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Rippon is one of Central Otago’s oldest wine-producing estates. Situated on the shore of Lake Wanaka with frankly dazzling views of the South Island’s Southern Alps, it’s the sort of place you only expect to exist in fairy tales
It was in 1975 that Rolfe Mills, the third generation of his family on the farm, began planting experimental rows of grapes. Through careful observation, and trial and error, these vines were whittled down to a prime selection of noble cultivars – mainly Pinot Noir, Riesling and Gewürztraminer – which were propagated on the farm’s most favourable slopes.
More than four decades later, these same unirrigated vines, the majority of which remain on their own roots, have been nurtured in the farm’s unique microclimate to produce some of the finest wines in Central Otago. Biodynamic since 2003, Rippon vineyard is split into a mosaic of different parcels, with forensic attention paid to each individual vine. In the cellar, fourth-generation winemaker Nick Mills vinifies most of these parcels separately, allowing for superfine-tuning of the wines
An unprecedented early, warm harvest is the overlay of conversation here, though hallmark Rippon tannin profiles and bright acidity has been up to the task in the suite of 2018 red wine releases.
Tension, precision, energy, length. Coiled and pent up, a wine of inward concentration, great velocity, a mesh of dark cherry fruit, spice, garrigue-like characters and smoky-mineral notes. Whoosh. Incredible. One of those wines you peg down to phrases like ‘power and grace’ though that hardly does it justice. This has the torsion and tannin profile of greatest wines in world, a sheath and length of epic nature. And delicious – fragrant, fruit pure yet complex, and all up a wonderful experience.
97 Points The Wine Front
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