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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 18 Snap Block Sauvignon Blanc 2009
WINEMAKER: Matt Thomson
Region:Lower Wairau, east of Blenheim.
Soils: Deep, fertile, even, free-draining, soils.
Topography: Even, flat site.
Climate: Cooler area, with a longer ripening season.
Vine Age: Third year cropping.
Regional Characteristics & contribution to Uniqueness of Flavours: This vineyard was originally an apple orchard growing the variety Snap. The very fertile and free draining soils of this site produce extremely healthy vines. This site produces intense blackcurrant and grapefruit flavours.
Viticulture:The fruit was sourced from a single vineyard on the fertile, free-draining soils of Marlborough’s lower Wairau area. The fruit was carefully monitored during ripening and harvested in the cool of the evening at maximum flavour maturity and physiological ripeness.
Winemaking:Directly after harvesting the fruit was transported to the winery and pressed off immediately to minimise skin contact and juice deterioration. After settling, the juice from each batch was fermented using a variety of selected yeast in 100 per cent stainless steel at cool temperatures to retain fruit flavour and freshness. After ferment the wine was stabilised and prepared for bottling. This batch was selected as a Pioneer Block wine due to its power and intensity of flavour.
Aroma:Powerful passionfruit, grapefruit and lifted notes of blackcurrant.
Palate:This is intensely concentrated with fresh passionfruit and blackcurrant, with a salty minerality that leads to a lingering finish.
Cellaring:This wine is drinking beautifully now and may also be enjoyed over the next one to two years.
Alcohol: 13% v/v, Titratable Acidity: 7.7g/litre, Residual Sugar: 2.8g/litre, pH: 3.45.
Food Match:An ideal match with lightly spiced Thai cuisine or grilled Marlborough salmon with char-grilled vegetables.
- Trophy, Bragato Wine Awards 2009
- Gold, Liquorland Interntional Wine Competition 2010
- Gold, Air New Zealand Wine Awards 2009
- Gold, NZ International Wine Show 2009
- Gold, Bragato Wine Awards
- 4 Stars, Winestate Magazine Special Edition 2009