Neal and Judy Ibbotson were pioneers in the Marlborough wine industry, first planting vineyards in the valley in 1978 and then establishing Saint Clair Family Estate in 1994. They own 160 hectares of vineyard in 10 different Marlborough locations chosen specifically for the attributes of their individual “terroir” and ability to produce top quality grapes. Neal Ibbotson combines his extensive expertise in viticulture with the talent of one of New Zealand’s leading winemaking teams. Since 1994, when wines from the first vintage all won medals including gold, the name Saint Clair has been synonymous with quality and its award-winning record continues today. This is a sentiment shared by Bob Campbell MW, who says “Saint Clair now makes the country’s and perhaps the world’s best Sauvignon Blanc”.
The quality of fruit from the 2020 harvest was exceptional. A large stretch of classic stunning Marlborough sunshine, with virtually no rain, hence no disease, ensured the berries reached their full physiological ripeness. Warm weather during November and early December 2019, meant flowering was excellent, leading to average yields for the season. March produced ideal growing conditions with true Marlborough style of warm days and cool nights; the latter producing fruit with the characteristic refreshing acidity. 2020 produced average yields of high quality fruit.
The fruit was sourced from a number of specifically selected low cropping vineyards from the Southern Valleys region of Marlborough. Leading up to the harvest, each vineyard was closely monitored and the grapes were tasted to determine when the flavours were at their optimum. Harvesting took place during the cool of the morning to retain the freshness and vibrancy of flavour in the berries.
Each parcel of fruit was cool macerated for five days to help achieve flavour and colour extraction. Selected yeasts were used for fermentation and the wine was hand plunged at the height of fermentation. It was then gently pressed and racked off the gross lees to either stainless steel tanks or to older seasoned French oak, where 100% underwent malolactic conversion before being blended, fined, lightly filtered and gently prepared for bottling.
Aromas of ripe fresh raspberries and warm red plum are accompanied by subtle hints of dried thyme on this enticing bouquet. Delicious flavours of concentrated red fruits and dried savoury herbs create a fruit-forward rounded, smooth palate, with a silky tannin structure complementing the long, toasty finish.
Pinot Noir 100%.