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Featured Reviews

Rapaura Springs 2017 ‘Reserve’ Chardonnay, and Marlborough and Central Otago Pinot Noirs

14 June,2018

The quality of the Rapaura Springs wines of the Neylon and Wiffin families who own and operate the Spring Creek Vintners custom-crush facility in Marlborough has been continually increasing, and the wines regularly feature in top competition awards and in critics’ assessments. I’ve certainly rated the wine over the past few years at a very high level that challenges some of the accepted ‘front-runners’ and famous labels. The recent changes to the viticultural and winemaking team reflect the growing success. Gus Altschwager is the general manager of viticulture and winemaking, and he has Simon Bowes taking responsibility for viticulture. The long-serving Michael Bann is the winemaker, showing is experience and expertise. He is assisted by Sam Harrop MW and Matt Thomson, who have global reputations for making fine wine. I can only see the quality and style of the wines improve with this high-powered team behind them. Here, I review three 2017 ‘Reserve’ wines, 2017 being a challenging vintage in Marlborough.


Rapaura Springs ‘Reserve’ Marlborough Chardonnay 2017

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Marlborough


Brilliant, light straw-yellow colour with lemon hues, a little lighter on the edge. The nose is fresh with softly full and up-front and voluminous aromas of yellow stonefruits with notes of tropical fruit forming a rounded, deep core, unfolding some nutty and toasty oak, a suggestion of flinty lees unfolding refreshing citrus fruit elements. Medium-bodied, the palate has a fresh and taut heart of yellow stonefruits with citrus fruit and subtle tropical fruit elements, along with some sweet oak vanillins and nutty notes. The palate has good depth and presence, and the mouthfeel is enlivened by fresh, zesty acidity. This has energy and linearity and the wine carries to a rich, rounded, but refreshing finish. This is a refreshingly taut Chardonnay with good depth and rounded presence of yellow stonefruits, citrus fruit with sweet and nutty oak on a crisp palate.Marlborough fruit 75% fermented in stainless-steel and 25% in barrel to 13.3% alc., the wine aged 9 months in wood with 25% new oak equivalence, and 10% MLF. 17.5+/20 Jun 2018 RRP $18.99

Rapaura Springs ‘Reserve’ Marlborough Pinot Noir 2017

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Marlborough


Dark ruby-red colour with some depth, lighter on the rim with slight garnet tints. This has a moderately full and deep nose with rounded but concentrated aromas of dark-red cherry and strawberry fruit along with a layer of softly aromatic and fragrant dark herbs, a little earth and oak in a harmonious amalgam, unfolding a touch of reduction. Medium-full bodied, the palate has an elegantly concentrated heart with good depth of strawberry and cherry fruit harmoniously integrated with dark herbs, a little earth and minerally reduction. The fruit sweetness is enlivened by fresh acidity, and the palate flows smoothly along a soft-textured line unfolding some herbs and minerals, leading to a rounded finish with acid crispness. This is a strawberry and cherry-fruited Pinot Noir with some dark herbs, earth, and a touch of reduction on a smooth palate with soft extraction. Match with wild duck and pork over the next 3-4 years. Marlborough fruit fully destemmed and fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 9 months in 15% new French and Hungarian oak. 17.5/20 Jun 2018 RRP $28.99

Rapaura Springs ‘Reserve’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2017

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Otago


Very full, deep, black-hued ruby-red colour with some purple tints, lighter on the edge. The nose is elegantly concentrated with deep aromas of ripe black cherries entwined with dark-red berry fruit and plums, subtle notes of dark herbs and some lifted, nutty oak, unfolding violet florals. Medium-bodied, the palate has an elegant but concentrated heart with flavours of ripe black berry and cherry fruit, along with plums and liquorice, subtle herbs and oak elements. The fruit is sweet and deep, and is supported by supple tannin extraction. The mouthfeel has light, lacy acidity lending poise and tension, and the wine carries to a sustained finish of cherries, berries and plums. This is an elegantly concentrated Pinot Noir with sweet black cherry and berry fruit with plum notes on a poised, supple palate. Match with lamb, beef and venison over the next 4-5 years. Fruit from Alexandra, fully destemmed and fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 8 months in French and Hungarian oak with 25% new oak equivalence. 18.0/20 Jun 2018 RRP $28.99

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