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Ata Rangi Martinborough New Release Tasting 2015

By October 21, 2015No Comments
Ata Rangi celebrates “35 years on the land” in 2015. Clive Paton planted his first vines in 1980, in a 5 ha block in Martinborough. His sister Alison bought neighbouring land in 1992, with Phyll Pattie joining them a little while later. Over the years, the Patons have forged a reputation as one of the best wine producers in New Zealand, making world-class wine. The team now includes Helen Masters as winemaker and Gerry Rotman as vineyard manager. Recently, Pete Monk joined as business manager.

The wines have never looked better, and the combination of very favourable vintages and what I perceive as a subtle tightening of the style of the wines, has taken Ata Rangi another step up. This could be seen in the annual ‘New Release’ tasting for Ata Rangi’s mail order clientele, held at the Museum Hotel in Wellington. On hand to pour the wines and discuss them were Clive, Phyll, Ali, Pete, assistant winemaker Chris Reid and cellar door manager Jillian Jesseph, from Oregon now with Ata Rangi for 18 months. Personal interaction is important to foster relationships, and I found it was a pleasure to talk to them all, as no doubt did the mass of attendees. The Ata Rangi team certainly enjoy their customers! www.atarangi.co.nz

Jillian Jesseph – Ata Rangi Cellar Door Manager

Tasting the Wines
Here, I offer my impressions of the wines tasted. The tasting was under very relaxed conditions, and my comments and scores should be read in that context.

Ata Rangi ‘Summer Rosé’ 2015 
Two-thirds Hawke’s Bay Merlot, the remainder Ata Rangi Syrah and Pinot Noir, the latter barrel-fermented with 3 months on lees. Pale pink, this is delicate and subtle with fresh aromas of strawberries and soft red florals. Dry to taste, the fruit flavours are gentle in expression, showing strawberries and cranberries and the palate underlined by fine phenolic textures. Quite mouthwatering and in the Provencal style that is contemporary and in vogue. Chris Reid says there has been no conscious decision to make any stylistic changes here. 18.0/20 Oct 2015 RRP $22.95

Ata Rangi ‘Craighall’ Martinborough Riesling 2011 
Bright, very pale straw colour. The bouquet is very tight and refined, showing classical secondary toast and kero notes, beautifully integrated with the lime and lemon aromas. Very dry to taste, mouthwatering citrus fruit piqued by brilliant refreshingly piercing mineral acidity. Harmonious toast and kero complexity and character, and extremely long and lingering on the finish. Tight and elegant, with development, but the potential to keep another 5+ years as well. 12.5% alc., 5 g/L RS, TA 7.1 g/L and pH 2.9. 19.0-/20 Oct 2015 RRP $45.00

Ata Rangi Martinborough Sauvignon Blanc 2015
Very pale and clear colour. This has soft, gentle ethereal aromatics, showing a subtle amalgam of gooseberries, fresh herbs and white florals, fresh and balanced, quite harmonious. Dry with soft depth and density, and considerable palate presence. Lovely concentration with thirst-quenching soft textures. Subtle, but positive floral and passionfruit fruit along with stonefruits, enlivened by lacy acidity. Very good length. Approx. 50% given skin contact and 30% fermented in old oak. 18.0/20 Oct 2015 RRP $27.95

Ata Rangi ‘Lismore’ Martinborough Pinot Gris 2015 
Bright and very pale coloured. This is firm and tight on nose with refreshing, concentrated white stonefruit, floral and mineral aromas. Taut and still bound up. Dry to taste, but unfolding rich fruit. This has real depth and concentration, the flavours of stonefruits and flinty minerals unfolding layers of detail and interest. Crisp acidity, and poised on palate, the linearity and power is startling. This has plenty to show over the next 4+ years. Is this the best Ata Rangi Pinot Gris yet? Partial wild yeast ferment, in small stainless and 20% in puncheons to 14% alc. and 5 g/L RS. 19.0+/20 Oct 2015 RRP $33.95

