2014 Ata Rangi Pinot Noir Martinborough
Dense, complex pinot noir in a typical Ata Rangi style, with a nice mix of fruit and savoury characters. Dark-fleshed plum, black cherry with a suggestion of floral, mixed spice and sweet herbs. Spectacular wine with plenty of power and an incredibly lengthy finish. More accessible than the previous vintage was at this stage but showing great cellaring potential. The best Ata Rangi Pinot Noir I’ve tasted.
Full, even, black-hued ruby-red with youthful purple tints. The nose is very full with softly concentrated and layered aromas of rich, ripe, dark red berries and cherries along with nuances of dark red plums entwined with fragrant violet florals, fresh herb and spicy detail. The aromatics blossom to reveal notes of raspberry liqueur, earth and minerals. This exudes richness allied to elegance and finesse. Medium-full bodied, vibrantly succulent and lusciously sweet fruit flavours of dark red berry and cherry fruit are harmoniously melded with flavours of ripe dark plums and fragrant violet florals, dark herbs, spices and red liquorice. The flavours are seamlessly mouthfilling and supported by refined, flowery tannin extraction, and enlivened by poised acidity. This has drive, energy and fine linearity, and the wine carries to a very long and sustained, rich finish of spiced cherries and raspberry liqueur. This is a beautifully rich and succulent, elegantly balanced and refined Pinot Noir with seamless-flowing, ripe flavours of dark berry and cherry fruit with complexing floral and herbal detail. Match with duck, pork, beef and lamb dishes over the next 7-10 years. Fruit from the oldest parcels, 40% Abel clone with the remainder clones 5, Dijon and 10/5, indigenous yeast fermented with 25% whole bunches to 14.0% alc., the wine spending 20-26 days on skins and aged 11 months in 35% new French oak barrels.
As ever this has an extra dimension and remains the high watermark for New Zealand pinot noir to be measured against. How do they do it: complete and uncompromised dedication to the cause, combined with an early play to make the most of the available land in a young region, as well as the ability to attract talented and dedicated people such as winemaker Helen Masters to the cause. Already entrancingly complex, the wine has a brambly array of cherry and summer berry fruits in addition to blueberries, some spicy saffron and earthy nuances. It's totally composed and still able to deliver a sense of aromatic purity amid web-like complexity. As you swoon into the first mouthful, it takes total control and is plush and layered with an air of playful luxury. The center billows soft and deceptively airy, finishing in a run of succulent, fresh and satisfying tannins that leave you breathless. Drink now to 2025+.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Medium ruby colored, the 2014 Pinot Noir gives plenty of earthy, red berry-laced characters on the nose with notes of red currants, raspberry leaves and cranberries as well as nuances of lavender, wild thyme, mossy tree bark and forest floor, plus a waft of fungi. The light to medium-bodied palate provides great intensity with red berry and earth layers supported by finely grained tannins and finishes long with some mineral hints. A winery that really needs no introduction for NZ Pinot lovers, there’s not much for me to add about the long-serving, dedicated team behind Ata Rangi - they just go from strength to strength. The Pinots have always been great, and yet even in a world where the Pinot benchmark gets higher every year, Ata Rangi is better than ever.
Nick Stock (Gourmet Wine): "Ata Rangi has delivered another startlingly great edition of their flagship pinot noir with the release of the 2014 vintage. That it is a top drop should come as no surprise as this wine consistently defines greatness in the New Zealand pinot category. As ever this has an extra dimension and remains the high-water mark for all other New Zealand pinots to be measured against. How do they do it? Complete and uncompromising dedication to the cause combined with an early play to make the most of the available land in a young region, as well as the ability to attract talented and dedicated people like winemaker Helen Masters. Already entrancingly complex, it has a brambly array of cherry and summer berry fruits, blueberry too, some spicy saffron and earthy nuances. It is totally composed and still able to deliver a sense of aromatic purity amid web-like complexity. Breathtaking." 95 points Wine Front: "Ata Rangi smells like Ata Rangi first and Martinborough second, and while obviously both are true, this vintage seems to deliver the full character of the vineyard. Am I right, or am I right? Typical perfume of roses and potpourri, cherries black and red, spice and a chocolaty flavour in the mix laying on a bit more seduction, in case there wasn’t quite enough. Medium bodied, layers of silk and sap, mouth-perfume of roses and dried herbs, fine acidity and excellent length. Strong release from this great producer. Drink: 2017-2025+."