As the new vintage Sauvignon Blancs pour onto the market, there is one name that stands out for consistency, reliability and most of all taste. It's the one I recommend when someone asks me to suggest a Sauvignon Blanc. It ticks all boxes, it's widely available and there will be change from a $20 bill – lots of change if the wine is 'on special'. It's the Saint Clair Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011 with the shiny black label and gold Saint Clair lettering.
Saint Clair Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011 is a fabulous, juicy, fruity wine and has all the vivaciousness that's synonymous with Marlborough savvy. With tropical fruit, citrus and tantalising summer herbs, it smells good, it tastes good and the finish lasts for ages.
It's the kind of wine to pour for lunch or pre-dinner drinks, or perhaps to take to the beach. But believe it or not it's a great food wine too. I love this style of savvy with fresh vine tomatoes – tomatoes, feta and basil; tomatoes, mozzarella and basil and any kind of tangy Mediterranean flavours. Fantastic with crispy-skinned snapper topped with slow baked vine tomatoes, or simply a tomato, red pepper, balsamic and basil dip with toasted crostini.
The grapes for this wine were sourced around the Wairau Valley, there's no oak, alcohol achieved is 13% and of course the bottle has a screwcap closure.
Saint Clair produces a whole raft of Sauvignon Blancs. The Vicars Choice ( ~ $13.50) is the cheapest and often ticks all the boxes too. Then there are the Pioneer Block wines, individual wines that showcase the site where the grapes were grown. The Saint Clair website indicates nine of these are made. It's an interesting exercise to compare and contrast if you ever get the chance. They cost around $23.50 a bottle. And lastly the sensational Reserve, which at the time of writing is the 2010 vintage made from the fruit that usually goes into the Block 6, which is the favourite of all my blocks. Super duper wine with that extra edge of complexity and one that is developing nicely with bottle age. Saint Clair Wairau Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2010 is $32 a bottle at the cellar door. It's a complex, richly flavoured wine with a creamy texture, tropical fruit flavour and a long, powerful, mouthfilling finish.
The Saint Clair family refers to the black label Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc as the Premium. But don't get confused as there is no mention of this on the label. Find out more from www.saintclair.co.nz.
© Sue Courtney
27 September 2011