One of the pioneers of the region, Clive Paton was one of the first to plant grapes on the Martinborough Terrace in 1980 and the winery has since gone on to become a legend of the New Zealand wine industry. Home of the Gumboot clone of Pinot Noir, a cutting from the vineyards of Domaine de la Romane Conti allegedly smuggled back into the country by an enterprising Kiwi in a pair of gumboots. In 2010 Ata Rangi was honored with the Tipuranga Teitei o Aotearoa award, New Zealand's equivalent of Grand Cru status and wine-maker Helen Masters consistently produces some of the countries finest Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
This is a sensational edition of McCrone Vineyard pinot noir, with an austere and stoic frame of tannins and dark, spicy fruit aromas and flavors. The nose has some lighter floral and herbal fragrance, leading to a palate with darker blueberries and very assertive, tangy black cherries that fill the palate and hold long amid the interplay of tannins and acidity that defines the finish. Drink in 2021. Screw cap.
GARY WALSH - THE WINE FRONT
Tasted back in June in a vertical of McCrone and Estate Pinot, though this 2015 has only just now been released. They tend to hold back McCrone, releasing it later than the estate Pinot Noir. McCrone in both 2015 and 2016 less bold than prior releases, seeking a little more finesse than this usually powerful vineyard produces, in part by intent, but also as a function of vintage. Cherry, plenty of spice and energy, graphite tannin, sweet orange floral tones, some Nebbiolo character here (which is perhaps unorthodox, but suits me just fine), good pitch to the acidity, and excellent length. Dynamic and vibrant. Wonderful wine.
JOE CZERWINSKI - WINE ADVOCATE
Earthy and savory, the 2015 McCrone Vineyard Pinot Noir is (at least temporarily) lacking some of the cherry-tinged, fruit-drenched drama of the regular bottling. It's medium to full-bodied, firm, stolid and dry, with a decade or more of aging potential.
HUON HOOKE - THE REAL REVIEW
Deep red colour with a good purple tint, very youthful for its age. The dominant aroma notes are of polished boot leather, thanks to oak and stem characters. The fruit is hiding. The wine is robust, even more full-bodied than the Ata Rangi estate wine, with masses of tannins, which leave a gripping, drying finish. It seems unready, needing more time. It needs age and/or food with protein. (Two days later: still oaky, dark and dense, with dark cherry fruits and a lot of depth and density. It needs time, and food with protein.)