Sunday, July 29, 2012

Review: Saint Clair Family Estate 2011 Marlborough Premium Sauvignon Blanc

This New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc Rocks!

The star grape variety in Marlborough is Sauvignon Blanc. I am now a huge fan. The fertile, free-draining silt loam soils of the lower Wairau Valley provide ideal growing conditions for Sauvignon Blanc. Marlborough is the largest grape growing and winemaking region in New Zealand and produces approximately 70 percent of New Zealand’s wine exports. I now know that the Saint Clair Family Estate is producing exceptional New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

Saint Clair Family Estate is owned by Neal and Judy Ibbotson, viticulture pioneers in Marlborough since 1978. Originally, they supplied grapes to regional wineries; but, a desire to extend the quality achieved in the vineyard all the way through to the finished wine, led to the establishment of Saint Clair Family Estate in 1994. I won't bore you with all the awards and accolades they have received for their wines. However, I will encourage you to seek out their wines. Discover how good New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc genuinely is. This wine was a delight, which I enjoyed over two days.

Saint Clair Family Estate 2011 Sauvignon Blanc and grilled shrimp.
Tasting Notes Day One.
Loaded with lemon when I opened it.
Color: Pale, straw yellow.
Nose: Bright, lemon and mineral.
Flavors: Framed with lemon flavor, following through a long lemon and mango finish, with pleasant minerality and clean acidity. I believe I need to find some gooseberries. Gooseberry is a common descriptor for NZ Sauvignon Blanc, and there is a certain aroma and flavor in this wine which must be gooseberry.
Summary: A wonderful meal enhancer, this was a refreshing wine and a great match to my grilled garlic shrimp, grilled russet potatoes and mixed vegetables. Lemon juice not required. This wine would compliment any meal benefiting from lemon flavor. Fantastic summer wine.

Tasting Notes Day Two.
Lemon not as forward on day two. The minerality was more obvious, with melon and toast on the nose. Good mouth feel. Fruit flavors of mango and melon, with lovely slate on the long finish. Pleasantly tart.

This is a rocking New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Ready to drink now. Recommended.

Winemakers: Matt Thomson and Hamish Clark
Closure: Screwcap
ABV: 13%
Suggested retail price: $20
Imported by: Winesellers LTD, Niles, IL
Sample provided by: Winesellers LTD

Saint Clair has developed six vineyards in different sites in Marlborough, including the Rapaura, Awatere, Waihopai and Omaka Valleys. Only superior fruit from the best locations for each individual variety is selected for the Saint Clair label.

Other factors contributing to wine quality include a sustainable approach with minimal use of vineyard sprays, open canopy with good light and airflow, leaf plucking, fruit and shoot thinning and selection with no cultivation. After harvest the fruit is moved rapidly from vine, to press, to tank and barrel, to preserve fruit quality and character.

Saint Clair Winery accredited by Sustainable Winegrowing NZ
Some of the sustainable initiatives they have implemented include reducing landfill waste by 40% by recycling glass, cardboard and plastic and using a substantial amount of recycled packaging (60% recycled cardboard and 40% recycled glass). Reduced water consumption significantly and subsequently reduced wastewater with some improvements in processes and staff training. Saint Clair is committed to continually working on ways to enhance sustainable practices over time. Saint Clair’s six vineyards are also accredited sustainable as are its contract bottlers.

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

Cellar Door Hours: Open 7 days per week from 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.
The Cellar Door & Café is CLOSED on the following public holidays: Christmas Day, Boxing Day, Good Friday and Anzac Day morning.

Connect Details:

I have learned that Saint Clair Family Estate is producing exceptional New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Look forward to reviews of more Saint Clair wines on Kiwi Daydreaming. I  have several more bottles of Saint Clair Family Estate wines to open at home.


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