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The single vineyard ‘Pioneer Block’ wines of Saint Clair require separate handling, the winery using 250 small tanks to manage this. The amount of detail for winemakers Matt Thomson and Hamish Clark and their team is considerable, but the result is a fascinating range of wines that express their origin and site. In essence Saint Clair is bottling ‘terroir’ for keen wine enthusiasts to ponder and enjoy. The quality per se of the ‘Pioneer Block’ wines has been extremely high as well, reflecting the identification of superior as well as individual vineyards by Saint Clair’s owner Neal Ibbotson.
Raymond Chan

Awards & Accolades

Rapaura Reserve Merlot 2004


  • Silver: Air NZ Wine Awards 2005
  • Bronze: Royal Easter Wine Show 2006


“Intense magenta-black, with aromas of cracked pepper, blackened meat, ripe plum and blackcurrant characters. Very drinkable, with fresh berryfruit, eucalypt and molasses on the palate."
Yvonne Dudman, Hawkes Bay Today, 29 April 2006

“It has deep and brillant colour, and the nose is rich and smooth aromas of plums and other rich fruit. The palate is rich fruit cake flavours of plums, currants and earthly oak. It has very soft tannins and is nicely balanced to linger in the mouth.”
Peter Shaw, Waikato Times, 31 May 2006

"This is a fruity open-knit, friendly merlot, with impressions of tamarillos and plums overlaid by hints of vanillary oak. The Tannins are soft, which makes it quite accessible at this stage, although it does have a lively spine of crisp acidity which tightens the structure."
Ivan Donaldson, The Press, 1 June 2006