The 2016 vintage was awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2017 edition review of New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs (see blue link below).
Ata Rangi SB 2016 - August 2017 Decanter review
Ata Rangi is owned and run by Clive Paton and his wife Phyll, together with Clive's sister Alison and winemaker Helen Masters. 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. Renowned for their Pinot Noir, which is consistently ranked as one of New Zealand's best, Ata Rangi also produces a range of white wines including Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
The Ata Rangi vineyards are situated in Wairarapa, just north of Wellington. The grapes for this wine come from Lismore, Waiora, Walnut Ridge, Hau Ariki Marae and Sutherlands Block. Vineyard husbandry is important to Ata Rangi, including leaf plucking to keep the canopies open. Yields are typically low due to the cool, windy spring weather which affects fruit set and the lean, stony soils which are low in vigour and fertility. The vineyards are in conversion to organic certification and are accredited as 100% sustainable.
The 2017 growing season was uniquely cool, leading to small bunches and low yields. Luckily, this cool weather reduced disease pressure so fruit remained healthy right up until harvest.
The 2017 Sauvignon Blanc now takes the name Raranga (‘woven’ in Maori) to express Ata Rangi's range of winemaking techniques in the creation of their uniquely Martinborough style for this varietal. The grapes were hand-picked from 30th March – 11th April. 10% of the grapes were fermented on their skins for eight weeks, 4% was whole bunch fermented and the rest was fermented in stainless steel tanks and barrels. The juice was inoculated with cultivated yeasts and fermented in controlled temperature storage at 12-18°C.
This wine has aromas of spiced apple pie, lime and melon. On the palate, there are notes of candied lemon and cardamom. On the finish, the wine is creamy and savoury.