Saint Clair Marlborough
Saint Clair, founded in 1994, has taken full advantage of the considerable involvement of Matt Thomson (also at the laudable LAKE CHALICE and DELTA) who works with Hamish Clark and two other winemakers. Now a sizeable operation (150,000 – 200,000 cases) Saint Clair does an admirable job of sustaining quality with increased volumes. There is solid quality in a regular Marlborough range of Premium labeled varietals, particularly whites including Sauvignon, Riesling and Chardonnay that reveal good fruit intensity and adequate structure. Better are the Reserves that include a dense, textured mineral-imbued Wairau Reserve Sauvignon – although there is some lees contact for this wine generally Matt doesn’t generally favour lees or oak-influenced Sauvignon, preferring to show off the pristine fruit quality possible in Marlborough. Small site-specific batches are bottled under the Pioneer Block label; there are 10 different Sauvignons alone but each shows a slightly different fruit spectrum and structure. Other excellent (and reasonably priced) Reserves include an Omaka Chardonnay with a semblance to a fine Saint-Aubin. For Pinot Noir there’s a decent Bourgogne Rouge equivalent in the fruit-driven Marlborough example but there’s much more excitement at the Reserve level. Both Omaka bottling and Doctor’s Creek come from partly clayey soils and see a proportion of new oak, slightly more in the slightly denser, riper (cherry, plum) and classy Omaka. Doctor’s Creek is slightly cooler (more floral and redcurrant) but is elegant too. A Merlot Reserve is a rare fine example for Marlborough; it has lush cedary berry, plummy fruit within a fine frame. Other Reserves (not tasted) include Gewürztraminer (Godfrey’s Creek), Riesling (Godfrey’s Creek) and Pinot Gris (Godfrey’s Creek). It is likely that all should be a fair bet based on the consistency and quality achieved here. Only a basic Vicar’s Choice range is generally more ordinary if reasonable quaffing wine.
To find out more about Saint Clair and their wines, and to see how we reviewed and rated their wines you can check out the Wine Guide New Zealand..
Or indeed you can check out the new extensively updated 9th edition Wine Behind the Label Wine Guide that is 2250 pages, it reviews around 4000 vineyards and over 30,000 wines.