Meet the winemaker behind the world’s best Sauvignon Blanc

At the age of 16, when his friends were contemplating careers in finance and law, Matt Thomson already had his heart set on wine.

“I was an unusual kid I guess,” he chuckles while explaining how, as a teenager, he was reading Robert Parker’s 1,000-page tome on Bordeaux and storing cases of wine under his bed.

Though perhaps it was this enthusiasm at such a young age which has earned Matt’s Rapaura Springs Reserve the title of World’s Best Sauvignon Blanc.

“I think I’m bloody lucky to have found winemaking so early,” Matt agrees.

Sitting in the tasting room at his Marlborough winery, swirling something very special in our glasses, Matt exudes all the passion one would expect from someone at the top of his field.

Rapaura Springs Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

Rapaura Spings owner Brendan Neylon and winemaker Matt Thomson raise a glass of the new vintage of their world champion Sauvignon Blanc

“Most people,” he says, “would back themselves on being able to pick out a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.

“In a world with oceans of wine with no sense of place, it’s fantastic to have a regional style with the greatest sense of place of any wine in the planet. And I wanted to make the best there is!”

No one is better suited to the challenge. Matt is relentless in his pursuit of excellence – whether competing in endurance kayaking or making wine.

World’s best Sauvignon Blanc

“Matt’s a no nonsense winemaker who believes wine quality follows directly from good fruit. He lets that quality shine through.” So said judges at the International Wine Challenge when they voted him their White Winemaker of the Year.

His career has taken him all over the world. As a result, he has worked a total of 50 vintages in 25 years. From South America to Italy, France, Spain, Romania and Hungary.
But his heart is in Marlborough, where he lives – and can channel all that experience into pouring the ultimate gourmet glassful.

Rapaura Springs Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

Rapaura Springs Reserve has been given the title of the World’s Best Sauvignon Blanc


So it was hardly surprising that when New Zealand’s leading family winery Rapaura Springs were on the lookout for an injection of top talent, they approached Matt. And he leapt at the chance to join the award-winning team already credited with “defining Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc” by Kiwi expert and Master of Wine, Bob Campbell.

The praise doesn’t stop there though. Look at the scores, two Gold medals, five gold stars, and the award for World’s Best Sauvignon from New Zealand’s Winery of the Year.

What’s his secret?

So what is Matt’s secret to creating the perfect expression of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc?

“It’s like a good chef,” Matt explains. “He must get the best ingredients and the best of
products. He has a garden and he knows how to use what it produces to make the perfect dish.

“We picked the grapes from Marlborough’s Lower Wairau region. Here vineyards like Dillon’s Point (pictured) deliver fabulous rich, ripe tropical and passion fruit – plus that lush concentration. It has less herby notes too. People simply love this style.”

Rapaura Springs Reserve has been given the title of the World's Best Sauvignon Blanc

Dillon’s Point in Marlborough’s Lower Wairau region

Luckily Laithwaite’s customers have a track record for New Zealand’s finer family estate Sauvignons – with quality being the key factor over cost.

So in our cellars and ready to go is the super fresh new 2018 vintage – at a very special launch price to help it on its way. Mission accomplished, Matt.

Christmas at Laithwaite’s

We’re almost ready for Christmas at Laithwaite’s Wine, for everything you need to prepare for the big day head over to our blog homepage where you’ll find everything you need to know about choosing the perfect Christmas gift, making mulled wine and recipes for fantastically festive cocktails.

About Laithwaite's Wine

We’re wine nuts, not wine snobs. We’ve been exploring the world on a mission to find great wine for the last 50 years. If you love adventure as much as we do, you belong with us. We know our winegrowers like family – and in some cases they actually are. Expect to hear from these legends of the soil, see behind the scenes access into vineyards and wineries and get news on fresh finds from our travels on this page. Drink responsibly. Visit for further health information. You must be aged 18 or over to follow.

1 thought on “Meet the winemaker behind the world’s best Sauvignon Blanc

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