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”.
Short periods of rain during the harvest were followed by brilliant sunshine and mild breezes which helped to dry the berries. Harvest started in earnest on 13th March and continued at a steady and manageable pace with minimal pressure. The vintage proceeded in near perfect conditions, with 2019 producing exceptional quality fruit with very concentrated flavours with excellent natural acidity.
The grapes were harvested from a single vineyard in Marlborough’s Blind River area of the Awatere Valley. The Blind River area is building a very good reputation for its ability to produce wines with concentrated citrus expression. The climate for this area is typically very dry. The grapes were harvested at the peak of flavour development in the cool of the evening.
The parcel of fruit was fermented at cool temperatures in stainless steel tanks to retain freshness and intensity of fruit flavour and varietal characteristics. After fermentation it was carefully prepared for bottling, with minimal handling.
Fragrant notes of Kaffir lime and mandarin are layered with hints of orange blossom and beeswax. On the palate, distinct minerality and fresh citrus flavours of juicy mandarin, lead to a crisp mid-palate with delicate sweetness and a smooth, off-dry finish.