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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 11 Cell Block Chardonnay 2006


  • Gold: The New Zealand International Wine Show 2007
  • Bronze: International Chardonnay Challenge 2007
  • Bronze: Air New Zealand Wine Awards 2007
  • 5 Stars: Wine Orbit Review 2007


"it is silky, enveloping ripe and flavoursome with hints of butterscotch, toasty oak and nutty oatmeal on the finish. It is fantastic drinking now but will reward some patient cellaring; you will need to be extremely discipline, because it's so tasty."
Yvonne Marie Lorkin, Bay of Plenty Times, 21 May 2007

"It is the most vibrant and attractive of the Pioneer Block Chardonnays at the moment with ripe stone fruit, mangos and vanilla oak on the nose. These beautiful flavours carry through to the palate with creamy texture as smooth as melted butter."
Sam King, Wine Orbit, July 2007

"Spicy, perfumed, floral, bready aromas with youthful French oak esters, this is more lifted, fruity and citrussy to the taste at first becoming rounded and creamy with toasty oak, juicy stonefruit and a glimmer of caramel."
Sue Courtney, August 07