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Pioneer Block 4 Sawcut Pinot Noir 2011

WINEMAKER: Matt Thomson and Hamish Clark


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


The Ure valley is about 50km south of the Blenheim town ship (or half way between Kaikoura and Blenheim). The site is on a narrow valley floor protected by hills on three sides and very close to the east coast. It has a unique micro climate and is ideally suited to the production of top quality wine.


Soils: Free draining river valley alluvial soils with very high limestone content.

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

Climate: Quite a warm site with simular growing degree days as the Wairau Valley, Blenheim.

Regional Characteristics & contribution to Uniqueness of Flavours:

The high pH soil and limestone impacts significantly on the flavour of this wine, and ensures it has great palate weight and fruit intensity.


The grapes harvested for this single vineyard wine are from Dijon clones 667 and 777 with a small amount of 115.


The fruit was harvested when it had reached full physiological ripeness and maximum flavour maturity. At the winery the fruit was held cold for five days prior to fermentation to help extract maximum flavour and to enhance colour stability. Specially selected yeast was used to carry out the primary alcoholic fermentation, during which the fermenting must was hand plunged up to six times daily at the peak of fermentation. At dryness the wine was pressed, then racked off gross lees to a mixture of 35 per cent new French oak and older seasoned 225 litre oak barriques. During maturation the barrels were regularly tasted until the right balance was achieved (ten months). During its time in oak, the young wine completed malolactic fermentation. The wine was then carefully extracted from oak, blended and prepared for bottling.


Bright ruby.


Lifted notes of black cherries with hints of dried wild thyme and savoury oak.


A very smooth and elegant Pinot Noir with a well rounded full palate. Well balanced acidity and ripe tannins give way to luscious black cherry with spicy oak. Aging in French oak has lent warm savoury notes and a lifted spicy finish.


Perfect for drinking immediately this wine will continue to develop for at least another five years from vintage date.


Alcohol: 13.5% v/v, Titratable Acidity: 6.5g/litre, pH: 3.59.

Food Match:

An ideal match with full flavoured fish, spring lamb or barbequed beef.


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