Saint Clair Omaka Reserve Chardonnay 2011

For over a decade, Saint Clair has made gold and trophy winning Chardonnay wines at the top level. The flagship ‘Omaka Reserve' label has brought much credibility to Marlborough as a region for producing Chardonnay wines every bit as good in quality as those from Gisborne and Hawke's Bay, albeit in a different style, reflecting the region. But then again, the Saint Clair ‘Omaka Reserve' wine is different from most Marlborough Chardonnays and indeed Chardonnays from throughout the country, especially in regard to the use of American oak barrels for fermentation and maturation, and a high proportion of it new. Saint Clair's winemakers Matt Thomson and Hamish Clark reckon that the highest grades of American oak can be just as fine as French oak. A tasting challenge they often put to tasters is to guess the oak type between the ‘Omaka Reserve' and ‘Pioneer Block 10 – Twin Hills' Chardonnay which is essentially the same wine, but aged in French oak, the two served blind. It's not that easy! www.saintclair.co.nz

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