Fall speaks to me of Bourgogne Rouge and thereabouts. Great Pinot Noir speaks in hues. Fall is a time to slow down and look back. Rippon has been making great wine for many years. Ten years ago when I was first getting serious about wine, Rippon stood out as a special Central Otago bottling. Looking back, they have come a long way.
The Wanaka sub-region of Central Otago has always been particularly well suited for both Pinot Noir and Riesling, given its unusually (for New Zealand) temperate climate. The schist and gravel soils produce a wine of fine structure. These lands always seemed well suited to the biodynamic practices of Rippon and their wines always had a sense of real purity. With the own-rooted and dry-farmed vines mostly planted in 1982 (and the farm itself dating back 5 generations in the same family), the extra 10 years of vine age since I first tasted these wines has brought the Pinot into the upper echelon. It is quite a remarkable leap upward.
Today Rippon represents some of the best Pinot Noir being made outside of Burgundy. The training Nick Mills received in Burgundy at Domaine Jean-Jacques Confuron and Domaine de la Romanee-Conti and in Alsace at Domaine Albert Mann has given him a clear sensibility that is rare in new world wine-making. These are ethereal, autumnal, hued wines of great balance and complexity. Their apparent airiness belies the serious material underneath.
I drank this wine with a perfect fall meal of papardelle and rabbit ragu.
For those seeking a sense of the remarkable place that is Wanaka, check out this video interview of Nick Mills in situ.
$86.86 + Tax at Marquis Wine Cellars