Signature Pinot Noir from the Ata Rangi Home Block, produced from the oldest vines planted in 1980 on the Martinborough Terrace. The vineyard has a compelling history. In 1980, founder Clive Paton had purchased a plot of 4.9ha, and was looking to source Pinot Noir cuttings. Investigations would lead him to Malcolm Abel in Auckland and he would duly source cuttings to plant. The following year, Clive joined Malcolm for harvest and the two hit it off.
Malcolm's vineyard had been planted from smuggled clones, which had been seized at Auckland airport in the mid 70s. Malcolm happened to be working as a customs officer at the time and upon interviewing the detainee, discovered they had been smuggled from one of Burgundy's most famous estates.
Malcolm immediately understood the significance and sent the cuttings straight to Te Kauwhata, the then state-owned viticulture research station. He waited patiently for the very first cuttings to become available before planting a 2 acre vineyard in West Auckland.
Clive returned for a second vintage with Malcolm in 1982. Tragically, Malcolm died unexpectedly a year later and the Abel Vineyard itself was ultimately lost to urban sprawl. Ata Rangi became the mother block of this vine which is now planted throughout NZ and is known as the Abel clone.
The resulting wine is complex and refined, with bitter cherry, orange peel, earth and spice. It's packed on entry, but neatly framed by fine tannins, refreshing acidity and a savoury lick. A warm and dry vintage, this has been deftly made.
The wine is matured in French oak (35% new) for around 11 months, before assembly and maturation for a further 6 months ahead of bottling.