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.
The previous 2016 vintage was awarded 98 points and ultra-rare Exceptional status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2017 edition review of New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs (see blue links below). It has been one of our biggest sellers of 2017.
The big question is: is the new 2017 be as good as the 2016? We think so, but see also the link below for the word from Auntsfield themselves...
... and the first word from the New Zealand reviewers...
A true cracker of a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc that simply bursts with both quality and flavour.
Marlborough is famous for its two main river valleys, the Wairau and the Awatere, from where many of its great names hail. The Auntsfield plots lie directly between the two, in what is are known as the Southern Valleys. This is a sub-region where the climate is cooler and drier. With its mix of high-mineral Greywacke rock and old, low-fertility Loess clay soils, the Southern Valleys is regarded for its riper styles of wine with more structure, texture and minerality. The Auntsfield vineyard covers 65 hectares and is planted in Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir.
This, the Single Vineyard SB, lies some way above Auntsfield's entry level and is made only from grapes grown on the main Estate. The style is aimed towards texture, complexity and length, balancing the typical Marlborough fruit spectrum and aromatics with richness and mouth feel. Unusually for an NZSB, although the majority of the wine was cool-fermented in stainless steel (standard), this was balanced by a portion of the fruit being subject to traditional winemaking practices: handpicked, whole-bunch-pressed and fermented in seasoned oak barrels, which very materially adds texture, body and length to the wine.
On the nose, it has powerful aromas of fresh passionfruit, ripe citrus and lime, with lesser notes of dried herbs, lemongrass, jalapeno and blackcurrant. It's no exaggeration to say that we at Exel reckon this is one of the most deliciously aromatic NZSBs we have yet encountered.
On the palate, the Auntsfield is truly powerful and yet retains its elegance: it displays intense ripe fruit flavours of passionfruit and white peach, again with citrus notes of lime and mandarin. Minerality is a term all-too-often banded about in these tasting notes, yet there is a decided wet-stone twang here. Overally, the palate has intense concentration and generous weight, balanced by an underlying minerality and tight structure. All of which is to say: "glorious".
Bright lifted herbals, fennel, blackcurrant and lemon. Fruit salad entry over a base of apple, nice herbals again with mineral and citrus on the finish. Creamy mid-palate.
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.
The wine has a pale lemon yellow colour and a bouquet reminiscent of green figs with hints of gooseberries and an intrusion of green peppers. The wine is dry, full bodied and has a long lingering finish.
Pale yellow in colour, this Sauvignon is intensely fragrant with ripe varietal characteristics of mango and pineapple. It has good acidity and a fresh long finish.
Aromas are very expressive from the very first year and are essentially fruity citrus (grapefruit), passion fruit, as well as floral (rose petals and white flowers).
A pale lemon green in colour, there are aromas are of gooseberries, cut grass and elderflower. On the palate it is very fresh flavours of pineapple and passion fruit and a light and refreshing finish. A fruity easy drinking wine, perfect as an aperitif.
A subtle, delicate expression of Sauvignon, underlined on the palate with a silky mouthfeel. Lemon, gooseberry and blackcurrant bud are detected in this fruity, elegant and racy wine. A classic expression of Sauvignon de Touraine.
The Chardonnay gives this wine its finesse and elegance, the Sauvignon its subtle aroma of hazelnuts and exotic fruits, and the Semillon provides roundness, length and finesse. The result is an elegant wine with a complex aroma of spice, pineapple and nuts which is followed through on the palate. Medium-bodied, balanced acidity and a medium to long finish.
This is a wine with a bright and clean pale yellow in the company of slight greenish reflections. It has a medium to high aromatic intensity which highlights fresh fruit aromas such as peach, pineapple and lime, mixed with soft aromas of white flowers. The palate is enveloping and feels soft and elegant with a sparkling acidity that balances well with the fruit flavors. Long and juicy finish.