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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.
Pioneer Block 1 Foundation Sauvignon Blanc 2009
WINEMAKER: Matt Thomson
Region:Previously part of Wairau Flood Plain (which built up the deep free-draining soils).This is the vineyard where Saint Clair discovered the fruit to make the now world famous Wairau Reserve.
Soils: Deep fertile, free-draining soils.
Climate: Slightly cooler than most of the Marlborough Valley with a slower longer ripening period.
Vine Age: Older vines – 11 years.
Regional Characteristics & contribution to Uniqueness of Flavours: The free-draining alluvial soils of this vineyard have been built up over time by flooding. The vineyard is now protected by a stopbank. These free-draining fertile soils produce the intensity of flavour in the wine. The unique flavours are the combination of powerful passionfruit and honeysuckle.
Viticulture:The fruit was sourced from a single vineyard owned by the Sowman family on the fertile, free-draining soils of the lower Wairau Valley. The fruit was carefully monitored during ripening and harvested in the cool of the evening at maximum flavour maturity and physiological ripeness.
Winemaking:The juice was pressed off immediately to minimise skin contact and juice deterioration following harvesting. After settling, the juice was fermented using a variety of selected yeast in 100 per cent stainless steel at cool temperatures to retain fruit flavour and freshness. This batch was selected as a Pioneer Block wine due to its power and intensity of flavour.
Aroma:Powerful and intense aromas of passionfruit, blackcurrant, hints of grapefruit and an underlying mineral note.
Palate:This is an intense Sauvignon Blanc with a powerful passionfruit and blackcurrant spectrum and an underlying mineral tone. The palate is intensely concentrated and full with a long, 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: 7.9g/litre, Residual Sugar: 4.5g/litre, pH: 3.4.
Food Match:An ideal match with fresh Marlborough salmon or scallops with summer salad.
- Trophy, New Zealand International Wine Show 2009
- Gold, NZ International Wine Show 2009
- 4 ½ Stars, Winestate Magazine Special Edition 2009
- 90 points, Wine Spectator 2010