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 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 Martinborough, to the north of Wellington. The grapes for this wine come from Waiora, Walnut Ridge, Hau Ariki Marae and Southdowns Estate. Vineyard husbandry is important to Ata Rangi, including leaf plucking to keep the canopies open. Naturally low yields, older vines, small canopies and judicious, labour-intensive hand picking of the entire crop are all factors in producing this uniquely Martinborough style of Sauvignon Blanc. The vineyards are in conversion to organic certification and are accredited as 100% sustainable.
Fruit was hand-picked and crushed with around half given a few hours of cold soak skin-contact before draining and pressing. Four separate ferment components make up the final wine. A small portion of de-stemmed whole berries were loaded into a super-sized oak barrel where the juice fermented in contact with the berry skins. Adding further complexity and savoury notes, around 30% was fermented in neutral oak barrels.
The on-skins component has highlighted beautiful citrus florals, with a hint of fresh fennel and lime zest. The wine has an impressive textural quality with mouth-watering drive and a tight, flinty, satisfyingly long finish.
Awarded 89 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2017 edition review of New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs (see blue link below).
A classic expression of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc but one which offers complexity of texture and a mineral drive reminiscent of river stones and sea spray. Blackcurrant, guava and passionfruit aromas emerge alongside subtle hints of lemongrass. On the palate, it is focused and vibrant while remaining elegantly balanced and distinctly salty.
A very elegant wine with incredibly fresh mineral and lime notes on the nose. The palate is rich with more lime and lemon zest notes. Mouth-watering acidity balances the sweetness perfectly.
A virtual fruit salad of mandarin segments, white fleshed peaches and crisp apples, sprinkled with lemon blossom and a dollop of honey. A lively, aromatic off-dry style that delivers a sherbet-like balance of bright, natural acidity and a subliminal touch of sweetness.
A refreshing sorbet-like medley of fresh lychee, grapefruit and honeydew melon laced with flinty minerality and finished with an infusion of mandarin and lime zest. A lively, invigorating wine with persistent grapefruit flavours and a steely blackcurrant tang. Crisp with a long, enduring finish.
This is an alternative style of Sauvignon Blanc that is both intricate and textural. An intriguing fusion of homemade apricot jam and lime marmalade is layered with dried tarragon and a doughy, flinty complexity. The palate is loaded with succulent fruit, pithy citrus rind and laced with minerality - a `wild child` Sauvignon with weight and persistence that finishes with a crisp grapefruit twist.
An exuberant Sauvignon Blanc emanating intense passion fruit, grapefruit, and tropical fruit aromas. Juicy acidity fills the palate on entry and activates the taste buds with a gorgeous fruit sweetness that carries through to a delightful, lingering finish.
With lifted notes of Turkish delight and crystallized ginger, the palate has weight and texture without sweetness, giving it persistence and elegance.
It's on our Christmas List because... it's properly unusual and exciting. Austrian Gruner Veltliner isn't to everyone's liking, but this New World spin on it from the ever-excellent team at Tinpot Hut is wonderful: big and intense. Mark rates it as one of his his Three Favourite whites of 2017. Yealands' take on Gruner (see below) is another version to try.
Tinpot Hut wines are made primarily from fruit grown on winemaker Fiona Turner's vineyard in Blind River. Fiona, who has worked with Matt Thomson for a number of years, supplements her own grapes with fruit from other growers in Marlborough and Hawkes Bay. The tinpot hut that gave its name to Fiona's wines is an old mustering hut in the remote hills between the Wairau and Awatere Valleys. The huts were used as a base for musterers as they rounded up the sheep that had been in the hills from spring to autumn. The name links Marlborough's past as a sheep farming centre with its current state as one of the world's most dynamic wine regions.
The 2015 growing season was characterised by a dry spring and summer. Lower yields due to cooler weather during flowering have produced wonderful fruit intensity.
The grapes for this single vineyard wine were grown by the McKee family in the Blind River sub-region of the Awatere Valley. Careful vineyard management during the growing season ensured the grapes were kept in balance to allow even and optimal ripening. Once the flavours of the grapes reached their peak whole bunches were hand-picked to minimise phenolics from the skins. A press cut was made early and the free run juice was fermented in tank to retain fruit character and freshness.
This wine has delicate aromas of orange blossom, citrus and stonefruit blended with hints of sweet floral honeysuckle. Grüner Veltliner is a very textural wine. Flavours of white peach mingle well with the subtle peppery spice notes. Mineral complexity, which is so reflective of the Blind River sub region, gives this wine a clean and crisp appeal. The balance of the fruit, acidity and phenolics work very well together and lead to a long dry finish. Perfect for enjoying now, the structure and weight of this wine will gain complexity for the next 4 years.
Enjoy with oily seafood such as salmon and tuna or, alternatively, roasted pork and duck.
Awarded 92 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).
Aromas of dried thyme and blackcurrant, spice and cream dominate the nose. The palate is concentrated with savoury notes, wet stone, nettle and mineral acidity that all come together in perfect harmony. The mid-palate is textured and rich, yet elegant.