Joelle Thomson

Wine writer and award winning wine author

What I am drinking, reading and savouring each week


An expression of place... Rapaura Rohe reviews

Three new Sauvignon Blancs show how the influence of climate, proximity to the sea and free draining soils can create vastly different tastes in wines that are made from the same grape variety and the same broader region, in this case, Marlborough.

This trio of Sauvignon Blancs are the Rohe collection from Rapaura Springs Wines in Marlborough. Rohe is the Maori word for territory and is a name used to pay homage both to Maori culture and land in New Zealand and also to the wine concept of place, which the French call terroir. We call it turangawaewae in this country and whichever name it goes by, place comes through clearly in these very good quality Sauvignon Blancs. 

2023 Rapaura Springs Rohe Blind River Sauvignon Blanc RRP $24.90

Blind River is on the southern coast of Marlborough and is a dry, cool climate within the vast Marlborough region, which comes through in the high acidity and zesty lemongrass aromas in this wine. This is a succulent wine with complex citrusy layers of roasted lemon, ripe grapefruit and a hint of fresh herbs and melon, all combined in a mouth filling, almost full bodied and smooth textural Sauvignon Blanc.

A top wine from a great producer, which highlights the cooler side of Marlborough and great winemaking. Great wine to match with panfried fish with salsa verde. 

2023 Rapaura Springs Rohe Dillon's Point Sauvignon Blanc  RRP $24.90

The evocatively named Dillon's Point is one of Marlborough's most revered sub regional wine growing areas for high quality Sauvignon Blanc and is situated at the confluence of the Wairau and Opaoa rivers, close to the coast. This is a warmer part of Marlborough with the tempering influence of coastal breezes, making for blackcurrant leaf and green herbal aromas in a fleshy, medium bodied Sauvignon. Ripe passionfruit and rock melon flavours are balanced by medium acidity giving the wine a lingering finish. Very good quality and will improve over the next four to five years. 

2023 Rapaura Springs Rohe Rapaura Sauvignon Blanc RRP $24.90

Rapaura is an old wine growing area of Marlborough with youthful soils and, like many of the region's great white wines, this fresh youthfulness comes through on the palate. Tropical fruit flavours drive the taste here with layers of green gauge plums, a touch of green fresh herbs and a vibrant long finish, driven by bright refreshing acidity. 

2022 Rapaura Springs Awatere Pinot Noir RRP $36.90

Every self respecting great white wine region needs a flagship red wine as well and Pinot Noir more than lives up to the challenge in Marlborough. There are two key styles emerging and this one is from the cooler, windier and edgier Awatere Valley, a terraced sub region, south of the Wairau Plains and Blenheim. This wine is all a dry, youthful expression of Marlborough Pinot Noir with bright red flavours and notes of dark cherry with fresh acidity adding length. It is youthful now and will unfold more depth of flavour as it evolves over the next three to four years. It will make an excellent match with roast duck.