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The single vineyard ‘Pioneer Block’ wines of Saint Clair require separate handling, the winery using 250 small tanks to manage this. The amount of detail for winemakers Matt Thomson and Hamish Clark and their team is considerable, but the result is a fascinating range of wines that express their origin and site. In essence Saint Clair is bottling ‘terroir’ for keen wine enthusiasts to ponder and enjoy. The quality per se of the ‘Pioneer Block’ wines has been extremely high as well, reflecting the identification of superior as well as individual vineyards by Saint Clair’s owner Neal Ibbotson.
Saint Clair 2008 Vintage
Rapaura Reserve Merlot 2008
A medium-bodied wine with delicious flavours of ripe plums, chocolate and mushroom, layered with hints of spicy oak.
Colour:Dense ruby red
Aroma:Lifted aromas of plums, dark cherries, currants and tobacco leaf.
Palate:A medium bodied Merlot with flavours of ripe plums, chocolate and mushroom, layered with hints of spicy oak. A full supple tannin structure supports an elegant and stylish palate, with well balanced acidity and a warm lingering finish.
Ageing potential:Drinking well now, this wine will continue to develop and delight over the next one to five years and is the perfect accompaniment to red meats and wild game.
Winemaking:The fruit was de-stemmed into small stainless steel fermenters for a four day cold soak before being fermented with selected yeasts and hand plunged up to six times daily during the height of fermentation. After pressing, the wine was racked to 80 per cent new French oak, where it underwent malolactic fermentation for enhanced integration of tannin and flavour. After ageing on lees for 10 months, the wine was blended, lightly egg white fined, balanced and carefully prepared for bottling.
Viticulture:The fruit for this wine came entirely from Saint Clair’s own low cropping Rapaura Road vineyard. From a warm site, the fruit was carefully monitored as it ripened to full maturity and harvested in the middle of April.
Alcohol: 13% v/v, Titratable Acidity: 5.5g/litre, pH: 3.56.
Food match:The wine is an ideal match with eye fillet, scotch fillet steak or with venison.