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 2020 vintage saw less than ideal flowering conditions, which led to below average yields. Despite this, the fruit quality was exceptional, displaying incredible varietal character and depth of flavour.
The grapes come from three rows of vines in one of Saint Clair’s best vineyards in the lower Wairau subregion of Marlborough. The vineyard soils are nutrient rich and free draining. The maritime climate and close proximity to the sea create a high diurnal temperature difference resulting in a long ripening period, concentrating the fruit flavours, while retaining refreshing acidity. The fruit is left to hang a week longer than the fruit for Saint Clair’s traditional Sauvignon Blanc. The grapes are hand-harvested, with only the highest quality bunches being selected.
The grapes were whole bunch pressed, briefly settled then racked into seasoned French oak barriques. The juice was inoculated with a selected yeasts. Post fermentation, the wine was aged on its lees for nine months, with twice weekly barrel stirring where it underwent spontaneous malolactic conversion. Each barrel was tasted regularly by the winemaking team and only the very best and most interesting barrels were selected for the final blend. The wine was lightly fined and filtered prior to bottling.
Complex aromas of green coffee bean, vanilla pod and maple syrup are complemented by notes of wild flowers, crushed herbs and a hint of gunflint. The palate is rich and unctuous with delicious layers of ripe papaya, nectarine, cocoa powder and toasted hazelnut.
Sauvignon Blanc 100%.