Visionary grape-growers Don and Carole McCrone own a 10 acre pinot noir vineyard in Yamhill, Oregon, supplying grapes to Ken Wright Cellars, a leading producer whose culture and wine styles are very close to our own. KWC specialise in sought-after, single vineyard wines which are almost all purchased en-primeur at an eagerly awaited barrel tasting held soon after each vintage.
The McCrones dreamt of replicating the single vineyard concept in New Zealand, and made several visits in the late 80's to wine-growing regions in their search for a suitable vineyard site and producer. Clive and Phyll had first met Don and Carole in 1988 at the International Pinot Noir Celebration in Oregon. When a neighbouring block came up for sale and their proposal put forward.....we leapt at the opportunity. Applying the knowledge and experience we'd garnered from 20-something years working with pinot noir here, we planted their 7 acres with optimal trellising and spacing and in what we considered an ideal mix of clones for the site (Ata Rangi Abel clone, naturally, plus Dijon selection and Clone 5).
Ata Rangi McCrone Vineyard Pinot Noir
We bottled the first "ATA RANGI - McCrone Vineyard Pinot Noir" from the 2006 vintage. The quality exceeded expectations, with Robert Parker rating it an amazing 94 points. Only 60 cases of McCrone 2006 were produced but further bottlings from 2008 and 2009 are in the cellar. We will offer these aged wines to our mail order customers going forward, and expect in the future to produce enough to export. A welcome spin-off of the project is vintage staff exchanges. Bron, our cellar door manager and Jannine, Helen's assistant, have both worked vintages with Ken. Coming south, Ken's son Cody was here in 2007, and two more of his crew joined us in 2008, a record harvest for us. (see pic of the 2008 crew to the right).