Neal and Judy Ibbotson were pioneers in the Marlborough wine industry, first planting vineyards in the valley in 1978 and then establishing Saint Clair Family Estate in 1994. They own 160 hectares of vineyard in 10 different Marlborough locations chosen specifically for the attributes of their individual "terroir" and ability to produce top quality grapes. Neal Ibbotson combines his extensive expertise in viticulture with the talent of one of New Zealand's leading winemaking teams led by Hamish Clark. Since 1994, when wines from the first vintage all won medals including gold, the name Saint Clair has been synonymous with quality and its award-winning record continues today. This is a sentiment shared by Bob Campbell MW, who says “Saint Clair now makes the country’s and perhaps the world’s best Sauvignon Blanc”.
2017 Saint Clair navigated challenging weather conditions during véraison and the harvest period. Flavours came into the fruit early and although the wines are a little lighter in alcohol, they are still appreciably full flavoured. 2017 was a good year for the early ripening varieties such as Pinot Noir, which had beautiful small bunches and berries of very good quality.
In 2001 Saint Clair introduced a ‘grading system’ for each of its vineyards and marks them out of 10 for quality each year. This provides valuable information in terms of which vineyards provide the best fruit and which varieties produce the best quality within each of the vineyards. The grading system is also used extensively as a management tool for identifying and improving best vineyard practices. The vineyards are carefully managed, using a sustainable approach with minimal use of vineyard sprays, maintaining an open canopy with good light and airflow, leaf plucking, fruit and shoot thinning and selection.
Made from a blend of Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir varieties, the fruit was machine harvested in the cool of the night in order to retain freshness and capture the fruit flavours. The grapes spent only a few hours on skins to extract the delicate flavour, aroma and colour and were then carefully pressed. After settling, the juice was fermented in stainless steel tanks at cool temperatures to retain fruit flavour and freshness. The wine was then stabilised and prepared for bottling.
Pale salmon in colour, a refreshing rosé with lifted aromas of sun-ripened strawberry, whipped cream and spiced pear. Beautifully balanced and finely structured on the palate with creamy fruit flavours of raspberries and strawberries leading to a hint of spice on the finish.
An ideal match with salmon, grilled fish or summer salads
Pinot Gris 95%, Pinot Noir 5%