Thursday, 10 January 2013

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 3

Hello all and sundry. While this is my first entry on my first blog, I am glad to say that this is not the first time I've had the privilege of trying Saint Clair's fantastic Pioneer Block 3 sauvignon blanc.

Since I started organising wine tastings (although to give them such a formal name belies the casual and amateur approach we have!), one vineyard and one wine in particular has caught everyone's attention: Saint Clair. Saint Clair Pioneer Block 3 (SC PB 3, for short) is a magnificent expression of the excitement of New World wine. It captures the new, modern approaches to wine-making alongside the sense of excitement and freshness increasingly associated with the New World, especially New Zealand.

Nose: Zing! Straight away there’s a great deal of passionfruit, citrus – lime and perhaps some mandarin?, gooseberry and redcurrant. Make no mistake, this is Kiwi SB at its most zesty. While this is most certainly not for the faint-hearted or those that love the subtle minerality of a Sancerre, my goodness does it have character, taste and accessibility in spades!

Palate: The palate follows mostly from the above. The wine tasting group was interestingly somewhat divided on their opinions. All agreed that it was a great wine for a tasting, purely because of the ‘shock’ factor it carries, but is it perhaps too bold for some? It was described as ‘magnificent’, ‘wow’ and ‘extraordinarily intense’, but others were less effusive in their praise, teasingly describing it as ‘unsubtle’ and ‘up front’.

ConclusionWhile the lack of subtlety may be a deal-breaker for some, I believe it is SC PB 3’s key asset. Each glass packs some serious punch and it develops nicely in the glass, somehow growing more intense, but never cloying, oversweet or unpleasantly acidic. To me, it is a real mark of Saint Clair’s quality that they have produced such an intense wine with none of the negatives usually associated with New Zealand SB.
While I have matched this with an excellent crab linguine before, one guest suggested it was perhaps too intense. In future I will try it with a heavy creamy pasta. Images will follow at some point!

I usually rate out of 10 – this got 7.5+ and moved to 8.5 after an hour in the glass. If I had to rate out of 100, I would suggest 90+. It costs anything from £14-18.

Image courtesy of Saint Clair Wines.

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