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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

Pioneer Block 9 Big John Riesling 2006


  • Silver: Royal Easter Show Wine Awards 2007
  • Silver: Bragato Wine Awards 2006
  • Bronze: Air New Zealand Wine Awards 2006
  • Bronze: NZ International Wine Show 2006
  • Bronze: Bragato Wine Awards 2007
  • 5 Stars: Gourmet Traveller, June/July 2007
  • 93 points: Taste Magazine - Bob Campbell 2007


"The soft aromas of limes and apricots don't prepare you for the sumptuous blast of flavours that fill your palate accompanied by a honeyed sweetness balanced by bold acidity. This is a smart, modern wine to drink languidly now, or cellar to 2014."
Roger Ewer, Greymouth Star, 10 January 2007

" a medium-dry Riesling with good balance between sweetish limey fruit and fresh acidity. It's light, floral, balanced (10) and flavoursome."
Graeme Barrow, Norther Advocate, 3 February 2007

"Impressive German-style riesling with moderate sweetness balanced by knife-edged acidity. Subtle yet with good concentration and plenty of power. A delight to drink."
Bob Campbell, Taste NZ, 30 April 2007

"On the palate one word summed it up - balance. The wine had all the components; upfront sweetness accompanied by delightfully rich lemon citrus flavours and followed by a crisp acid finish."
Deborah Walton and Peter Morice, Manawatu Standard, 26 April 2007