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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 19 Bird Block Sauvignon Blanc 2009
WINEMAKER: Matt Thomson
Region:Thomsons Ford Road, Lower Rapaura, close to the Opawa River.
Soils: Free-draining, deep alluvial, loam soils.
Climate: Cool days warm nights, typical of the Marlborough area.
Vine Age: Seven growing seasons.
Regional Characteristics & contribution to Uniqueness of Flavours: The rich loam soils in this vineyard are highly fertile, which gives this wine its intense boxwood, and grapefruit characters that dominate the palate.
Viticulture:The fruit was sourced from a single vineyard on Thomson’s Ford Road in the Lower Rapaura area north of Blenheim. This site has fertile, deep loam soils. The fruit was carefully monitored during ripening and harvested 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:Intense and focussed spectrum of aromas of boxwood, grapefruit and hints of blackcurrant.
Palate:This is an incredibly pungent Sauvignon Blanc with powerful passion fruit and grapefruit with an underlying mineral note. 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: 7.8g/litre, Residual Sugar: 3.5g/litre, pH: 3.55.
Food Match:An ideal match with fresh seafood, chicken or vegetarian cuisine.
- Champion Sauvignon Blanc and New Zealand Wine Cellars Spence Brothers Trophy, Bragato Wine Awards 2009
- Gold, Liquorland International Wine Competition 2010 NZ
- Elite Gold, Air New Zealand Wine Awards 2009
- Gold, NZ International Wine Show 2009
- Silver, Bragato Wine Awards
- 90 points, Wine & Spirits Magazine USA - Issue Feb 2011