Ata Mara is a small New Zealand estate. Husband and wife David Pratt and Janiene Bayliss started the venture 20 years ago as part of a leisurely retirement plan. The vineyards extend to 20 hectares, on the terraces between Lake Dunstan and Mount Pisa, due east of Milford Sound and Queenstown. This is the most southerly point on the planet that grapes are grown commercially but the conditions are perfect for cool climate varietals such as Sauvignon Blanc. The land is flat with low fertility alluvial sandy soils interspersed with extensive gravel pans rising to the surface across much of the vineyards.
This wine is vibrantly, enthusiastically aromatic, leaping forward with green capsicum, gunflint and freshly cut grass, the palate underlined with a mouth-cleansing wash of lime and cool minerality. Ata Mara’s Sauvignon Blanc is sourced away from the small estate’s own Central Otago vineyards, about 300 miles to the north in, what’s considered the ‘Sauv Blanc Mecca’, Marlborough.