Ata Rangi ‘Petrie’ Wairarapa Chardonnay 2014 
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. Clones 15 and 6, indigenous yeasts, fermented in barriques and puncheons, 8 months in 18% new oak, 30% MLF. 18.5-/20 Oct 2015 RRP $28.95

Ata Rangi ‘Craighall’ Martinborough Chardonnay 2014
Bright, pale straw colour. The nose is elegant, but shows excellent concentration of citrus fruits, stonefruits, nutty and spicy oak, and beautiful mineral purity and finesse. A touch of class here. Striking clarity of expression, with citrus and stonefruits, flint, oak and minerals in lovely balance for development. Fine acid vitality and phenolic linearity, and plenty of detail emerges in the glass. Finishes with crisp acidity and minerality. Mendoza clone, indigenous yeast barrel-ferment, 12 months in 25% new French oak barriques, partial MLF. 19.0/20 Oct 2015 RRP $45.00

Ata Rangi ‘Crimson’ Martinborough Pinot Noir 2014
Bright ruby-red with youthful purple hues. The aromatics are fresh, bright and elegant with pure cherry and raspberry fruit. Floral lift and subtle herb and stalk detail. Elegant in size, with sweet primary fruit to the fore, cherries and florals, a touch of herb. Lovely refreshing acidity and a fine tannin line, allows the fruit to feature. Long, light finish. Not trying too hard, this is very natural. Clone 5, 10/5, Abel and younger Dijon clones. Destemmed, indigenous yeast fermented with high percentage of whole berries, 9 months in 20% new French oak. 17.5+/20 Oct 2015 RRP $40.00

Ata Rangi Martinborough Pinot Noir 2013 
Dark ruby-red. Beautifully ripened dark red berry fruits and subtle, interwoven and harmonious complexing detail. Density, depth, brooding somewhat, with clear potential. Rich and plush on palate, with concentration. Layers of flavour built in, and unfolding slowly to reveal complex detail. Yet integrated and complete. Beautifully structured, and in total balance, and a fine acid and tannin line. Very long and succulent. Complete and immensely pleasing. Abel, 5, Dijon and 10/5 clones, indigenous yeast ferment with 30% whole clusters, 11 months in 35% new French oak. 19.5/20 Oct 2015 RRP $75.00

Ata Rangi ‘McCrone Vineyard’ Martinborough Pinot Noir 2011 
Lighter ruby-red with some garnet. Soft and good volume, broad on nose, with red berry fruits and red florals. Complex savoury earth, herb and spices lend a different aromatic profile. Medium-bodied, but full, soft and rich, mouthfilling with red fruits, florals and savoury earth and spice layers. Good dense core with structure and power. Beginning to round and show secondary nuances. 40% Abel, with 5, 115 and 777 clones, 11 months in 20% new French oak. 18.5/20 Oct 2015 RRP $65.00

Ata Rangi ‘Celebre’ Martinborough 2013 
Dark, deep ruby-red, a hint of garnet. Full and deeply packed on nose with solid and near robust aromas. Ripe dark red plum and redcurrant fruit, revealing pepper and spice in the glass. Blossoms in volume. Fulsome on palate, with sweet dark red berry fruits. Redcurrant, plum and pepper. Plush and refreshing acidity, with robust structure and grip. Strong richness and presence. 55% Merlot, 35% Syrah and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17 months in 20% new French oak. 18.5+/20 Oct 2015 RRP $40.00

Ata Rangi ‘Kahu’ Martinborough Botrytis Riesling 2015 
Straw-yellow colour with good depth. Soft and voluminous on nose with seamlessly interwoven ripe citrus fruits, honey, marmalade, talc and musk. Definite botrytis hold here. Very sweet and luscious with a tight core. This flows very smoothly, with opulent citrus, marmalade, talc and honey. Lovely intricate, soft nuance, and a clean, zesty finish with real length. 13.0% alc. and 120 g/L RS. (375 ml) 19.0-/20 Oct 2015 RRP $36.95

Sue Davies, Wine2Trade & Helen Master, Ata Rangi Winemaker

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