The sun rises each morning, there's a wind machine at Eurovision and Ata Rangi Pinot blows our minds every vintage.
Jancis Robinson famously quipped that if you weren't drinking DRC, then be drinking Ata Rangi. An icon of world pinot, Ata Rangi is one of only two producers (Felton Rd the other) to be awarded 'Great Growth of NZ' status by peers in the industry at the International Pinot Celebration in Wellington in 2010.
Clive Paton has been tending the Ata Rangi land for 36 years. He is a fanatic. No less a fanatic himself, Grant Taylor (Valli wines) once observed at a seminar that most folk usually carry pictures of their children when working away; Clive Paton carries images of Ata Rangi vineyard soil profiles.
Vineyard notes on vintage 2014: 'Another excellent vintage to follow 2013, the season was characterised by an unusually warm, settled spring. This trend continued through flowering and on into January. February and March were thankfully cooler than usual, stretching out the season and preserving aromatics as the evenly-formed bunches steadily ripened. Interestingly, accumulated Growing Degree Days of 1170 (a measure of heat across the growing season) leading into this harvest were, in the end, almost identical to those for the fabled 2013. Only the oldest and most revered parcels of fruit are used... the fabled Abel clone, allegedly smuggled from Burgundy in the mid 70s, makes up 40% of the blend.
Michele's notes: Glistening but deep crimson hues are a preview to the brooding elements to come. Meaty/licorice aromas mingle with rich plum and dark cherry fruit. And then there's the typical Ata Rangi heightened slate/wet stone, almost floral lift. Crystalline clarity of fruit in the mouth is given depth and texture by ultra fine, perfectly ripe, rounded tannins. A second sip and there's the characteristic yin yang - juicy, slippery, sweeping, lip-smacking fruit set off against earth, mocha and char. An essay in sustained power. It is everything you want.
Raymond Chan Wine Reviews 19.5/20 *****