Saint Clair ‘Omaka Reserve’ Pinot Noir 2010


The Saint Clair Pinot Noir development programme has surely achieved what it set out to do – to match the success that the Ibbotson family have enjoyed with their Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay wines. The number of gold medal and trophy awards keeps growing as Saint Clair release an increasing number of outstanding wines every vintage. During my visit to Saint Clair at the start of April earlier this year, the company's work with the variety was laid bare and one could see some of the considerable effort that has gone into getting the wines to the stage they are at, and the potential to take them further. (Click here to read my report.) The current Saint Clair range of Pinot Noir wines begins at the ‘Vicar's Choice' tier, then the ‘Premium Marlborough', through to the ‘Pioneer Block' wines. There have been eight such individual blocks identified for Pinot Noir to date. The flagships have been the ‘Doctor's Creek Reserve' and ‘Omaka Reserve', with the latter being the label to continue as the very best.

Each year, the very finest wine from a single vineyard site or block is selected to go under the ‘Omaka Reserve' label, very much as the ‘Wairau Reserve' Sauvignon Blanc is chosen. The competition among the Saint Clair grower suppliers is fierce and there is great kudos for the successful grower as well as a financial incentive. The interesting aspect of this method is that each year, there may be a wine selected from a different site. The style of the very top wine will therefore vary widely though the quality is extremely high. On asking the Saint Clair winemakers if the approach and philosophy of blending to obtain a more complete or consistent top wine was viable, they certainly did not discount it. However, the former selection process is the one in use. Here is my review of the ‘Omaka Reserve' Pinot Noir 2010. www.saintclair.co.nz

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