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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 20 Cash Block Sauvignon Blanc 2009
WINEMAKER: Matt Thomson
Region:Previously part of Wairau Flood Plain (which built up the deep free-draining soils). This is on the northern side of the Roses Overflow – a waterway that separates this vineyard from Pioneer Block 1.
Soils: Deep fertile, free-draining soils.
Climate: Slightly cooler than most of the Marlborough Valley with a slower longer ripening period.
Vine Age: First crop vines.
Regional Characteristics & contribution to Uniqueness of Flavours: The free-draining alluvial soils of this vineyard have been built up over time by flooding. These freedraining fertile soils produce the intensity of flavour in the wine. (Note the vineyard is now protected by a stopbank). The intensity of flavours is typical of this region, however the spectrum of flavour is not only unique but quite uncharacteristic of this region. We think is due to it being first crop, having an
extremely healthy canopy with good leaf cover, and the vineyard rows being slightly off north/south.
Viticulture:The fruit was sourced from a single vineyard owned by the Register 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 capsicum and freshly crushed flowering herbs, with fragrant lifted mineral notes.
Palate:This is an intense and focussed Sauvignon Blanc with a powerful spectrum of freshly cut green capsicum and crushed herbs with underlying mineral tone. The palate is intensely concentrated and refreshing 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: 13.5% v/v, Titratable Acidity: 8.9g/litre, Residual Sugar: 2.9g/litre, pH: 3.45.
Food Match:An ideal match with Marlborough mussels, smoked chicken, fresh pasta or summer salads.
- Silver, NZ International Wine Show 2009
- 4 Stars, Winestate Magazine Special Edition 2009