Ata Rangi Sauvignon Blanc 2018
Raranga Sauvignon Blanc (“woven” in Maori) is our expression of this variety in the low yielding Martinborough region. Utilising several traditional winemaking techniques including barrel ferments with high solids juice, extended skin contact and partial malolactic fermentation. Around 15% of the fruit was fermented in contact with skins, drawing out their more complex flavors. The grape skins also contain phenolics which, combined with the natural acidity, offer a fresh back bone. These portions are woven together to produce a complex and textural wine. Complex nose of lemon curd, citrus blossom and white peach with spicy aromatics reminiscent of cinnamon apple pie. The texture that the on-skins and barrel fermentation components bring shows itself in a suppleness creaminess, which mingles with lemon zest notes and a tangy finish.
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Helen Masters makes this wine from a range of parcels in Martinborough, adding complexity to the blend with 15 percent of the lot fermented in contact with the skins (including five percent that ferments as whole bunches), 40 percent fermented in barrels, and everything fermented without sulfur or yeast additions. It’s from a different island than Marlborough sauvignon, and might as well be from a different planet, honeydew-melon rich and cucumber crisp. It buzzes with floral highlights and keeps delivering different wavelengths of spice while notes of white rose and soil add to its savory intensity. Tame it with Dungeness crab. Best Buy
The 2018 Raranga Sauvignon Blanc follows winemaker Helen Master's recent trend of incorporating a small portion of skin-contact fermentation for increased texture/phenolics and exotic aromas. It's a fine effort, offering up hints of red currants and pink grapefruit on the nose, ample weight and concentration on the creamy-textured palate and a long, tactile finish.
He was one of a handful of winemaking pioneers in Martinborough, then a forgotten rural settlement, who were attracted to the area by two key features - the localised, free-draining shingle terrace some 20 metres deep and the lowest rainfall records of anywhere on the North Island of New Zealand.
Today Martinborough is a thriving wine appellation with an international reputation, particularly for premium Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Today Ata Rangi concentrates on hand making world class wines, namely pinot noir, sauvignon blanc and their Celebre (a cabernet blend). Yields are very low, typically 2 tonnes per acre and all grapes are hand-picked. Vines are now 20 years old, a factor in the wines ascending quality. Winemaking is very traditional using small, closed fermenters with wide top manholes which allow hand plunging. 20 hectares of vines are managed from which around 80 tonnes are crushed annually.
Part of the Wairarapa region in the southern end of the country’s North Island, Martinborough is a bucolic appellation full of artisan, lifestyle wine producers. Above all else, their goals are to tend vineyards for low yields and create wines of supreme quality. Pinot noir is the main grape variety here, occupying over half of the land under vine.
Comparing topography, climate and soils, the region is nearly identical to Marlborough except that it produces top quality reds on the regular.
Capable of a vast array of styles, Sauvignon Blanc is a crisp, refreshing variety that equally reflects both terroir and varietal character. Though it can vary depending on where it is grown, a couple of commonalities always exist—namely, zesty acidity and intense aromatics. This variety is of French provenance. Somm Secret—Along with Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc is a proud parent of Cabernet Sauvignon. That green bell pepper aroma that all three varieties share is no coincidence—it comes from a high concentration of pyrazines (herbaceous aromatic compounds) inherent to each member of the family.