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”.
Flowering conditions in December were perfect, followed by the hottest temperatures Marlborough has experienced in January. February produced a month of rainfall. Despite these challenging weather conditions, the fruit ripened well - 10 days earlier than usual. Effective methods of canopy management and cropping levels; and extended dry periods in March kept the vines healthy. Lower yields produced ripe and intensely flavoured fruit in 2018.
The fruit was sourced from the fertile, deep, free-draining silt-loam soils of the lower Wairau Valley. The rows are planted north-east to south-west at a 43 degree angle rather than the typical north to south. This leads to slightly greener characters in grapes on the south facing side and more tropical characters in grapes on the north facing side. The resulting wine is multi-dimensional and complex. The site is cooler than some other areas of the valley and hence slower to ripen. The distinguishing flavour is of crushed herbs - which is one often associated with the coastal Awatere region. Careful monitoring during ripening and harvesting in the cool of the evening ensures fruit of maximum flavour maturity and physiological ripeness.
The fruit was pressed off as quickly as possible to minimise skin contact and preserve the quality of the juice following harvesting. After settling the juice was fermented using selected yeast in 100% stainless steel at cool temperatures to retain fruit flavour and freshness. This batch was selected as a Pioneer Block wine due to its unique flavour, intensity and complexity.
This Sauvignon Blanc is distinctively Marlborough with green notes of gooseberry, nettle and blackcurrant bud. The fresh, vibrant palate layers blackcurrant with tropical passion fruit, white peach and a mineral, slightly salty richness which leads to a long, lingering finish.
Ideal with vegetarian cuisine such as Goat's Cheese parcels or fresh seafood such as Fruits de Mer.
Sauvignon Blanc 100%