Ata Rangi, meaning ‘dawn sky, new beginning’ is owned and managed by Clive Paton, his wife Phyll and his sister Alison. In 1980 Clive planted the bare, stony, home paddock at the edge of Martinborough, becoming one of a handful of people who pioneered grape growing in the area. Ata Rangi’s first vineyard covered less than five hectares on deep, free-draining alluvial gravels – the original course of a local river which flows from the hills that flank the eastern side of the valley. Today they are joined by a strong team including winemaker Helen Masters, who in 2019 was awarded New Zealand Winemaker of the Year by Gourmet Traveller WINE magazine, as recognition of her 16 years’ work at Ata Rangi.
Ata Rangi is renowned for its Pinot Noir and is widely regarded as New Zealand’s top Pinot Noir producer. They were awarded Five Stars in the ‘2019 Great New Zealand Pinot Noir Classification’ by Matthew Jukes and Tyson Stelzer for the consistent gold medal standard of their wines. At the 2010 International Pinot Noir Conference, Ata Rangi Pinot Noir was one of two producers granted the title of ‘Tipuranga Teitei o Aotearoa’ (which translates from Māori as ‘Great Growth of New Zealand’ or ‘Grand Cru’), in recognition of their unique site and of the family’s commitment to evolving and developing New Zealand Pinot Noir. The oldest Pinot Noir vines, which include a clone allegedly smuggled from Burgundy, were planted in 1980.
This is one of my favourite Pinot Noirs from anywhere! I love the slightly savoury style of Martinborough Pinot and no-one does it better than Ata Rangi.
I would drink this with anything but roast pork belly with fennel seeds springs to mind as a match made in heaven.