Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Interview with Hamish Clark of Saint Clair Family Estate @SaintClairWine

A conversation with the winemaker.

Thoroughly enjoyed interviewing Hamish Clark today, senior winemaker for Saint Clair Family Estate in Marlborough, New Zealand.

A tremendous New Zealand wine tasting and two fun winemaker conversations. We began the October podcast with a long-distance call to Marlborough, New Zealand to speak with Hamish Clark, Senior Winemaker for Saint Clair Family Estate. Hamish shared with us why Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand is so special and many details on growing grapes and making wine on the South Island.

*Show LinkListen to the show.

Tasting Notes Saint Clair Family Estate 2012 Sauvignon Blanc:

Color: Shiny straw.
Nose: At opening aromas leaped out of the glass, big blast of passion fruit, grapefruit, barnyard floor, grassy, salinity, mineral.
Palate: Fresh, creamy, saline, kiwi, grapefruit skin, with passion fruit into the finish. Wow! This wine had it going on.

Paired this white wine with Brisling Sardines on bed of spinach tossed with sardine oil from the can of sardines, black pepper, chopped garlic and onion on toasted whole wheat bread. Tasty companion, a little slippery and messy, but delicious.

After 3 hours: More savory on the nose with grapefruit, grass and fresh chive, passion fruit and barnyard floor faded to background elements. Palate savory with herbal characteristics, spice, grass with lime and grapefruit peel on the finish, bright top palate. A certain ocean breeze character to this wine, enjoyable. Think brussel sprouts, asparagus, artichoke and mixed green salad accompanied by herb roasted chicken. 30 minutes later I was thinking this wine was at a "drink me now" stage.

Day two: Aromatic with passion fruit and grapefruit. Grapefruit and brightness stood out, nice crisp finish of tart, zippy, white grapefruit. Big like. Drink alone or pair with fish tacos. Strongly recommended.

Country: New Zealand
ABV: 13%
Closure: Screw cap
Price: $20
Sample provided by Winesellers Ltd.

Saint Clair Family Estate Cellar Door & Café
Corner of Rapaura & Selmes Roads
Blenheim, Marlborough, NZ
Phone: 03 570 5280

*Update: I am now co-hosting a monthly wine podcast on Minstrel and Muse Audio Art Magazine - we call it "Wine Muse World Tour" with host Linda Reznicek.

I don't know when I will have more New Zealand wine reviews to post, hope soon, but thanks for stopping by and remember to drink New Zealand Wine!


- William Pollard Jr.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Review: Framingham 2011 Sauvignon Blanc

Phew. What a busy start to summer! And with summer brings oodles of Sauvignon Blanc. My latest New Zealand bottle was the 2011 Framingham Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough.

At first glance, the color was a golden wheat, very clear with a hint of green. The nose offered notes of grapefruit, papaya and passionfruit. A bold nose with clear tropical fruit characteristics, I anticipated this wine to be delightful.

Upon first sip, this wine delivered exactly on the nose profile. Smooth, light and balanced with little to no bite, this was a winner! Not too sweet, with only hints of sweetness on your tongue, this was a great bottle! A short finish, with lingering notes of grass and grapefruit, it exhibits very traditional New Zealand Sauv Blanc notes & is highly recommended..

I pumped this wine and waited to open it again until day four, where is exhibited the same flavors. That wine pump really is amazing!

ABV%: 13%
Price: $12-$18
Vintage: 2011
Bottle Notes: At our boutique winery in the Wairau Valley, we craft expressive, individual small batch wines with new world purity and old world complexity. This 2011 Sauvignon Blanc delivers punchy flavours of passionfruit, grapefruit and redcurrant. Texture is enhanced by some barrel ferment and our signature mineral finish is retained.
Food Pairing Suggestions: Common with Sauvignon Blancs, oysters and seafood are recommended, although I think this would go well with a wide variety of foods. If you like this wine, it would pair well with almost anything as long as it isn't too sweet, or too heavy.
Grape Blend: 2011 Framingham Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is blended from fourteen base wines sourced from eight different sites in the Wairau valley including the North bank, Southern valleys, Lower Wairau and our own Estate at Conder’s Bend.
Importer: Evanton, Inc.
Current Vintage: They have recently released their 2012, but the 2011 is noted it can be drank for up to 18-24 months after bottling.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Review: Stony Bay 2011 Sauvignon Blanc

Stony Bay Sauvignon Blanc drew me in with the serene label. With the black and white, and the beautiful rocks in the water, I somehow decided I'd go for it.

After I first poured the wine, the color exhibited a light green, golden cast. The notes on the nose were more earthy, like a pinot gris, or a viognier, or even a chardonnay; very unexpected.

Upon first sip, there was crisp acid, with very little fruitiness. The sip was a little dull to be honest. After a few sips in, it became more smooth, with a short bite on the finish, with notes of green apple and grass. The wine was a bit heavy, and didn't exhibit notes of tropical flavors like we're traditionally used to with NZ Sauv Blancs.

By day two, the wine was very similar, but it did exhibit more traditional Sauv Blanc qualities, bringing out a bit more tropical fruit and tartness.

ABV: 13.0%
Vintage: 2011
Price: $13-$16
Region: East Coast, New Zealand
Bottle Notes: Stony Bay wines are made in a fruit forward elegant and refined style which makes them ideal to enjoy on their own or with matching food dishes. The 2011 Sauvignon Blanc displays bright fresh aromas of passionfruit and gooseberry. Crisp and vibrant with a long luscious finish. Suggested food pairings were spicy Asian dishes and seafood.
Importer: Saranty Imports, White PLains, NY
My Food Pairing Suggestions: I had this with a pesto caprese salad, and it paired well. I think this wine would pair well with a variety of lighter, savory food dishes.