In Marlborough, where big can be good: Rapaura Springs

Rapaura Springs is a somewhat surprising rising star in the Marlborough wine scene. They are owned by the Naylon family, and I tasted with Brendan Naylon and Sam Harrop who is a consultant here, helping out with winemaking and marketing. Matt Thomson is also involved on the winemaking side.

Rapaura Springs stems from the Spring Creek Vintners contract winemaking facility, which is a 6000 ton facility (big, but nowhere near the biggest in the region). They have access to good vineyard sources and this is the basis of the brand. Previously, they were making 40 000 cases for Coles, but now they’ve set their sights higher. Sam became involved in 2014 and began working closely with the winemaking team, doing trials, and encouraged them to start marketing single-vineyard wines at higher price points. Rapaura Springs have also recently purchased the St Lukes vineyard in the Awatere, which will increase their access to good fruit.

These are impressive wines, especially considering their price points.

Rapaura Springs Sauvignon Blanc 2017 Marlborough, New Zealand
60% Awatere, 40% Wairau. Brightly aromatic with nice green hints. Good texture in the mouth: polished and smooth with lovely weight. 88/100

Rapaura Springs Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2017 Marlborough, New Zealand
Mostly Wairau Valley. Taut, aromatic and showing a twist of reduction, this is pretty with some floral passionfruit, a bit of flint. Crisp, stony and focused with lovely fruit. 91/100

Rapaura Springs Bull Paddock Sauvignon Blanc 2017 Marlborough, New Zealand
This is a 30 hectare vineyard in Dillons Point. Nicely textured with good weight and focus, with a bit of savoury detail. Lovely acidity here with some saline notes. Understated with good concentration. 92/100

Rapaura Springs Pinot Gris Reserve 2017 Marlborough, New Zealand
Dry, textured, quite fresh and grapey with a bit of spiciness. Nicely focused with bright citrus fruit. Has nice spicy detail. 90/100

Rapaura Springs Chardonnay Reserve 2017 Marlborough, New Zealand
This has nice depth, with a touch of spicy matchstick and a subtle herby edge to the citrus and pear fruit. Quite linear with nice focus. 90/100

Rapaura Springs Pinot Noir 2015 Marlborough, New Zealand
All barrel. Very floral, bright raspberry and cherry fruit. Perfumed with a hint of ginger and spice. Supple and expressive with nice cherry fruit on the palate, with fine herbal notes. Nice precision here. 89/100

Rapaura Springs Reserve Pinot Noir 2016 Marlborough, New Zealand
Textured and refined with nice density and a bit of spiciness. Nice concentration and texture with raspberry and cherry fruit and some well integrated oak. Ripe with a savoury twist. 92/100

Rapaura Springs Limestone Terrace Pinot Noir 2016 Marlborough, New Zealand
40% new oak. From limestone soils in Ward in the Awatere, this is supple and understated with real finesse to the red cherry fruit. There’s lovely acidity here with a red fruit focus and some floral freshness, as well as good acidity. Fine spices and some grip on the finish. 94/100
Find these wines with wine-searcher.com

THE MARLBOROUGH WINE REGION

Part 1, Te Whare Ra
Part 2,  Mahi
Part 3, Fromm
Part 4, Saint Clair Pioneer Block wines
Part 5, Spy Valley
Part 6, Two Rivers
Part 7, Zephyr
Part 8, Framingham
Part 9, Clos Henri
Part 10, Brancott, Stoneleigh and Deutz
Part 11, Meeting the Vandals
Part 12, The Growers’ Story (video)
Part 13, Novum
Part 14, Folium
Part 15, Villa Maria
Part 16, Corofin
Part 17, Hans Herzog
Part 18, Te Pa
Part 19, Giesen’s single vineyard wines

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