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Saint Clair Pioneer Block 4 Sawcut Chardonnay 2016

The Sawcut vineyard is located at the entrance to the limestone Sawcut Gorge, situated in the Ure Valley in the south of 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 very high limestone content.

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


A relatively warm site despite being further south than most of Marlborough’s vineyards. It has a similar number of growing degree days as Blenheim.

Regional characteristics and 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. This block is one of the earliest vineyard sites to be harvested. The vines are Burgundian clone 95.

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 fermented in French oak barriques, a quarter of which was new oak. The wine then went through malolactic fermentation, followed by ten months ageing on yeast lees with regular stirring. The wine was then carefully blended, stabilised and prepared for bottling.

Pale gold.

Lifted aromas of nectarine and grapefruit with a hint oyster shell.

An elegant palate with luscious stone fruit and spice notes.

Will continue to improve and reward with careful cellaring over the next five years.

Wine analysis:
Alcohol 13% v/v, Residual sugar 0.4g/litre, Acidity 5.3g/litre, pH 3.44

Food match:
Well matched with soft French goats cheese.


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