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New Zealand tasting notes

text and photographs © 2007 Tom Cannavan

These notes accompany our in-depth feature on New Zealand's South Island.


Saint Clair, Pinot Gris Reserve Range 2005
Good solid fruit quality, with plenty of punch and herb-tinged, ripe melon fruit. This has plenty of fruit, and a mealy, rich, very skinny character with pear skins and very ripe nectarine juiciness. Lovely orangy acidity and nice dry, zingy palate and finish.

Saint Clair, Vicar's Choice Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Quite a herbal, grassy profile here, with definite green bean notes. Fine tropical fruit quality, with nice fruit sweetness and a blast of grapefruit and lime acidity and fruit.

Saint Clair, Sauvignon Blanc 2005
This adds a much more tropical note, with the green notes and plenty of grassy acidity. Lots of fruit sweetness, with a blast of sweet, waxy nectarine and then limes, before a big grapefruity finish.

Saint Clair, Pioneer Block One Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Some green and herbal lift, with a load of succulent, juicy, passionfruit and ripe, rich tropical fruit. Masses of lychee and very, very ripe tropical fruit. Lovely lime acidity kicks through, but lovely quality here.

Saint Clair, Pioneer Block Four Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Much more muted aromatically, with some good green aromatics of fig and a grassy quality. Good fruit here in a very passionfruit, quite vivid gooseberry style, with that lovely quality of gooseberry acidity pushing through in a pithy, dry finish.

Saint Clair, Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2005
The nose here has a real sweaty, passionfruit Marlborough character, with lots of green aromas and some lychee and mango sweetness. On the palate a really juicy, ripe tropical quality. Lovely mouthfeel and texture, with plenty of lemon and lime and grapefruity. An orange zest crispness really lifts this.

Saint Clair, Riesling 2005
Fresh, sherbetty style of Riesling, with very delicate, talcum powder nose. Little touches of lime. Fine flavours, just hinting at juicy peach and nectarine, but stays limey and limpid into the finish.

Saint Clair, Vicar's Choice Chardonnay 2004
Very subtle creamy nose, with a mealy character and some good dry white fruit character. Very nice sweetness here, with a touch of sweet, tropical fruit reminiscent of pineapple and juicy mango. Grapefruit acidity comes through, but this perhaps needs a little less sugar for me.

Saint Clair, Chardonnay 2004
There's a pretty fine, Burgundian, vegetal note at first here. The fruit is very sweet, and really pushes through with lovely fruit sweetness and tropicality, before a big, lemony palate powers through.

Saint Clair, Chardonnay 2004
100% oak. Minty and vanillin oaks at first, with very fine fruit. On the palate it is really sweet with ripe, unctuous nectarine fruit. There's a lovely orangy quality, and The finish really lengthens and shows lovely quality.

Saint Clair, Omaka Reserve Chardonnay 2004
60% new oak, all American. Big, toffeed, mint toffee note with a fine pear and sweet pineapple fruit. Custardy and very ripe. The palate has a nice oily texture, with very good acids - lots of lemon, and lots of very, very generous, mouthfilling fruit richness.

Saint Clair, Pinot Noir 2005
Fine black cherry and slightly herb-tinged liquorice nose. Very fine tobacco and gently smoky aromas. Good black cherry and, polished nose. The fruit is quite tight and polished. Earthy and dark, with good concentration.

Saint Clair, Sawcut Reserve Pinot Noir 2004
(Will be Pioneer's) There's a ripe, glossy black plum quality here, just a faint touch of brett, but nothing unpleasant. Quite a meaty quality on the palate too. And there's a touch of cherry and leather into the finish. There's a little touch of thyme and fragrance.

Saint Clair, Pioneer's Pinot Noir 2004
100% French oak. This has an openness and smoky generosity here, with some notes of vanilla and a briary quality. On the palate the fruit becomes very savoury and plumskin and cherry grip adds grip and interest into the finish. This has good acidity too.

Saint Clair, Rapaura Reserve Merlot 2004
Very sweet, rolling tobacco and slightly mint-leafy note. It is a touch herbal, with mostly American oak, giving a sweeter vanillin overlay. Cassis fruit is well developed and ripe. On the palate it has a really sweet, ripe red cherry and rich berry fruit, with some liquoricy touches. The oak becomes quite charry and toasty with an espresso note and fine sweetness. Long, and good quality.

UK Agent: Hallgarten Wines Ltd, Tel: 01582 406 501

for New Zealand South Island profiles, Saint Clair