Saint Clair ‘Dawn’ Methode 2013 and ‘Origin’ Pinot Noir 2017


There are countless ways to create a wine or tier of wines. The method traditionnelle style is one of deliberate intent to make that particular style and it involves a number of unique and committed paths and essentially most of them irreversible. In making the ‘Dawn’ Methode Traditionnelle, the Ibbotson family of Saint Clair needed to decide dedicating resources for it. Once chosen, the fruit and eventual wine must go through a specific blending process and secondary fermentation in bottle on lees for some time. The lengthy time from harvest to selling is extended with sales and profits delayed for an inordinate amount of time. This wine is a tribute to Neal Ibbotson’s mother who celebrated 100 years on 12 December 2012. The first vintage was the 2012 (click here to see my report). Here, I review the new 2013 vintage, which I saw at the Negociants Tour 2018 where I thought it displayed high Chardonnay white florals and citrus character. Here it seems broader and more complex.

A more flexible method of creating a wine range is by selection at assessment time. This is where only the best wine goes into the flagship labels, and there are progressively less strict criteria applied for the selection for lower ranges. A fine degree of discrimination can be employed, with grades and delineation made at distinct levels of character and quality. The parameters can easily be relatively easily changed to suit the vintage, but care must be taken when doing so. Saint Clair’s assessment system gives them the top ‘Reserve’ wines, with the ‘Pioneer Block’ wines under that. The new ‘Origin’ tier sits below the ‘James Sinclair’ brand, but above ‘Premium’ range. The ‘Origin’ wines are focussed vineyard sites for fruit sourcing. Here, I review the ‘Origin’ Marlborough Pinot Noir 2017. www.saintclair.co.nz


  • Saint Clair ‘Dawn’ Marlborough Methode Traditionnelle 2013
  • Saint Clair ‘Origin’ Marlborough Pinot Noir 2017

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