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Ata Rangi Pinot Noir 2017

Ata Rangi Pinot Noir 2017

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"Cool, slightly minty stem notes accent bright cherry fruit in the 2017 Pinot Noir, most of which was picked before the rains, according to winemaker Helen Masters. It's crisp and medium-bodied, with silky tannins and a long, refreshing finish. It may be even longer-lived than I've suggested. Drink: 2020-2030. 93 points

Just days before my visit, Helen Masters was named New Zealand Winemaker of the Year by Gourmet Traveller Wine, which just shows I'm not alone in my admiration for her remarkable achievements at Ata Rangi. While Pinot Noir is the unchallenged focus here, Masters excels with the other varieties as well, consistently turning out an innovative Sauvignon Blanc (there's a skin-contact component for added texture); a mouth-filling Pinot Gris; a crisp, aged Riesling; and terrific Chardonnay. With founder Clive Paton, we tasted through mini verticals of the estate and McCrone Vineyard Pinot Noirs from 2013 - 2017. They're planted to similar clones, but there's a clay lens running through the McCrone Vineyard, which mitigates hydric stress and should (in theory) lead to smoother tannins. As the estate vines are older, that's another item to factor into the differences between the two bottlings. I generally had a slight preference for the estate Pinot Noir, although both were excellent in this stretch of vintages and faithfully reflect the vintage conditions."

Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate (241)