Saint Clair ‘Wairau Reserve’ Sauvignon Blanc 2013
The Saint Clair ‘Wairau Reserve’ Sauvignon Blanc is one of this country’s benchmark wines, having won more top awards than any other label of this variety. The style is unashamedly up-front and bold, packed with as much flavour as possible. Saint Clair’s preference in the expression of the thiol-based pungent passionfruit or ‘sweaty’ character has placed them at one end of the flavour spectrum, and this has created its fair share of criticism, especially from those who don’t like that style and from those who don’t or can’t make such wines. The fact of the matter is that it’s one expression, and a valid one, no longer seen as a vineyard, viticultural, vintage or winemaking fault, and a style that has its fans around the world.
The Saint Clair approach in making this as their ‘flagship’ is that it is a selection of the very best wine they have in tank. More often than not, the wine is based on a particularly special parcel of fruit, from one single vineyard. On occasion, the ‘Wairau Reserve’ wine has indeed been a single vineyard wine. But if the wine can be improved upon by the judicious blending of wine from other sites, then winemakers Hamish Clark and Matt Thomson are not averse to doing so. This clearly leads to slight stylistic variations in flavour expression over different vintages, as seen in the other ‘Reserve’ wines from Saint Clair, but the over-arching basis is intrinsic quality combined with exceptional character, rather than style per se. For 2013, the wine was based solely on the ‘Pioneer Block 18 Snap Block’ fruit, the vineyard in the Dillons Point district of the Lower Wairau. Here is my review of the wine. wwwsaintclair.co.nz
FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW
Saint Clair ‘Wairau Reserve’ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand - MarlboroughReview Date : 31-Dec-2013Bright, even, very pale straw-yellow colour with green hues, lighter on rim. This has a very firm and densely packed nose with concentrated, pungent passionfruit aromas entwined with mineral and flint overtones, and subtle, layered herbal elements. Dry to taste and fullish bodied, the palate features densely concentrated and intense flavours of pungent passionfruit and minerals. The fruit weight is impressive and imbues the mouthfeel with real presence and richness. This is finely textured and the wine flows smoothly and positively. The flavours open in breadth, but an underlying acid tension provides poise, freshness and tension that carries the flavours to a very long and sustained, rich finish. This is a superbly rich, densely concentrated and weighted Sauvignon Blanc packed with passionfruit and minerally flavours in the classical Saint Clair expression. Serve with seafood and herb-marinated poultry and pork dishes over the next 2-3 years. Fruit from a single site in the Dillons Point area, cool-fermented in stainless-steel to 13.0% alc. and 2.6 g/L RS. 19.0+/20 Jan 2014 RRP $32.00