The 2020 tasted just recently is an outstanding example of the Ata Rangi style – I always tend to find darker, more forest/hedgerow fruit notes in their Pinot, and the 2020 is no exception. The original vines are now in excess of 40 years of age, and I find that shows in the depth of fruit and finesse of the tannins – this isn’t one of those New Zealand Pinots that hinges on bright, sappy fruit, there is far more complexity and concentration on show. Notes of spice, violet scents and a stony, mineral accent all register on the palate, which possesses a silky, seamlessness. The 2020 is very impressive indeed, delicious even now, though it will certainly reward time in bottle. I recall tasting some much older Ata Rangis courtesy of friend some time back, I was impressed by how they had evolved 10 years or more on from vintage.
One debate surrounding New Zealand Pinot Noir concerns vineyard identity. To my mind, most examples say more about the winemaker’s know-how, than they do about regional style. That said, the Martinborough wines I have tasted from the likes of Dry River, Escarpment and Ata Rangi seem to share in that forest fruit flavour profile. Amongst that set, Ata Rangi is certainly the pick.
2020 Pinot Noir, Ata Rangi
£285 per 6 bottle case in bond
96 points, Rebecca Gibb MW, Vinous
The 2020 Pinot Noir reminds me of walking into a cathedral - that quiet, cool hush that falls as you walk through its doors. This is harmonious, supple, unshowy and unforced. Hailing from old vines and delicately textured despite the abundance of fruit concentration. Refined tannins with the finest of gravelly textures, akin to licking a stone. Scented yet restrained, with a fragrance of sweet red fruit, tea leaf and cedar spices with persistent acidity that carries it. Very complete and already approachable. Drink : 2023-2038
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