Rapaura Springs superb sauvignon

Left to right: Gus Altschwager, Matt Thomson and Brendan Neylon of Spring Creek Vintners. (Photo: Bob Campbell MW)

Who has heard of Spring Creek Vintners? My guess is that relatively few people are putting their hand in the air, yet Spring Creek Vintners is one of Marlborough’s fastest growing wine exporters and now produces wine from around 400 hectares of productive vineyard land half of which they own.

Around 65% of their wine production is sold in bulk or made under contract with 35% supplying their two labels Rapaura Springs and Summerhouse.

They recently purchased a large and impressive property in the Awatere Valley. There are 130 hectares planted with sauvignon blanc and pinot gris, with a further 20 to 30 hectares to be planted in the next couple of years.

The general manager of viticulture and winemaking is Gus Altschwager, who joined Spring Creek last year after ten years as regional winemaker for Oyster Bay. He is assisted by winemaker/consultant Matt Thomson, who made a significant contribution to the success of Saint Clair before joining Spring Creek recently.

Rapaura Springs’ Reserve Sauvignon Blanc is one of the country’s most successful wines over its relatively short seven-year history. I recently tasted all seven vintages back to 2012 awarding all but three of the wines (2012, 2016 and 2018) a score of 95 points. That’s a significant achievement for a wine that currently retails for around NZD $16.99.

The Rapaura Springs Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2018 is a grassier style than the usual lush, tropical fruit style that has typified the wine in the past but it shows impressive power and intensity.

Owner and marketing director, Brendan Neylon remarked,

“We’ve got to be 20% better than other wines at every price point to give the brand traction.”

Rapaura Springs’ Rohe Blind River Sauvignon Blanc 2018 is a new single vineyard label from Blind River district of the Awatere Valley (Rohe is a Māori word meaning territory or boundary). It’s a powerful example of the Awatere style with strong citrus and herb flavours. (NZD $18.99)

Finally, the 2018 Rapaura Springs Bull Paddock Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc is produced from grapes grown in their original vineyard in the Dillons Point region of Marlborough. A big and concentrated wine with passionfruit, box hedge and tree fruit flavours. (NZD $22)

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