Ata Rangi means new beginning and its Pinot Noir set a benchmark from its first vintage in the early 1980s following the vineyard's establishment in 1980 by founder Clive Paton.
The winemaker today is Helen Masters who began at the winery in 2003 and works closely with Clive, who is now heavily involved in New Zealand conservation work.
This wine is one of the country's best Pinot Noirs, having won an extremely long string of awards and accolades over the decades, which both Clive and Helen attribute to, among other things, 40% of the wine being made from the Abel clone of Pinot Noir. This clone was famously (true story) brought in via a gumboot from a grand cru vineyard in Burgundy, France; the traditional classic home to the Pinot grape.
Abel brings structure and intensity to Pinot Noir, as does the climate in the Wairarapa, which heavily reduces potential yields at flowering time in spring, resulting in smaller bunch architecture and more intense flavours as a direct result.
This wine drinks well now and undoubtedly has a long life ahead for those with wine cellars - and willpower.
A New Zealand classic - for good reason.