Derived from multiple vineyards situated in Wairau, a sub-region within New Zealand’s Marlborough region. Following the pressing process, a portion of the wine undergoes fermentation in both French and American oak barrels, some of which are newly introduced. The oak-aged portion experiences malolactic fermentation, a technique that transforms sharp acids into smooth, rounded ones.
Saint Clair derives its name from James Sinclair, credited with establishing the initial settlements in Blenheim, New Zealand, where the winery is located on the South Island. Established in 1978, this family-run enterprise stands as one of the trailblazers of winemaking in Marlborough. Consequently, the connection to pioneer James Sinclair was swiftly established.
Saint Clair possesses an extensive 270 hectares of vineyards in Marlborough on the South Island and in Hawke’s Bay on the North Island. The winery’s founders, Neil and Judy Ibbotson, remain actively engaged in the business. Saint Clair has earned significant acclaim among wine critics, particularly for its terroir wine series, labeled ‘Pioneer Block,’ each bearing a vineyard identifier. In this way, Saint Clair has helped showcase New Zealand’s unique terroirs.
Saint Clair boasts a total of 14 vineyards across diverse locations, allowing the nuanced microclimatic conditions to be fully expressed in their wines. The winery is present in the sub-regions of Rapaura, Awatere, Omaka, and Hawke’s Bay, cultivating a wide array of grape varieties.
Saint Clair’s international focus primarily revolves around Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir. Leveraging the distinct terroirs, Saint Clair endeavors to capture the essence of these grape varieties in their wines. To achieve this, a highly contemporary winemaking approach is adopted, emphasizing fruit quality at every stage of production. Key elements include impeccable cellar hygiene, temperature-controlled harvesting, and a range of advanced instruments for monitoring both vineyards and vinification.
The overarching goal is to craft world-class wines consistently meeting consumer expectations. Saint Clair employs a collection of 250 small stainless steel tanks, allowing for individualized monitoring of each plot and judicious blending decisions. Although time-intensive, this meticulous approach discerns between ordinary and exceptional wines.
In addition to its contemporary winemaking practices, New Zealand is renowned as the world’s most sustainable wine-producing country, with 94% of wineries operating sustainably. Saint Clair is dedicated to sustainable winemaking in all aspects, holding ‘sustainable winegrower’ accreditation in New Zealand. Achieving this distinction entails recycling over 40% of all glass waste and 60% of packaging waste annually. Regular assessments are conducted to reduce water waste, and all contracted bottlers are certified for sustainability.
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