Rapaura Springs sub-regional and single vineyard wines featured in ‘Marlborough for Connoisseurs’, written by Jancis Robinson and Julia Harding MW following a visit organised by New Zealand Fine Wine Producers. The aim was to show that there is much more to New Zealand, and to Marlborough than just Sauvignon Blanc at a price – a philosophy shared by Rapaura Springs with their quest for sub-regional definition with their Rohe Range, and the Single Vineyard wines they have been making for years.
See below the individual wines and reviews.
Rapaura Springs Blind River Sauvignon Blanc 2022 – 16.5 Points
Full bottle 1,314 g. Blind River is the driest, coolest and most windswept subregion in Marlborough. The soils in this region are typically free draining, with a diverse composition of stone materials. Fermented in tank with selected yeasts. TA 7.2 g/l, RS 5.2 g/l. More marked by passion fruit than the Rapaura and Dillons Point Rohe wines, richer and deeper, more obvious thiol character. On the palate, it also seems fuller and more rounded, the high acidity balanced by the residual sugar, which does not stick out on the finish as it so often does on NZ Sauvignons but does give a roundness in the mouth. Ripe, bottled green figs, and something more grassy, too, on the finish. Strange: I would not have thought this came from the coolest subregion. (JH)
Rapaura Springs Rapaura Sauvignon Blanc 2022 – 16.5 Points
Full bottle 1,309 g. Machine-harvested. Fermented in tank with selected yeasts. Full-throttle grassy and green-fruited aroma, grapefruit, with just a hint of passion fruit and blackcurrant leaf. Maybe even candied citrus on the day after opening. Crisp and clean-cut. Doesn’t taste bone dry but almost. Intense Sauvignon flavours without being a caricature. Vibrant, fresh finish. (JH)
Rapaura Springs Rohe Southern Valleys Pinot Noir 2021 – 17 Points
Full bottle 1,310 g. Clay-rich soils. The fruit was hand-harvested from vineyards planted with traditional Dijon clones, located in the Ben Morven, Waihopai and Omaka Valleys. The fruit was cold soaked for five days, prior to fermentation, which included 25% whole bunch. After fermentation the must was pressed and the wine aged for 10 months in 225-litre French oak barriques, with a total of 32% new oak. TA 6 g/l. Deepish cherry red. Smells more floral than the Awatere Valley Pinot but also more savoury. Bigger, more complex tannin structure but already polished and smooth. Deeper, more grounded, more layered and probably with greater ageing potential. The whole-bunch component shows in the dry, fresh tannic dominance on the palate, the fruit held at the core. Powerful but harmonious. (JH)
Rapaura Springs Bull Paddock Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2022 – 17 Points
Full bottle 1,315 g. Bull Paddock Vineyard is located in the Dillons Point subregion of Marlborough’s lower Wairau Valley. The land was originally used for raising bulls, before the Neylon family realised the potential of the site and planted it with Sauvignon Blanc. Young, free-draining, alluvial soils. Fermented in tank with selected yeasts. TA 7.2 g/l, RS 1.7 g/l. This has a little more of the green fruit of the Rohe Rapaura but also the riper fruit character of the Rohe Blind River. There’s also a creaminess to the aroma and texture. Mouth-filling fruit depth and yet marvellously dry, avoiding the sweet-sour effect of high acid balanced by small amounts of residual sugar. Deep and long. More concentration than the Dillons Point, less of Dillons Point salty elegance. (JH)
Rapaura Springs South Brook Vineyard Pinot Noir 2021 – 17 Points
Full bottle 1,307 g. The South Brook vineyard is located in the Fairhall Valley within the Marlborough Southern Valleys. The fruit for this wine was hand-selected in the cool of the morning, then taken straight to the winery. Cold soaked for five days, prior to spontaneous fermentation. Whole-bunch components (10%) were included. After fermentation, the must was pressed and the wine aged for 10 months in French oak, with a total of 55% new oak. TA 5.9 g/l. Mid crimson. The whole-bunch component seems to show more here – in the aroma – than on the Southern Valleys Pinot. This has concentration on the palate, real depth of fruit balanced by really good freshness. Avoids all the otiose sweetness of many Marlborough Pinots, firmly structured and absolutely delicious. Beautifully dry aftertaste, lots of finesse here. (JH)