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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 15 Strip Block Pinot Noir 2007
WINEMAKER: Matt Thomson
Region:The Lower Waihopai Valley directly west of Blenheim
Soils: Clay based.
Topography: Even, flat site.
Climate: Flat and even, at the mouth of the Waihopai Valley.
Vine Age: Fourth year cropping.
Regional Characteristics & contribution to Uniqueness of Flavours: The clay based soils provide a vigour-moderating environment conducive to growing top quality Pinot Noir.
Viticulture:The fruit was sourced from a single vineyard in the mouth of the Waihopai Valley. All Dijon clones, the fruit selected for this special wine was 53 per cent clone 777, and 47 per cent clone 115.
Aroma:Lifted aromas of raspberry and cherries, and intensely lifted aromatics of violet, complemented by touches of spice.
Palate:This elegant wine has a well–structured and refined palate. It has good length with flavours of raspberry and cherries, balanced by the acidity and soft tannins. Ageing in new French barrels has lent warm savoury notes which lead to a full lingering finish.
Cellaring:Drinking well now, and patient cellaring will reward over the next two to five years.
Alcohol: 13% v/v, Titratable Acidity: 6.2g/litre, pH: 3.55.
Food Match:Best matched with game or lamb dishes and served with mushrooms or rich savoury sauces.
- Trophy, International Wine Challenge 2009 Marlborough Pinot Noir Trophy 2009
- Trophy, International Wine Challenge 2009 - NZ Pinot Noir Trophy
- Gold, Christchurch Casino Pinot Noir Awards 2009
- Gold, International Wine Challenge 2009 - UK