Saint Clair ‘Wairau Reserve’ Sauvignon Blanc 2016

There are many philosophies and ways to produce a flagship wine. Generally the method is to blend the best and most complementary parcels to result in the most complete expression possible. Some wineries believe this wine should be the most intensely flavoured, and Penfolds ‘Grange’ is the classic example. Others blend to achieve the greatest finesse, and Drouhin’s Musigny could be such a wine. Another approach is to honour the fruit from the most highly regarded vineyard, one that might produce the most complex characterful wine, and using another Australian example, Henschke’s ‘Hill Of Grace’ represents this philosophy.

Saint Clair is one of Marlborough’s top producers of Sauvignon Blanc and their top expression is the ‘Wairau Reserve’ bottling. The Saint Clair team go through n extensive grading process assessing each of their and their grower vineyards. The most distinctive parcels of fruit and wines go into the ‘Pioneer Block’ bottlings, but the outstanding wine goes into the ‘Wairau Reserve’. Thus the flagship wine is usually a single vineyard wine, and each vintage of the ‘Wairau Reserve’ can potentially be from a different site each year. Occasionally, the characteristics of a few of the parcels are so good and complementary that a blend can make the ‘Wairau Reserve’ Sauvignon Blanc, this being the case in 2016 when two neighbouring vineyards in the Dillons Point sub-region needed to be put together. One had great aromatic intensity, the other possessed an impressive depth of palate weight. 2016 was a challenging vintage for Sauvignon Blanc in Marlborough, with thiol expression prevalent from the ripeness of the fruit. The Saint Clair team ensured there were "flinty, nettle and leaf” spectrum elements to provide a crisp and clean edge to the wines. Here, I review the 2016 ‘Wairau Reserve’ Sauvignon Blanc.


  • Saint Clair ‘Wairau Reserve’ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016

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