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So far, the 2011s show plenty of promise and some pretty terrific wines and values. At the top of the list, not surprisingly, is Saint Clair. Saint Clair winemaker Matt Thomson is passionate about Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, and he's exploring the region in depth with the Pioneer Block series, which focuses on select parcels and vineyard sites. I like those wines very much but the reserve bottling is truly the standout - aromatic and elegant, and wonderfully delicious.
Pioneer Block 8 Friar's Sauvignon Blanc 2007
WINEMAKER: Matt Thomson
Region:Grovetown area, north-east of Blenheim.
Soils: Deep fertile even, free-draining, sandy soils.
Topography: Flat, warm site.
Climate: Slightly warmer than the lower Wairau but slightly cooler than Rapaura.
Vine Age: Second cropping vines at low yields.
Regional Characteristics & contribution to Uniqueness of Flavours: The sandy soils contribute to riper stone fruit characters in the wine. The wine is more like a Hawke’s Bay style - an interesting Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc at the ripe tropical end of the flavour spectrum.
Viticulture:The fruit was sourced from a single vineyard on the fertile, free-draining soils of Marlborough’s Grovetown area. The fruit was carefully monitored during ripening and harvested in the cool of
the evening at maximum flavour maturity and physiological ripeness.
Aroma:Intensely lifted fresh stone fruit characters with uplifted passionfruit and gooseberry notes.
Palate:The palate has a powerful concentration of fresh peach and passionfruit with mineral notes that give the palate long lasting intensity.
Cellaring:This wine is drinking beautifully now and may also be enjoyed over the next one to two years.
Alcohol: 12.5% v/v, Titratable Acidity: 7.4 g/litre, Residual Sugar: 3.0g/litre, pH: 3.33.
Food Match:An ideal match with lightly spiced Thai cuisine or grilled Marlborough Salmon with char-grilled vegetables.