Ata Rangi, meaning “dawn sky” or “new beginning” is a small New Zealand winery renowned for its Pinot Noir. The estate is in the Martinborough region at the southern end of the North Island of New Zealand. It was founded in 1980 by Clive Paton, his wife Phyllis (Pattie), a Montana winemaker, and his sister Alison Paton. Alison is married to winemaker Oliver Masters. Ata Rangi means “dawn sky” or “new beginning”. The estate is known for Pinot Noir. Clive planted his first vines on a small, stony sheep paddock at the edge of the Martinborough village in 1980 as one of a handful of people who pioneered winegrowing in the area. Ata Rangi Pinot Noir is undoubtedly the flagship wine.
Ata Rangi, meaning “dawn sky” or “new beginning” is a small New Zealand winery with a renowned reputation for Pinot Noir. Located at the southern end of the North Island in the village of Martinborough, it is owned and managed by a family trio – Clive Paton, his wife Phyll and his sister Alison. Clive planted his first vines on a small, stony sheep paddock at the edge of the Martinborough village in 1980 as one of a handful of people who pioneered winegrowing in the area.
Staff: Director: Clive Paton (b.1949). Clive Paton’s parents were from the Wellington area, his father was in the army. Clive read a report in 1978 saying the Martinborough area would be suitable for vines. He moved to Martinborough in 1980 to plant vines, with money made from having worked share-milking sheep and cows (farmer provides land, you provide the stock); did that for 6 years before he came here; also worked at Abel & Co and Delegats, whilst growing grapes and vegetables for cash flow).
Walnut Ridge: In 2003 Ata Rangi bought the neighbouring Walnut Ridge Vineyard and Winery, which had 6 acres and a small winery. Walnut Ridge is Ata Rangi’s second label.
Estate Vineyards–Bush Block: Purchased by Ata Rangi in 2000. South of Martinborough. Backs on to the Haurangi Forest park. Around 300 acres, of which one third is native bush. The rest was used for livestock grazing. Rare plant species are protected by a DOC covenant. Part could be used for vineyards.
Chardonnay, Craighall, Martinborough: Craighall was a 20 acre contract vineyard whose fruit was sold to Ata Rangi and Dry River. These two wineries bought the Craighall vineyard in the late 1990s. | 2002 Mendoza clone. Juice went to barrel with no settling, inoculation with a range of yeasts. 11 months in oak, some lees stirring. 100% MLF with all barrels warmed to complete MLF. Racked, held in tank, less than 2g/l residual sugar, bottled in June; total 60 mg/l and 30mg/l free sulfur. Fined with gelatin and bentonite. Soft mineral style, clean, soft, French style, when tasted at the winery on Wednesday morning 11th February 2004. NZ$38 dollars cellar door.
Chardonnay, Dalnagairn, Hawkes Bay:
Pinot Gris, Lismore: 2003 Lismore Pinot Gris Picked at 26 Brix. Made by Ata Rangi for the owners of Lismore Vineyard.
Sauvignon Blanc: 2003 Some oak plus warmer ferments for around 15% of the blend.
Summer Rosé: 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from Hawke’s Bay and Martinborough.
Célèbre: A blend of Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah. Just one mass selection Syrah clone (a nice one) was commercially available in New Zealand for a long time. In 2004 the 470 and Chave clones were available. | 2001 40% Merlot, 30% Cab Sauvignon, 30% Syrah. Splash racking to give it air and work the tannins; hold it warmer post-ferment; moving away from CS towards more Merlot and Syrah. Decent when tasted at the winery on Wednesday morning 11th February 2004.
Pinot Noir, Martinborough, Ata Rangi: 2001 Clean, concentrated fruit and oak with firm fruit in the finish when tasted on the Air New Zealand flight from LA to Auckland on Sunday morning 8th Febraury 2004. | 2002 Lighter year, like 1994. Soft, approachable, readyish now, 2-3 years for it to be ready, not as backward as the 2001 when tasted at the winery on Wednesday morning 11th February 2004. | 2003 Frosty year, so crop 50% down. Good phenolics and not too high in terms of alcohol. Picking at 23-24 Brix. Hand harvesting and advantage.
Pinot Noir, Martinborough, Walnut Ridge
Syrah, Ata Rangi: 2002 Bottled.
Riesling: Kahu Botrytis Riesling Martinborough: A noble rot Riesling. 2002 Debut. | 2003 Less noble rot than 2002. 150g/l residual sugar. 375 ml.
Tourism: Winery Shop: open weekends only in Sept and daily from October to Easter; hours are noon to 1600 on weekends and holidays and 1300-1500 weekdays
Puruatanga Road, Martinborough, New Zealand
Tel 06.306.9570 | Website www.atarangi.co.nz
Visit to Ata Rangi on Wednesday morning 10 am 11th February 2004.
Oz Clarke, Oz Clarke Wine A-Z (Pavilion, 2015), p.31.