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Ata Rangi

There are a handful of New Zealand wineries that deserve legendary status but among them Ata Rangi from Martinborough has arguably done more than any ...

There are a handful of New Zealand wineries that deserve legendary status but among them Ata Rangi from Martinborough has arguably done more than any other to build the reputation for New Zealand fine wine internationally. While well known for their Pinot Noir, Ata Rangi has a whole range of great wines, including the Celebre Cabernet Merlot, Juliet Syrah and Craighall Chardonnay, all beautifully crafted by Helen Masters.

Ata Rangi was founded in 1980 when Clive Paton decided to sell his herd of dairy cows to buy a small plot of stony land near Martinborough. At the time it was regarded as poor land only suitable for raising a small number of sheep. But Clive knew from first hand experience that it also had stony, free draining soils that potentially could be ideal for growing grapes. Little did he know that his hunch would see not only Ata Rangi rise up to be regarded as one of New Zealand’s finest but also would uncover the potential of Martinborough as a wine region.

Ata Rangi famously was planted with the famed gumboot PInot Noir clone. Legend has it that an enterprising Kiwi winemaker took cuttings from the most famous Pinot Noir vineyard in the World - Romanee-Conti - which was smuggled back in his gumboots. He was caught and the cuttings were confiscated. However some months later after government testing, the vine was released to the public and Clive Paton used them to plant this planting material for his Pinot Noir vineyard.

Today Martinborough is one the country’s leading wine regions, particularly for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. It makes wines that have understated and power and subtlety with a distinctive savoury earthy character. And unlike many Pinot Noirs they are not only superb to drink young but also have the power and structure in improve in the bottle.

Almost wine time...