutting was secreted inside a Kiwi gumboot!) remains at the heart of Ata Rangi Pinot Noir. We love the texture, and length of palate it delivers. Its tannins are substantial, yet are incredibly silky and fine".
Deep crimson mauve colour with crimson mauve hue. The nose is a little closed upon first opening but as the wine warms up slowly reveals a refined aromatic profile of dark cherry, violets, confectionary, cedar and spice – displaying surprising complexity already. The palate delivers good weight with flavours of dark cherry, plum, spice and violet infusions followed by cedar and spice on the back palate, supported by some underlying earthy minerality providing structure. Excellent powerwave and persistence. Very fine grained tannin structure, with very long dark cherry, spice and cedar aftertaste. A youthful and refined Ata Rangi Pinot that will evolve beautifully.
Cellar 3-5 years (2012-2014)