I started day 2 at Rippon. I have always felt that Rippon is a bit like this waterfront restaurant with a beautiful location, where they don't have to try too hard to fill the restaurant. This is a bit unfair, as no doubt they are working hard and seriously. Any biodynamic winery would. But they do play on its beautifully located vineyard a lot.
Part of the vineyard is now 33 years old, among the oldest in Central Otago. Schisty soils, together with its location make this a special site. Many vines are still on their own roots. I tasted the 2013 Rippon Pinot Noir, which had mineral character and was quite taut, reflecting the character of the vintage (89 points). The 2011 Rippon Pinot Noir started to show a garnet colour in the glass. This is a delicate and aromatic Pinot Noir with fine tannins, finishing very dry (89 points).
Unfortunately I did not get to try the single vineyard wines. Maybe I would have come away a bit more impressed.
At Felton Road I was not interested to taste finished wines, as I have many in my cellar. I was impressed with the Chardonnay fruit in the barrel. The combination of purity, intensity and elegance will lead to excellent expressions of this variety. An interesting discussion ensued about the inclusion of whole bunch in Pinot Noir. Felton Road's view was that a quarter to a third is beneficial for the wine structure, but more would raise the ph to above 4.0 and mask site specific characteristics. But aren't the stems site specific as well? It would have been interesting to have had Maude's Sarah-Kate Dineen's response to this.