2012 Rippon Pinot Noir Mature Vines of Central Otago – New Zealand’s Very Best

New Zealand’s Finest!

 

I first began drinking Rippon’s phenomenal Pinots with the early 2000s, continuing my enjoyment and the consumption of their finest juice a few years ago with the release of their 2010s and sensational 2003s. My adoration is well documented in these pages.

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate is on record as well, referring to Nick’s wines as

“…Pinot Noirs that rekindled memories of those glorious 2005 Burgundy’s”.

I was also quite impressed to hear the news a few months back that Nick Stock, Senior Editor for James Suckling.com, in the New Zealand issue of “The Top 50 New Zealand Wines of 2016,” ranked Rippon’s 2012 the #7 Top New Zealand Wine for 2016!

The fruit for Rippon’s Pinot Noir Mature Vines is culled from an ancient parcel on the estate’s north-facing, steep, eroded slope. It’s a meeting point of glacial deposits: ancient soil, rock and coarse gravels, all based in schist, where Central Otago’s earliest vines were planted. Rippon’s Mature Vines cuvee is issued from all of the fully developed Pinot vines growing in this expansive parcel. This is where it all began for Rippon, and the fruit of the vine from this parcel bears witness to the perfectionist style Nick Mills (and his father Rolfe Mills before him) is renowned for.

For those new to these pages, I like to remind everyone just how vital Nick’s training has been to the continuity of these world class Pinot Noirs. Not only are these the oldest plantings in the region, but they are tended by a man who spent his formative years working the soil and terroirs of Burgundy; he knew how vital his understanding of such things would be. To that end, Nick tenured with de Villaine (Domaine de la Romanée Conti) , and spent time with Jean-Jacques Confuron, Lucien Jacob, Alain Meunier, Nicolas Potel and Domaine de la Vougeraie as well. His are truly the wines of a master craftsman.

2012 Rippon Pinot Noir Central Otago Mature Vines

This is the mature-vine assemblage of the entire property and has a more granitic, schist, wet-stone and rock edge as well as delicate perfumes and hints of pepper, not to mention poached raspberries and cherry fruit. Great depth and weight and good phenolic concentration. It’s all saturated in dark cherry flavors and plenty of tannins. No compromise in detail. Best from 2018, but will grow well past that.

96 points, Nick Stock for James Suckling.com

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Sigalas Rabaud Sauternes 2010 – Giving d’Yquem a Run for the Money

Quietly Famous Barrel Room at Sigalas Rabaud

Quietly Famous Barrel Room at Sigalas Rabaud

If Sigalas Rabaud is off your radar – even you die-hard Sauternes fans – it’s not a total surprise. With only 35 acres under vine, it ranks as the smallest of all the vineyards in Sauternes. Moreover, it has changed ownership so many times, it’s been difficult over the decades to discern the estate’s actual name at any time in history.

The current, hyphenated name reflects the original owners; the Rabaud family who were in charge in the 1600s, and the Sigalas family, who took over in the mid-1800s.

The final formation, which is recognized as Sigalas Rabaud today – land holdings, special hillside plantings – le bijou de Sigalas (“the jewel of Sigalas”) – and the rest, changed hands (with name variations ensuing) in 1903, 1929, and the ’40s.

By the 1970s, Cordier – an established Bordeaux corporation – became interested, and by the early ’90s they owned a substantial stake.

And that’s when things took a major turn for the better. The Wine Advocate’s Sauternes critic, Neal Martin – decades of experience under his belt with the subject – began to report on the goings on Chez Sigalas Rabaud.

With reviews in the mid to upper nineties, and prose to the effect of “Though Sigalas-Rabaud 2010 was extremely promising out-of-barrel, I never expected that it would trump d’Yquem in a blind tasting once in bottle”, suddenly the little estate on the hill became the cult secret of the appellation.

2010 Sigalas Rabaud Sauternes

“Though Sigalas-Rabaud 2010 was extremely promising out-of-barrel, I never expected that it would trump d’Yquem in a blind tasting once in bottle. It has an engaging, pure and lifted bouquet with scents of lemon curd, honey, ripe oranges and quince that are extremely well-defined. The palate is well-defined with a fine line of acidity, crisp mineralite and tension. This is very composed and tightly wound, a Sauternes probably built for Sigalas Rabaud btlthe long-term and not giving too much away now. Yet the class is already tangible. This is one of the best wines from the estate in recent years. Drink now-2030+.”

95 points – Wine Advocate (NM)

One worth the effort to secure, costing a fraction of its famous neighbor’s bottlings…