Saint Clair Pioneer Block 14 Doctor’s Creek 2011

Rummaging around my wine collection I came across this bottle I had forgotten I had.  Given it was from 2011 and bearing in mind Southern Hemisphere wines have vintage dates 6 months older than those from the Northern Hemisphere I thought we’d better open it.  That’s not to say NZ Pinot can’t be kept for a few years…it most certainly can…but given it was edging 7 years now what better excuse to crack it open?!

Saint Clair is a winery I have visited many times on my trips to New Zealand and they make a lovely range of wines. Whilst Marlborough gets less publicity for its Pinot Noir than its noisy neighbour Central Otago, there are some fantastic Pinot’s coming out of this region.  This example comes from the Pioneer Block collection which are a range of wines made from small parcels of grapes from single estates– this one coming from the Doctor’s Creek vineyard, south west of Blenheim.

In appearance this was pale ruby in colour with hints of tawny on the rim indicating some bottle age.  The nose was classic Pinot, very much in the Burgundian style: vibrant fruit: black cherry, cranberry and strawberry alongside floral notes but there was also very evident tertiary development with an altogether spicier, more earthy notes of forest floor and mushroom.

This was a dry, light to medium bodied red wine with light tannins and balanced alcohol alongside a strong backbone of acidity. On the palate the wine exhibited lovely lifted notes of (mainly red) fruits but as with the nose, the tertiary development from bottle age was evident by the more spicy savoury characteristics and the result was a hugely complex, quite serious wine.

You can buy later vintages of this wine from Majestic for £18.99 as part of a mix 6

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