Joelle Thomson

Wine writer and award winning wine author

What I am drinking, reading and savouring each week


Rapaura Springs puts Sauvignon’s best foot forward

Rapaura Springs is a winery owned by Ian and Rosemary Wiffin, Margaret and Brendan Neylon and John Neylon. The Neylon family have been instrumental pioneers in Marlborough’s green lip mussel industry and also now own substantial vineyard land in Rapaura and Dillons Point in Marlborough. They describe their vineyard land as prime and their top wines support this assertion with consistently high quality, dry styles and  medium to full bodied styles.
This week I tasted their four new Sauvignon Blanc releases, all from 2021, and a sweet Riesling from 2018.
The Sauvignon Blancs are outstanding representations of Marlborough’s most planted grape.

If you have yet to be seduced by Sauvignon, try these succulent sensational whites, which put the grape’s best foot forward from the world’s leading Sauvignon Blanc region.

  • Rapaura Springs is a member of Appellation Marlborough Wines, which means 100% of its wines are made entirely with grapes grown in the Marlborough region.

2021 Rapaura Springs Rohe Dillons Point Sauvignon Blanc RRP $27.90
Dry, full bodied, smooth and refreshing, this Sauvignon Blanc has a creamy mouthfeel enhanced by savoury lees flavours of oatmeal, almonds and fresh grainy sourdough. It is fully dry with 3.6 grams residual sugar and expresses notes of tropical fruit which are kept in delicious succulent balance by the refreshing crisp flavoursome bite of a Granny Smith apple and lime zest. This is an exceptional take on Sauvignon Blanc, made from grapes grown at the confluence of the Wairau and Opawa rivers in Marlborough.

2021 Rapaura Springs Bull Paddock Sauvignon Blanc RRP $27.90
This is the most impressive 2021 Sauvignon Blanc to touch the sides of my glass so far this year. It’s early days but this wine continues to live up to its XXX-factor of sensational concentration of flavour which is balanced by a fresh, full body and great dry taste.
The Bull Paddock Vineyard is in the Dillons Point sub region of Marlborough’s Lower Wairau Valley and, as its name suggests, was once used for raising bulls prior to being converted to a vineyard. Soils here are stony and provide vines with extremely favourable ripening conditions to  produce grapes with power and density; flavours of lush tropical fruit, rich fresh lemon zest and cream all leap out of each sip of this pure, long and deliciously rewarding Sauvignon. One of Marlborough’s best whites, every year.

2021 Rapaura Springs Rohe Rapaura Sauvignon Blanc RRP $27.90
Here is a stunner from Marlborough, a dry medium bodied Sauvignon Blanc that puts this famous grape’s best foot forward with weight and textural qualities as much as it does with fruit appeal. This is a Sauvignon Blanc with great mouthfeel and deliciously fragrant perfumed aromas of intense freshly picked herbs, such as oregano and sage. I love the dry taste and long, rewarding flavoursome style.

2021 Rapaura Springs Rohe Blind River Sauvignon Blanc RRP $27.90
Blind River is the driest, coolest and most wind swept of all wine regions in Marlborough and this provides a freshness and ironic softness in this wine, which is a lively, smooth, crisp youthful expression of Sauvignon Blanc.
Flavours of fresh lemon thyme and Granny Smith apples combine with notes of passionfruit and guava, all combining in a medium bodied, dry Sauvignon. This is a very good wine from New Zealand’s biggest wine region.

2018 Rapaura Springs Gravel Lane Vineyard Botrytised Riesling RRP $34.90
This is a full on, full bodied, deliciously ripe Riesling made with grapes grown in Marlborough’s Omaka Valley. The late harvest flavours of the grapes shine in this wine which tastes of orange blossom, ripe tangelos and lime zest with juicy acidity adding succulence to every flavoursome sip. It lingers thanks to the bright acidity which balances the sweetness. The alcohol is 10.5% ABV and only 1998 bottles were produced.