Saturday, October 6, 2012

Review: Saint Clair Family Estate Pioneer Block 16 Awatere Pinot Noir 2010

Photo: The delicious Saint Clair Family Estate Pioneer Block 16 Pinot Noir.
I was a stranger to Pinot Noir and New Zealand wine. This year, everything changed.

In May I became obsessed with NewZealand wine. In July, I spent five days in Oregon wine country at the 5th annual Wine Bloggers Conference. One of the requirements of the conference is to taste wine, many bottles of wine. With glee, I tasted through dozens of excellent Oregon wines, of course, Oregon Pinot Noir featured prominently.

My new experiences regarding New Zealand Pinot Noir, helped focus my palate for Oregon Pinot Noir. The combination of a passion for New Zealand Pinot Noir, and five days wine tasting in Oregon wine country, has educated me in the finer pleasures of Pinot Noir. Which is how I recognized how good the SaintClair Family Estate Pioneer Block 16 Awatere Pinot Noir 2010 vintage was.

It's been a joy to discover and drink, New Zealand Pinot Noir. Saint Clair Family Estate has become one of my favorite New Zealand wineries. Not only do they produce top notch Sauvignon Blanc, they also produce stunning Pinot Noir. Last night, down to my last two bottles of Saint Clair, I opened the Saint Clair Family Estate 2010 Pioneer Block 16 Pinot Noir.

Tasting Notes

I grilled steaks, my wife made the salad and my son set the table. Saint Claire Family Estate delivered the goods. This Pinot Noir had a nice ruby color, with aromas of earthy cherry, oregano and cinnamon on the nose, it was smooth, even delicate. Swirling the wine around, it presented gobs of cherry, with vanilla and mushroom, it had a dry, tart finish. Yummy. The longer it was open, the more this wine expressed itself. Reminded me of the better Oregon Pinots I sampled this summer. Well balanced, a pleasure to drink alone and with dinner. It was very, very good. On the back label it suggests drinking by 2015. I think it is ready to drink now, but should hold up well for a few more years. Put this wine on your table to enjoy with dinner and friends. Recommended.

Winemaker: Matt Thomson
Awatere vineyard, a blend of Clone 5 and Clone 115
ABV: 13.5%
Closure: Screw cap
Suggested retail price: $30
Imported by: Wineseller, LTD
Sample provided by: Wineseller, LTD

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

Connect Details:

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.

This summer, My friends at Winesellers LTD, in Illinois, supplied me with several samples of Saint Clair Family Estate wine. You can find my reviews of these wines on this blog. So far, the Pioneer Block 16 Awatere is my favorite Pinot Noir of the bunch. Thank you, thank you.


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