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Grape Varieties: 100% MerlotOptimum Drinking: Within 3 yearsWine Style: Fuly ripe style of New World MerlotAlcohol by Volume: 13
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 ten 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 viticultural with the talent of one of New Zealand's leading winemaking teams, led by Matt Thomson and Hamish Clark. From 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.
The outstanding fruit was sourced predominantly from a single vineyard within the Gimblett Gravels area of Hawkes Bay. The vigour moderating, free draining gravel provides a superb base for the low cropping Merlot. These vineyard sites have ideal ripening conditions for achieving the ripe berry aromatics and balanced tannin structure that Saint Clair Merlot exhibits. The fruit was carefully monitored during ripening and harvested in the cool evening at maximum flavour maturity and physiological ripeness.
The grapes were de-stemmed into small stainless steel fermenters for a five-day cold soak to help maximise flavour and colour extraction. During the fermentation, the wine was hand plunged and occasionally pumped over to gently extract flavour, colour and tannin. Following the primary fermentation, the young wine was kept in contact with the skins and tasted daily until the desired levels of extraction and balance had been achieved. Once pressed and settled, the wine was then racked to seasoned American oak where it underwent a malolactic fermentation. The wine was aged on its light lees, then lightly egg white fined, balanced and carefully prepared for bottling.
Complex ripe dark berry aromas of blackberry and boysenberry combine with Christmas spice and savoury toast. The mid-palate is supported by a well balanced acidity and the supple light powdered tannin structure works in harmony with a wonderful savoury finish.
Ideal with barbecued or grilled beef or lamb.
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