Saint Clair Family Estate Winery – New Zealand Pioneers

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I recently had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with Kyle Thompson, Red Winemaker from the Saint Clair Family Estate Winery in the Marlborough region of New Zealand.  The mission of this winery is to create world-class wines that exceed their customers’ every expectation.  If you haven’t had a Saint Clair wine yet, I encourage you to give one a try.  The COO of the Radio Station I work for introduced me to Saint Clair wines a couple of years ago, and now they are a staple in my wine rack.

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One of the most interesting things I heard Kyle say is that he uses neutral yeast because he likes to see wine inherit the flavor from the soil, not the yeast.  Let’s start with one of my favorites…. Pinot Noir..Kyle says the Pinot Noir vines in New Zealand are getting older and they are getting better at making Pinot Noir.   Another really interesting note he told us was that picking day was key when making Pinot Noir.

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This is the 2011 Premium Pinot Noir.  It’s an intense flavorful Pinot Noir, with lots of complexity and I loved the finish.  I love it when a wine stays on the palate.  Gorgeous flavors of strawberry with  hints of blueberry and spice.  People often ask me, in my opinion, what is the most versatile red wine for food?  And I always tell them Pinot Noir.

Pioneer Block 5

The Pioneer Block line of Pinot Noir wines are special.  Each number is a different parcel of land, and the Pioneer wines are numbered by block, and known for the individual terroir characteristics from each specialized site.  The Pioneer Block I tasted this week was #5.  The grapes grown in this block are in the Omaka Valley, which has warm days and cool nights, which helps contribute to the intensity of the berries.  This wine was extremely aromatic, had great structure, with intense fruit driven flavors and some spice and oak flavors.

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This was my first time tasting the Saint Clair Riesling and we had the 2011 vintage.  Light bodied and fresh, I loved the grapefruit flavors and beautiful acidity.  It had good texture and loving Riesling the way I do, I couldn’t wait to have this wine with Szechuan food.

Saint Clair Sauvignon Blanc

And last, but certainly not least, you cannot do a New Zealand wine tasting without having a Sauvignon Blanc.  You read other wine blogs and wine reviews on this wine and one thing is clear.  Saint Clair is making a Sauvignon Blanc that stands out above the rest.  What I loved most about the  Saint Clair Sauvignon Blanc was that it was not so much gooseberry and asparagus, but more tropical fruit and passion fruit.  Summer is almost here, and here’s the wine for your favorite Summer Salad.

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As you can see from the above picture, Rayell, Heather and myself had a grand time visiting with Kyle Thompson.  Next week I’m going to tell you about the ‘New Zealand In A Glass’ show, we had the pleasure of tasting some great wines there as well.  But in the meantime, I promised to tell you about the 2014 vintage of Nova 7 by Benjamin Bridge

May 2015 004Nova 7

The 2014 vintage is my favorite to date.  Even my sister, who has never liked wine in the past, had 2 glasses and loved this wine.

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Effervescent,  crisp with a lively palate, gorgeous flavors of grapefruit and orange blossom, and a hint of sweetness.  This wine is the perfect expression of Nova Scotia terroir and is so food friendly, we enjoyed it on Mother’s Day with our Chinese food. There are a ton of food pairings for this beauty, and if you haven’t tried the 2014 vintage yet, pick up a bottle.  It’s somewhat different from the vintages in previous years, and absolutely delicious.

Till next week, Cheers



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