2013 Ata Rangi Crimson Pinot Noir, Martinborough
The Crimson is produced from vineyards aged 12 to 22 years, compared to the Estate’s oldest Pinot Noir vines aged 30 that make the top wine. As it’s generally the case, younger vines produce wines that are more fruit-driven, and that are more approachable at an earlier stage of the wine’s development.
The main Ata Rangi Pinot Noir will require at least 5 years ageing to start opening up, and will age beautifully for 15 to 20 years. I reviewed the 2012 vintage Pinot Noir, and it certainly has a long life ahead of it.
The Crimson on the other hand can be enjoyed as soon as 2 to 3 years after harvest. The 2013 vintage we are trying today is probably still a bit young. But give it a year or two, and it will be perfect if you like a young fruity expression of Pinot.
The name Crimson was inspired by a NZ Charitable Conservation Trust coming under the appellation of “Project Crimson”. It aims at protecting and renewing New Zealand’s iconic native ‘Christmas trees’: the rata and pohutukawa, whose red flamboyant flowers enchant the whole country’s bush and people come December. A portion of proceeds from the sale of this wine funds the Trust.
Ata Rangi’s founder Clive Paton is a respected and award-wining conservationist hence his engagement with the Project Crimson. The contribution from sales of this ‘Crimson’ Pinot Noir funds restoration projects in many areas around New Zealand, providing trees and cash for worthy projects. The wine itself, like this post hopefully, also help to spread the word and encourage people to protect these iconic trees.
You can read more about Clive Paton and how his engagement in conservation influences his approach to winemaking in our interview with Ata Rangi’s iconic founder.
So buying this wine, you’d be helping a good cause preserving the beauties of NZ, but would you also enjoy the sip?
The answer is in the tasting notes:
The nose is very intense, with sweet spices jumping out of the glass: clove and nutmeg. Fruit notes are also pronounced, but surprisingly dominated by citrus rather than red fruit: orange and bergamote. Pomegranate is as red a fruit as it gets. There is smoke, marc and a touch of stalky character to it. Overall a complex, intense, and intriguing nose.
Palate: This wine has a strong backbone of acidity. Sharp, but not aggressive, it drives the mouth-feel from start to finish, sustaining the vivacity of the wine on the palate. Around this precise and sharp sword of acidity, is a velvet glove of smooth tannins that perfectly complement it. There are some dryer tannins on the finish, but this will fade out with a few years’ aging. The palate is all well-balanced, the acidity does not allow any gap in the tasting’s intensity. There are powerful flavors revealed of spices and fruit combined, and a touch of vegetal character again on the finish. The wine is dense, weighty and long. Delicious.
In summary, the palate feels like a sword of acidity, in a velvet sheath of tannins.
Overall, a great wine that will develop over the next ten to twelve years. I’d recommend drinking it in 3 to 8 years to enjoy its beautiful fruit but also further complexity the wine will develop then.
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