What I Drank Last Night
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Saint Clair Pioneer Block 1 Sauvignon Blanc 2009

Holy moly.

There is, it has to be said, plenty of boring Sauvignon Blanc about. The punters want clean and fresh and there are plenty of producers willing and able to supply that and no more. Can the variety amount to more? Yesterday a tasting of some random examples over lunch at Chai Yo in Mowbray, the outcome for me being that when variety, site and astute winemaking combine then greatness can be achieved. Moreover, I defy anybody to claim that Cape Point Vineyards 2005 or Saint Clair Pioneer Block 2009 and steamed Kingklip in a lemon, chilli and coriander sauce don’t pair well.

Scores and brief tasting notes as follows:

Score: 19/20
Cape Point Vineyards 2005
Yellow apple through black currant. Great weight and length. Profoundly good.

Score: 18/20
Saint Clair Pioneer Block 1 2009 (New Zealand)
Very slick. Optimally ripe fruit, tangy acidity. Rich but balanced.

Score: 17/20
Almenkerk 2009
Slight sweaty note on the nose. The palate is subtle and savoury. Unusual but engaging.

Hermit on the Hill Aurora Blanc 2010
Appealing oxidative character including yellow apple. Rich and broad, tangy acidity – very satisfying to drink.

Score: 16.5/20
Garuma Vineyards Leyda 2009 (Chile)
Pronounced cat’s pee aroma. Concentrated fruit, zesty acidity.

Score: 16/20
Chateau Doisy Daëne 2008 (Bordeaux, France)
Very ripe. Pineapple flavour, tangy acidity. Botrytis?

François Cotat Les Monts Damnés 2010 (Loire, France)
Apple, pear and jasmine aromas. Slight petillance, fresh acidity. Peculiar but appealing.

Nuweland 2012
Lime, apple and some nuttiness. Good flavour intensity and mouthfeel, well integrated acidity.

Score: 15.5/20
Cape Point Vineyards 2008
Yellow apple through asparagus, some pyrazine bite. Well balanced but starting to tire.

Score: 15/20
Cloudy Bay 2005 (New Zealand)
Tropical fruit, mercaptan and terpene notes. Rich and full, past best.

De Grendel Koetshuis 2010
Overt pyrazine character plus some lime. Intensely flavoured but essentially green. Lean and acidic.

Delaire 2009
Asparagus. Thick textured, moderate acidity. In decline.

Polz Hochgrassnitzberg 2008 (Austria)
Thiol-driven. Sweet with soft acidity.

Tabali 2009 (Chile)
Green on nose and palate. Pyrazine bite.

Vondeling 2012
Citrus plus slight nuttiness on the nose and palate. Bright acidity but relatively simple.

14.5/20
Steenberg 2008
Some green bean character but also an oxidised note. Past its best.

Comments

  1. Hi Peter, Thanks for the information regarding Saint Clair – duly corrected.

  2. St Clair are a favourite SB producer of us, and the Pioneer Block range is the cream.
    There are at least 21 blocks in the range so the block number/name needs to be specified to identify the wine because there are differences between them.
    You had Block 1 – the Foundation Block, We’re currently drinking Block 21, ‘Bell Block’ but my alltime favourite is Block 6 ‘The Oh Block’ which I’ve not seen on sale for some time.

    Be nice to see some SAf producers being allowed to do this small scale block production.

  3. Thx B and C. Gotta.

  4. Hi Will, Apart from the link that “b” has provided, the short answer to your question is that I simply don’t come across Private Bin wines that often (for which read: I’m not a regular Checkers, Makro, TOPS at SPAR or Ultra Liquors shopper).

  5. Christain. You never put any Nederburg PBins is your Sauvignon blanc line-ups, yet they always do well locally and abroad in shows and competitions. We had one recently and it was superb. Any reason whyyou never taste them? How do you anticipate they will fare amongst the line-up above?

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