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Ata Rangi Crimson Pinot Noir 2017 £26.95
ATA RANGI CRIMSON MARTINBOROUGH PINOT NOIR
Ata Rangi is owned and run by Clive Paton and his wife Phyll, together with Clive's sister Alison and winemaker Helen Masters. Clive planted the bare, stony five hectare home paddock at the edge of Martinborough in 1980 and, in doing so, was one of a handful of people who pioneered grape growing in the area. Renowned for their Pinot Noir, which is consistently ranked as one of New Zealand's best, Ata Rangi also produces a range of white wines including Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris.
Crimson is a wine which was inspired by a love of New Zealand's native 'Christmas Trees' the rata and pohutukawa trees. Sales of this wine support Project Crimson, a charitable conservation trust which plants and protects these trees. The Pinot Noir grapes for Crimson are produced from 5-20 year old Martinborough vines in Lismore, Waiora and Walnut Ridge blocks.
The 2017 growing season was uniquely cool, leading to small bunches and low yields. Luckily, this cool-weather reduced disease pressure so fruit remained healthy right up until harvest.
The grapes were handpicked and 100% destemmed, keeping as much whole-berry fruit as possible. Pre-fermentation maceration lasted between two and six days. The must was inoculated with indigenous yeasts and hand plunged during fermentation that lasted two to three weeks in stainless-steel tanks. The wine was racked into barrel, of which 20% was new oak, where it remained for a further nine months after malolactic fermentation until bottling.
The 2017 vintage was cooler than average, delivering wines of complexity and vibrant acid structure. This Pinot Noir has an enticing nose of mulberry and bramble fruits complemented by spicy notes of tamarind paste and crushed sumac berry. The palate is long and textural with a thread of fine tannins.
92 Points - Silver Medal - The Real Review
Deep red with a good tint of purple, the bouquet slightly closed, shy and savoury, with latent cherry and earthy, foresty aromas, seemingly unevolved and needing time to fully emerge. The palate is quite firm and solid, with a vein of bitterness from the tannin extraction - which seems part of this label's established style. It's quite structured. Lovely dark-cherry fruit aromas emerge with plenty of swirling.