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"Clair Family Estate now sits alongside Villa Maria as one of New Zealand’s most awarded wineries. And it’s nice to know it’s still New Zealand family-owned."
Pioneer Block 16 Awatere Pinot Noir 2008
WINEMAKER: Matt Thomson
Region:Southern Awatere Valley
Soils: Windblown loess over clay.
Topography: A gentle north facing slope.
Climate: Slightly cooler.
Vine Age: First crop vines.
Regional Characteristics & contribution to Uniqueness of Flavours: Planted on devigourating soils a north facing slope, the closely planted vines and a long ripening season provide ideal conditions for development of concentrated flavours and tannin.
Viticulture:The fruit was sourced from a vineyard on the southern side of the Awatere Valley. The grapes harvested for this wine are from the clones 115 and 777. The sloping site allows each vine to receive maximum exposure to sunlight, while the cooler maritime influence sees acid and flavour retention.
Winemaking:The fruit was harvested clone by clone when it had reached full physiological ripeness and maximum flavour maturity. The fruit was held cold for four to five days at the winery prior to ferment to help extract maximum flavour and to enhance colour stability. Cultured yeasts were used to ferment the wine and during ferment the must was hand plunged up to six times daily. Once dry each batch was pressed to tank and then racked off gross lees. Half the volume went to 100 percent new French oak with the balance in stainless steel. The wine then underwent malolactic fermentation and was aged for nine months in barrel before being blended and carefully prepared for bottling.
Colour:Bright ruby red
Aroma:Aromas of ripe, dark berries with an aromatic lift of dried herb and violet.
Palate:An elegant wine with flavours of ripe, dark berries and a touch of spice with an intense finish.
Cellaring:Enjoy now or cellar for between two to five years.
Alcohol: 13.5% v/v, Titratable Acidity: 6.1g/litre, pH: 3.64.
Food Match:This Pioneer Block Pinot Noir is best matched with barbecued lamb rack or scotch fillet with mushrooms.
- 90 points, Wine Enthusiast Buying Guide Editors Choice, Joe Czerwinski, April 2010