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”.
The fruit is sourced from a number of specifically chosen low cropping vineyards from the Southern Valleys region of the Wairau Plain. The vines are grown in very clay rich, vigour moderating soils. Each vineyard is closely monitored and tasted to determine when the flavours were at their optimum and harvested in the cool of the morning.
The grapes from each vineyard underwent a cold maceration for five days, to assist colour and flavour extraction. The juice was then inoculated with yeast for the primary alcoholic fermentation and hand plunged up to eight times daily, during the height of fermentation. When dry, each batch was pressed to tank, settled and then racked off the gross lees to either stainless steel tanks or a combination of new and older, seasoned French oak. The wine underwent 100% malolactic fermentation, before being blended, fined, lightly filtered and gently prepared for bottling.
Aromas of sun-kissed dark berries, boysenberry and freshly picked blackberries, are interlaced with toasted wood notes and a hint of dark chocolate. The palate is full of sumptuous dark berries, layered with freshly ground coffee beans and dark chocolate. A hint of cinnamon spice leads into a savoury finish.
Beautifully matched with barbecued venison or seared lamb.
This wine is suitable for vegetarians.