Saint Clair, Pioneer Block 14 ‘Doctor’s Creek’, Marlborough, Pinot Noir 2018
Ripe strawberry and tobacco flavours combine with spicy cloves and vanilla, smooth and opulent style of Pinot Noir.
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 grapes are selected from the single vineyard “Doctor’s Creek” block, named after the small stream which runs through the centre. The vineyard is situated southwest of Blenheim where the soils are made up of clay and are rich, vigour moderating soils. Winemaking The fruit was harvested when it had reached full physiological ripeness and maximum flavour maturity. At the winery the fruit was cold macerated for five days to help extract maximum flavour and to enhance colour stability. 8% of whole cluster fruit was added to the fermentation to add a stems component to the mix. Specially selected cultured yeasts were used to carry out fermentation, during which the fermenting must was hand-plunged up to six times daily. Once dry, each batch was pressed to tank and then racked off gross lees to 24% new French oak and older, seasoned barriques. During its time in oak, the wine underwent malolactic conversion and was aged for 10 months, before being carefully prepared for bottling.
A luscious Pinot Noir with ripe damson plums complemented by aromatic floral notes. Smooth and opulent, with wild red fruit, cherry and spicy plum flavours enveloped in a fine, silky structure finishing with a hint of toasty oak.
Pinot Noir 100%