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Wineries whose Pinot Noir impressed me most include...Saint Clair...
James Laube Wine Spectator USA

Pioneer Block


Pioneer Block 1 Foundation Sauvignon Blanc

The ‘Foundation’ vineyard is where grapes were first harvested to make Saint Clair’s flagship Wairau Reserve Sauvignon Blanc in 2000. This site is recognised as the foundation or building block for the subsequent development of some of Saint Clair’s finest Sauvignon Blanc wines. This vineyard has fertile free-draining alluvial soils and is located east of the Blenheim township.


Tasting Notes: 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005

Pioneer Block 2 Swamp Block Sauvignon Blanc

This site for Pioneer Block 2 Sauvignon Blanc was originally a low lying, poorly drained, swampy area. Now a well developed and well maintained vineyard, it is located near to the coastline of Cloudy Bay and has a cooler climate than other areas in Marlborough. This provides a longer growing season for the grapes thereby adding flavour intensity to the wines.


Tasting Notes: 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2010 | 2009 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005

Pioneer Block 3 43 Degrees Sauvignon Blanc

The 43 Degree vineyard is planted with vineyard rows running in an unusual angle of 43 degrees North East to South West. This results in more shade to the southerly aspect of each row thereby producing a slightly more herbaceous Sauvignon Blanc than other sites in Marlborough.


Tasting Notes: 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005

Pioneer Block 6 Oh Block Sauvignon Blanc

‘Oh’ my goodness what amazing flavours! This wine is made from fruit harvested from the O’Dwyers Road vineyard in the Lower Rapaura area lying to the north of Blenheim. The site has fertile, free draining deep silt soils which provide an exciting flavour profile to this wine. This Sauvignon Blanc has powerful passionfruit, citrus and blackcurrant flavours and is intensely concentrated with a long, lingering finish.

Block 6 has aquifers very close to the surface and this may cool the root-zone resulting in very late harvest dates and resulting extended flavour development. This seems to give us super-charged Sauvignon characters.


Tasting Notes: 2011 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006

Pioneer Block 11 Cell Block Sauvignon Blanc

This vineyard is located in the Dillon’s Point area, in the lower Wairau Valley and bounders the Opawa river. The soils are fertile and deep and the area has cooler climate, compared to most of the Wairau Plain which provides a longer growing season.

The wine is named after one of Saint Clair’s growers, Colin MacKay, an ex Detective with the NZ Police.


Tasting Notes: 2011 | 2010 | 2007

Pioneer Block 18 Snap Block Sauvignon Blanc

This vineyard is situated at lower Wairau to the east of the town of Blenheim on a site that originally grew apples of the ‘Snap’ variety. Soils are even, deep, fertile, free draining , silt loams, which provide vigour so essential for Sauvignon Blanc to produce intense powerful flavours. Slightly cooler, due to the closer proximity to the sea , than much of Marlborough, ripening is slightly slower, which helps retain intensity of flavour .

This area is becoming increasingly recognized as producing some of Marlborough's, and arguably the worlds, best Sauvignon Blanc.


Tasting Notes: 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008

Pioneer Block 19 Bird Block Sauvignon Blanc

This vineyard is situated on Thomson’s Ford Road in the Lower Rapaura area north of Blenheim (close to the Opawa River). The soils are free-draining, deep alluvial, loam soils. Named after the owners Bob and Gill Bird – these are the Birds we love to have on vineyards!


Tasting Notes: 2010 | 2009

Pioneer Block 20 Cash Block Sauvignon Blanc

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. 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). Owned by the Register family (hence the name Cash Block) the first harvest from these grapes was in 2009.


Tasting Notes: 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2009

Pioneer Block 21 Bell Block Sauvignon Blanc

The fruit for this wine was sourced from a single vineyard owned by Peter and Kath Campbell on the fertile, free draining soils of the lower Wairau Valley. 

A wonderful focused Sauvignon Blanc with powerful and intense herbaceous flavours.


Tasting Notes: 2012 | 2011 | 2010

Pioneer Block 24 Arthur Sauvignon Blanc

Pioneer Block Arthur gets its name from its vineyard owners Ken and Gaynor Arthur.

Ken Arthurs quest to keep improving his understanding of his site has seen him finally crack into the Pioneer Block range, achieved by improving the canopy health and eliminating any stresses the vines may encounter. This has produced a very classic and concentrated style of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.


Tasting Notes: 2013

Pioneer Block 25 Point Five Sauvignon Blanc


Tasting Notes: 2015