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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

Our Wines

Other Vintages: 2015 | 2014 | 2013

Pioneer Block 17 Bay Block Merlot 2007

WINEMAKER: Matt Thomson


Saint Clair identified a small parcel of Merlot from a vineyard in Mangatahi in Hawke’s Bay. Wines from this region are named “Bay Block” within the Pioneer Block range.


Mangatahi, Hawkes Bay.


Soils: Free-draining silt loam soils.

Topography: Even, flat site.

Climate: Warmer inland site - very warm days and cool nights.

Regional Characteristics & contribution to Uniqueness of Flavours:

The vineyard is flat and even with free draining silt and gravel loam producing even ripening throughout the vineyard. Warm days allow fruit to ripen to full flavour maturity.


The fruit was sourced from a low cropping, immaculately tended vineyard in the Mangatahi region of Hawkes Bay. The fruit was carefully monitored and harvested at optimum flavour ripeness.


Dense ruby


Lifted aromas of dark plum and tobacco leaf, with a touch of spicy oak.


This Merlot is a medium-bodied wine; the palate is filled with ripe plums and chocolate with toasty undertones. A firm structure with supple tannins leads to a lingering finish.


Drinking well now and patient cellaring will reward over the next two-five years.


Alcohol: 14% v/v,, Titratable Acidity: 5.6g/litre, pH: 3.57.

Food Match:

Best matched with full-flavoured lamb or beef.



  • Gold, Royal Easter Show Wine Awards 2009 - NZ