To produce the Pinot Noir Martinborough Ata Rangi, 35% of the fruit was whole bunch pressed, with the remainder destemmed. Fruit from the different clones and vineyards were kept separate during fermentation with indigenous yeasts. Fermentation peaked at 32°C and continued for up to 20 days until pressing. The wine underwent malolactic fermentation in barrel and spent 11 months in low-toast French oak barriques, of which 35% was new. The wine was blended and held in stainless steel tanks for a further six months before bottling.
Ata Rangi’s vineyards are situated in Martinborough, in the Wairarapa region to the north of Wellington. In early 2014 their vineyards achieved full organic certification. Grapes are planted on a thin layer of well-drained alluvial soil. Only the oldest and most revered parcels of fruit are used. The clonal make up of Ata Rangi Pinot Noir is unique to the region with the major portion (40%) being the Abel clone. This clone is later to flower and avoids some of the worst of the spring weather.
Ata Rangi, meaning ‘dawn sky, new beginning’ is owned and managed by a family trio – Clive Paton, his wife Phyll and his sister Alison. 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. Joined by winemaker Helen Masters, Ata Rangi is renowned for their Pinot Noir, which is consistently ranked as one of New Zealand’s best and in 2010 was awarded the ‘Tipuranga Teitei O Aotearoa,’ New Zealand’s ‘Grand Cru’ equivalent. Ata Rangi also produces a range of white wines including Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris.