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Featured Reviews

Saint Clair 2016 Premium Pinot Gris Rosé and 2015 Block 17 ‘Plateau’ Cab/Merlot

28 April,2017
The Saint Clair viticultural and winemaking teams go through a rigorous classification of the fruit, the ferments and the resultant wines to decide which range they are destined for. No doubt the process is quality based, but character and style must play an important part, and this applies to all the different varieties and styles made. The ‘Reserve’ wines are bottlings of the lots, usually single vineyard wines, deemed to be the best of type for that vintage. The ‘Pioneer Blocks’ are selected for the site specific expression and individual character. In essence the ‘Premium’ range is that which blends high quality fruit that may be from multiple sources, and the ‘Vicar’s Choice’ made for accessibility. What is particularly fascinating is that Saint Clair appears to gain gold medals and top awards across all the tiers, and not just the ‘Reserve’ of ‘Pioneer Block’ wines. This is an indication of the overall high quality of the fruit for all the Saint Clair wines, and the ‘correct’ style interpretation. Here, I review two wines, the 2016 ‘Premium’ Marlborough Pinot Gris Rosé which went gold at this year’s Royal Easter Show Wine Awards, and the 2015 ‘Pioneer Block 17 – Plateau’ Gimblett Gravels Cabernet/Merlot, which demonstrate the diversity which which the Saint Clair team manage.


Saint Clair ‘Premium’ Marlborough Pinot Gris Rosé 2016

Rose from New Zealand – Marlborough

Very pale salmon-pink colour with a little depth, near colourless on the rim. The nose is very fresh and elegantly concentrated with thirst-quenching aromas of quince and pomegranate along with subtle red florals and mineral nuances. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has gently rich and sweet fruit flavours of quince, pomegranate, white stonefruits and suggestions of strawberries, unveiling red florals and mouthwatering mineral notes. The palate is softly concentrated and has a light, dry-textured line with integrated acidity that carries the wine to a lingering finish of florals and minerals. This is a delicately rich and sweet fruited dry rosé with quince, pomegranate and stonefruit flavours along with red florals and thirst-quenching mineral notes. Serve as an aperitif and with canapes over the next 2 years. A blend of Pinot Gris with 3.55% Pinot Noir, the fruit given some skin contact and cool-fermented in stainless-steel to 13.0% alc. and 3.9 g/L RS. 18.0/20 Apr 2017 RRP $21.50

Saint Clair ‘Pioneer Block 17 – Plateau’ Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Cabernet/Merlot 2015

Blended Red from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

Very full, near-impenetrable black-red colour with youthful purple hues. This has a full and gently voluminous and deep nose with aromas of ripe blackberry, blackcurrant and black plums, along with subtle notes of savoury herbs, a hint of meat and iron-earth complexities. Medium-full bodied, the palate has plush and sweetly rich, ripe and vibrant fruit flavours of blackberries, blackcurrant and plums harmoniously entwined. The fruit vitality is enhanced by fresh, lacy acidity. The fruit is supported by balanced tannin extraction lending a supple, accessible structure and good linearity. The wine flows smoothly, unfolding nuances of savoury herbs and iron-earth nuances, leading to an elegant, lingering finish of plums and liquorice. This is a rich, sweet-fruited Cabernet/Merlot with black fruit flavours and iron-earth and herb detail on a supple, but fresh palate. Match with grilled and roasted lamb, beef and venison dishes over the next 6-7+ years. A blend of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon and 22% Merlot from the company’s vineyard on Omahu Road, Gimblett Gravels, fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine spending 11 months in 55% new French oak. 18.5/20 Apr 2017 RRP $37.90
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