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Pioneer Block 4 Sawcut Chardonnay 2010

WINEMAKER: Matt Thomson


The Sawcut Vineyard is named after the Sawcut Gorge, located within the Ure Valley (Marlborough).


The Ure Valley is an area of Marlborough 50 km south of the township of Blenheim. It is a narrow valley floor, protected by hills on three sides, and has very close proximity to the east coast. It has a unique micro climate, ideally suited to the production of top-quality wine.


Soils: Free draining river valley alluvial soils. This valley is noted for a very high limestone content.

Topography: Flat, on a plateau within the narrow valley.

Climate: A relatively warm site despite being significantly south. It has a similar number of growing degree days as Blenheim.

Regional Characteristics & contribution to Uniqueness of Flavours:

The high pH and limestone soils impact significantly on the flavour of this wine giving it palate weight and fruit intensity. It also contributes a mineral note on the palate.


The fruit was sourced from a single vineyard on free draining river valley soils. The grapes are 100 per cent Clone 95 Chardonnay, a clone that originates in Burgundy. This block is one of the earliest vineyard sites to be harvested.


The fruit was hand-picked when it reached full physiological ripeness and maximum flavour maturity. At the winery the fruit was whole bunch pressed to ensure the best fruit flavours were preserved. After settling, the juice was inoculated with selected yeast strains. The wine was 100 per cent barrel fermented in French oak (40 per cent new and 60 per cent seasoned). The wine then went through malolactic fermentation, followed by 10 months ageing on yeast lees with regular stirring. The wine was then carefully blended, stabilised with no finings and prepared for bottling.


Pale gold


Lifted aromas of nectarine and white peach, with a hint of spicy oak.


This elegant chardonnay shows flavours of nectarine and white peach supported by underlying minerality and spicy oak characters.


Drinking well now and patient cellaring will reward over the next one to five years.


Alcohol: 13.5% v/v, Titratable Acidity: 5.9 g/litre, Residual Sugar: 1.5 g/litre, pH: 3.54.

Food Match:

Perfect on its own or as an accompaniment to chicken and pasta dishes.


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