The grapes to produce Sauvignon Blanc Pioneer Block 1 Foundation Block Saint Clair were harvested in the cool of the evening to retain freshness; pressed immediately to minimise skin contact and to preserve the quality of the juice. Sauvignon Blanc Pioneer Block 1 Foundation Block Saint Clair once settled, the must was fermented in stainless steel using a selected yeast strain. Fermentation took place at cool temperatures to retain the fruit flavours and aromatic freshness. This batch was selected as a Pioneer Block wine due to its opulence and intensity of flavour.
This vineyard site has been the foundation for some of Saint Clair’s finest wines. This is the vineyard where Saint Clair Family Estate first discovered the fruit to make their flagship Saint Clair Wairau Reserve Sauvignon Blanc. The fruit is sourced from a single vineyard in the lower Wairau Valley. The Block One site was previously part of the Wairau flood plain and is renowned for its deep, highly fertile, free-draining soils, which have been built up over time and help to produce the intensity of flavour in
the resulting wine. The vineyard has a flat profile and is situated approximately three metres above sea level. It is now protected from flooding by a stopbank. Located in a slightly cooler site than the majority of the Marlborough Valley, the vines have a slower annual ripening period. The fruit is carefully monitored during the ripening stage and is harvested during the cooler evenings, at maximum flavour maturity and physiological ripeness.
The Saint Clair winery is run from 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 led by Hamish Clark. 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”.