2011 Saint Clair Family Estate – Pioneer Block 1 Foundation Sauvignon Blanc – Marlborough

From Italy to New Zealand

Todays wine review takes us far away from Italy. We are heading to Saint Clair Family Estate from Marlborough, New Zealand. Saint Clair Family Estate is one of the country’s leading white wine producer. They are a rather young winery which started grown grapes in 1978 which they used to sell to local wineries and only since 1994 Saint Clair Family Estate is actually making wine. The winery grows a variety of grapes including Riesling, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc but also Syrah and Merlot. ‘Wairau Reserve Sauvignon Blanc’ is the winery’s flagship wine. However, today’s tasting notes are for another single-vineyard wine: The ‘Pioneer Block 1 Foundation Sauvignon Blanc’. Pioneer Block 1 is the building vineyard for some of their finest wines, including the Wairau Reserve.

The wine is manufactured with 100% Sauvignon Blanc grapes. Pioneer Block Sauvignon Blanc aged in stainless steel tanks for a few months.

Tasting notes Pioneer Block 1 Foundation Sauvignon Blanc

2011 Saint Clair Family Estate - Pioneer Block 1 Foundation Sauvignon Blanc - MarlboroughIn the glass, the wine had a light pale yellow color. 13% was the label listed ABV.

The bouquet was mind-blowing! Very intense aromas of passionfruit, a bit of blackcurrant, hints of elderflower as well as a some minerals. The passionfruit was incredible. I do not think that I have had a similar nose on a white wine before.

After taking a sip, I noticed tropical fruits (including mango and once again passionfruit). The palate was quite similar to the bouquet. There was also a slight mineral touch. The finish was persistently long with lots of passionfruit.

Pioneer Block 1 Foundation Sauvignon Blanc was simply perfect.

To buy or not to buy?

The 2011 Saint Clair Family Estate Pioneer Block 1 Foundation Sauvignon Blanc (can a name get any longer?) retails in Munich for 18.80€. According to wine-searcher, the wine is available throughout the world. Average price 17€. The wine won the Double-Gold Medal at the San Francisco International Wine Competition and the Blue-Gold Award at the Sydney International Wine Competition, next to a variety of other awards.

This was one of the best white wines that I have had for a long time.

5 / 5 stars      

I have included this wine in my top 10.

I cannot wait to taste this wine again. If you do not like passionfruit then better stay away from this wine. Passionfruit is everywhere! I love passionfruit so this wine worked like a charm for me.

Saint Clair Family Estate already released the 2012 vintage of this wine. So far I have not found a retailer outside of New Zealand for it. What is your opinion on New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc? Have you tried this particular one? Looking forward to your comments.

Tomorrow we have an upcoming guest post. Topic this week: Unique wine and cheese pairings to try. I personally enjoyed these recommendations a lot and cannot wait to share this guest post with you! If you want to to contribute an article then follow this link for further information. We also have a current wine quiz going on. Make sure to participate if you have not already.



21 comments on “2011 Saint Clair Family Estate – Pioneer Block 1 Foundation Sauvignon Blanc – Marlborough”

  1. winetalks winetalks Reply

    Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand is among the very best in my opinion. I’m happy that you liked this wine! I’ve had it a 2008 vintage a few years ago and it was amazing. I’ve had a hard time finding a store here in the US though and I am now a little bit more skeptical about buying wine online. I’ll see if I can find it though 🙂

    The bottle label looks “old fashioned”. I like that. And you are right, the name of this wine is really, really long – too long..

    What would you pair with this wine?

    • vino in love Reply

      Thank you for commenting. I’m glad you enjoyed this wine, too. Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand is mind-blowing (at least this particular one).

      To answer your question regarding a possible food match: I would go for fish. Branzino (European seabass) in salt crust will work very well. If you don’t know how to cook it then watch this video on YouTube.
      Usually I do it the other way around though. After having decided what I will eat tend to match that dish with a wine. But of course you can do it either way.
      Hope this help!

      • winetalks winetalks Reply

        Thanks for the recommendation Julian! I will watch the video and go from there 🙂
        You are right that it might be better to first decide on the food and then find a matching wine for it but since i really want to try this Block 1 Foundation Sauvignon Blanc from Saint Clair I decided to ask for a food match. Hope you understand.

  2. RiojaChianti RiojaChianti Reply

    Very nice tasting notes. I can almost taste the wine just by reading your notes 🙂
    Looking forward to the wine and cheese pairing post. Sounds like an interesting topic.

    • wineking3 wineking3 Reply

      Same here! The wine and cheese pairing post already got me excited!

      I think that almost $26 for a white wine is pretty expensive. But since I never had a white wine from New Zealand I can’t really say if it’s too much or not. I enjoyed reading your tasting notes though. Who thought that they grow Riesling and Gewurztraminer in New Zealand?

      • vino in love Reply

        Thanks for commenting.
        In my opinion that price tag is a little high but not too expensive. I’ve seen worse. It’s not cheap for sure but the wine justifies the price in my opinion.
        A large variety of European white grapes are planted in New Zealand. I red about this only recently. Even the Piedmontese grape Cortese can be found in small quantities. Same goes for Australia.

  3. hannah-theis hannah-theis Reply

    Never had a wine from New Zealand. I’m curious now how they taste. Maybe I can buy the Pioneer Block 1 Foundation Sauvignon Blanc. It’s not cheap but I’ll see if I find it : -)

    • vino in love Reply

      This wine has passionfruit all over! It’s incredibly good. Only downside is the price. I find almost 19€ to be quite a lot for a white wine but it Sauvignon Blanc was worth it!

  4. Suzanne Reply

    Now I have to try this wine, based on the review it sounds amazing. Not a huge fan of whites but I do enjoy them from time to time. I love the tropical fruit notes, it sounds crisp and flavorful. Great review.

  5. Sigi Reply

    Toller Wein! Hab ihn neulich bei Wein & Genuss gekauft. Sehr zu empfehlen 🙂

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