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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 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.
Region: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.
Viticulture: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.
Aroma:Lifted aromas of dark plum and tobacco leaf, with a touch of spicy oak.
Palate: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.
Cellaring: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