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Pinot Noir outside Burgundy has never been more diverse, exciting and rich in expression. Rippon, from New Zealand’s Central Otago region, crafts structured, tense, ethereal and decadent pinots to rival the finest of the Cote d’Or. And the white’s are pretty extraordinary too!

 

The Whites

2020 saw a cooler than average growing season and low yields. The long hang time, however, resulted in whites of great complexity and concentration, coupled with chiseled and cutting structures. Classic.

 

The Reds

A warm and moist spring led to a warm and dry summer. Frost dealt a blow, lowering yields. The quality however is immense, poised and supple, with taut structures and even planes of flavour.

 

The Wines

 

Rippon Osteiner 2020

A German cross between Riesling and Sylvaner that we had not come across before. I can’t for the life of me understand why we don’t see more considering the tingling, tangy perfection of Rippon’s 2020 Osteiner. Incredibly complex and intense aromatics, you can smell it across the room, with orange zest, pawpaw, pineapple, apricot, nectarine, cherry, blackcurrant, orange blossom and citrus oil. Voluminous and deeply cored, mineral textured, mouthcoating and relentless driving acidity. Bright and vivid, packing real punch, with a touch of necessary residual sugar, to balance. Unbelievable energy, one of a kind really. To be taken seriously, very, and not as a curio. I would love to see how this ages and with all components in such abundance, perfectly balanced and the carry holding, gripping for minutes, I believe this will age well for decades. Only 14 dozen available in Australia.

 

Rippon Gewürztraminer 2020

Wild fermented, whole bunch pressed and 12 months on lees, this may be Rippon’s finest Gerwurz yet. Floral, delicate musk, sage, honeysuckle, lychee, red apple, citrus and white flowers. Sensual palate, so juicy and textured with layers of detail and a heighted sense of refinement. Lovely shape. Cut and corseted by deep acidity, off which clings and drips fruit of great clarity. Dusted throughout with Middle Eastern mixed spice, bringing all the textures and flavours together. One of the world’s great Gewürztraminer’s.

 

Rippon Mature Vine Riesling 2020

A Riesling of great drama, concentration and tension, of a style rarely found outside Germany. Exotic yellow fruits, cherry, green apple, savoury spice, apricot, yellow peach and honeysuckle. Medium bodied, deep and pure, a thrilling tense palate, Saar like. Rippling energy, gripped with piquant acidity, squeezing phenolics and dusted by mineral salts. Tamed by residual sugar, in the style of a Spatlese Feinherb. An absolute, mouthwatering, scintillating bargain.

 

Rippon Mature Vine Pinot Noir 2012 Cellar Release

Direct from the cool dark cellars of Rippon, and at 10 years old this is drinking beautifully. It’s interesting to taste the estate’s DNA, with no perceptible style changes over the years. As always, an expression of vintage, and 2012 is considered great according to Nick Mill, owner/winemaker at Rippon. Red fruits, cherry, plum, strawberry, raspberry, gamey, autumnal, cola and sandalwood notes. Poised, refined. Rhubarb, dark cherry, blood plum, clove, star anise and blood orange. Mineral tannins and gently lapping acidity. Beautiful drinking now, but will live for many years hence.

 

Rippon Mature Vine Pinot Noir 2019

A similar vintage to the 2012, but may see even greater heights. The emblematic wine of the estate, a blend of fruit from all pinot noir vineyards. Pure scents of blueberry, Asian spices, kirsch, cassis, violets, blood plum and a touch of cola. Composed and refined, mid-weight with a structure that is unique to Rippon, framing all the flavours from the moment the liquid hits the tongue. Texture and flavours woven seamlessly and tightly pulled. Some herbal notes of thyme and sage to mix with the savoury fruit. Precise, detailed and layered, with those suede and chalk tannins effortlessly holding the wine for minutes. I think this will be longer than the 2012, such is the balance and carry, and remarkable translucence of fruit.

 

Rippon Emma’s Block Pinot Noir 2019

Emma’s Block is at the bottom of the slope, by the lake, facing east. The soils, like the rest of the estate are of schist. This is a cool site, with winds whipping up off the lake and hitting Emma’s first. Cool and high toned, floral, pretty with more spice and red and briary fruit. Slightly more angular than the Mature Vine, the tannins more cutting. Again this is mid weight, but with a slight uptick in energy thanks to the ripe, but not sweet cherry, raspberry, strawberry, cranberry and pomegranate. So much lightness and poise, Rippon’s even plane of flavour. Those ever present, cutting tannins are a little more seductive at first, becoming finer, gathering precision the further along the palate. Tip toed and dancing perfection.

 

Rippon Tinkers Field Pinot Noir 2019

Usually the deepest and most structured of Rippon’s pinot noirs, with extra layers of flesh and structure. The warmest site and north facing, the fruit tends to be darker and that little bit sweeter. The 2019 is perhaps the most ethereal and fine boned Tinkers ever made, with liquor-soaked cherries, blackcurrants, dried cranberry, fresh compost and autumn leaves. Deep and pure, slightly more succulence – the tannins the ripest and the richest. Structurally, the tannins are embedded a little more, slightly velvet. Gliding, beating softly to a gentle, luxurious and reposed finish. Beautiful, brooding wine.

 

Rippon Lolo’s Pinot Noir 2019

A one off release (pity!), to commemorate the 70th birthday of Rippon’s co-founder, Lois Mills. Lolo’s Block is the highest of all Rippon vineyards and is the lowest yielding, due to its warmth and least fertile soils. Only 14 dozen made it to Australia, and of that we have only 12 bottles. The most complex of aromatics, sweet red fruits, hedge fruits and cassis. The roundest in shape, packed with sensual energy, a compote of succulent writhing fruits, great sweet/savoury tension, violets and Middle Eastern seven spice. Silken texture that firms up, zeroing in the wine’s shape, tapering off with a gentle squeeze of tannin. The greatest ever Rippon Pinot Noir?

 

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