AT A GLANCE:
THE BEST VINEYARD IN AUSTRALASIA
Name of wine estate: Rippon
Country: New Zealand
Wine region: Central Otago
Standout points: Jaw-droppingly beautiful views from the shore of Lake Wanaka; stunningly sleek biodynamic wines
Winemaker: Nick Mills
Wine style: Precise, site-specific noble varieties (Pinot Noir, Riesling, Gewürztraminer)
What makes Rippon one of the most desirable estates in the world to visit? The wines, the views and the people – in equal measure. Lake Wanaka, an ancient moraine lake, shimmering under the crystal light of a sunny Central Otago day must count as one of the most Instagrammable images on the planet. That Rippon maintains 15ha of vines in this immaculate landscape is wonder enough, but the quality and sense of place of its wholly estate-grown wines gives this little corner of heaven an extra special appeal.
A sense of place
When you work, as Burgundy-trained fourth generation winegrower Nick Mills and his team do, in a place of such pristine beauty as this, it makes sense to farm as naturally as possible. So it is that organic and biodynamic methods and intensive handwork – the team really is in the vineyards almost every day – are standard at Rippon. It can be sensed in the wines. These are terroir wines – they grow mainly Pinot Noir, along with Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Gamay – of such crystalline purity that after tasting them on the terrace you would be forgiven for wishing to up sticks and take up residence here on the lakeshore.
Biodynamics 101, anyone?
Rippon’s cellar door is open for small group tastings by (uncharged) appointment throughout the year. Expect to enjoy an informal yet informed tasting of some of the best wines of Central Otago as you’re guided through a selection of five or six Rippon wines by a switched-on member of the Rippon team, who will talk you through the farm, the family’s history and, if you’re game, the arcane world of biodynamics.