The 2017 Vintage was awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2018 edition panel tasting of "Alternative" New Zealand Whites (not Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay) (see blue link below)...
Saint Clair (Origin) Viognier 2017 - Sept 2018 Decanter review
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 grapes for this wine are grown in Saint Clair's vineyard in the Gimblett Gravels region of Hawkes Bay. The 10 year old vines are planted on the stoniest part of the vineyard. These stony soils are vigour moderating free-draining soils, ideal for growing Viognier. The vines are trained using the VSP Guyot system there is reasonably high exposure as a result, reflected in the ripeness of the wine. The grapes are harvested in the cool of the night, preserving the varietal characteristics.
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 were harvested at optimal ripeness, pressed and the must settled. Fermentation took place in stainless tanks with carefully selected yeast to enhance the varietal characters. The wine was left on the yeast lees imparting texture and complexity to the resulting wine.
This wine is 100% Viognier.
An elegant wine displaying prominent notes of peach, apricot kernel and fragrant orange blossom laced with impressions of spice. Rich and textured on the palate this complex Viognier delivers flavours of apricot, burnt orange, savoury pastry and French fruit tart. A weighty mid palate leads to a subtle spicy note on the finish. The perfect accompaniment to chargrilled chicken and pumpkin risotto.
ABV = 13.0%.