Ata Rangi Pinot Noir

As always, the lesser seasons define the greatest estates. While many in New Zealand struggled in the warm 2011 vintage, Ata Rangi shone. Early seed ripening produced impressive structure, emphasised with 20 percent whole bunch fermentation, more than usual for Ata Rangi. The definition of black cherries, blackberries and violets is exemplary, framed in a tightly-honed and well-defined structure, with a coiled spring of tannin tension and refined mineral definition. Notes of liquorice and coal make this an intense Ata Rangi, though lacking nothing in poise and magnificence. $65 at WineStar, Canterbury Wines and Corkscrew Cellars.