If we were to summarise the wines and winemakers of New Zealand in a single word it would have to be ‘pioneering’. These two remote, diminutive islands have emerged in the past 40 years to be the source of a revolution in winemaking, focusing on pure, expressive, fruit-filled wines.
Single vineyard rarities and a Majestic exclusive from an award-winning producer
Neal and Judy Ibbotson settled in Marlborough in 1978 – way back when most New Zealanders didn’t even drink wine, let alone make it. Self-taught viticulturalists, their first 1994 vintage release nonetheless saw every single wine awarded medals, including gold! Their winning streak continues – they were recently awarded New World Producer of the Year at the Sommelier Wine Awards 2017.
“Saint Clair now makes the country’s – and perhaps the world’s – best Sauvignon Blanc.” Bob
Campbell MW, New Zealand’s leading wine expert
This estate Sauvignon is made exclusively for Majestic. A riot of gooseberry, blackcurrant leaf and passionfruit flavours – this is textbook Kiwi Sauvignon and a great introduction to Saint Clair’s award-winning wines.
Saint Clair Estate Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2016, Marlborough, 13% £12.99
The Pioneer Block series celebrates wines which are deeply expressive of place, sourcing small parcels of grapes from the very best vineyard sites. Always unique, each wine is marked with the ‘block’ or vineyard number on the label – usually a single vineyard, and only ever produced in the very best vintages.
Pioneer Block 18 hails from a single vineyard that was originally an apple orchard. Located in the lower Wairau Valley, the fertile and freedraining soils produce an intense Sauvignon Blanc. Bursting with concentrated ripe grapefruit, passionfruit and white currant, with just a touch of saltiness and minerality – a rich mouthwatering Sauvignon Blanc.
Saint Clair Pioneer Block 18 “Snap Block” Sauvignon Blanc 2016, Marlborough, 13% £19.99
A swathe of exposed gravel riverbed in Hawke’s Bay, Gimblett Gravels is the region’s ‘hotspot’ in more ways than one. It’s several crucial degrees warmer than the rest of the region, mirroring the conditions of Southern Rhône. The lowyielding vines gives aromatic, red-fruit filled Syrah, tinged with flavours of white pepper and spicy oak.
Saint Clair Pioneer Block 17 “Plateau Block” Syrah 2014, Hawke’s Bay, 13% £21.99
With a record 146 gold medal, 26 trophies and counting – Waimea is New Zealand’s hot ticket. If it’s aromatic whites you’re after, Nelson is the place to be. With more sunshine hours than neighbouring Marlborough and, crucially, cooler nights – it creates a unique environment for maximum flavour development.
Back in 2016, the team at Waimea saw an article about our new ‘WIGIG’ range – and immediately jumped on the phone to tell us all about their range of tiny experimental plantings. The Elara range is truly unmissable – neverbefore-exported, they’re only otherwise available in a handful of local shops in New Zealand, so act fast or you’ll be in for a very long round trip!
The latest parcel in the Elara range is this delectable ‘wildferment’ Chardonnay. Made exclusively with wild yeasts found on the grapes’ skins – this method of winemaking creates a truly unique wines, even barrel to barrel! This Chardonnay is lush and ripe, packed with aromas of citrus and peach, with heady hints of vanilla and orange blossom.
Elara Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2016, Waimea, Nelson, 13% £11.99
Never tried Gewürztraminer? Now’s the time to start. An intoxicatingly fragrant grape, four specific parcels of it were chosen to marry the exuberant rose and Turkish Delight aromas with juicy acidity, which balances the slightly offdry style. A winner with anything spiced.
Waimea Estate Gewürztraminer 2016, Nelson, 13.5% £14.9
Pinot Gris is typically subtle – almost too much so, in fact. Waimea decided to up the ante – extending skin contact to give maximum flavour extraction, while picking in the cool of early morning to ensure all the delicate aromatics are preserved.
Waimea Estate Pinot Gris 2016, Nelson,13.5% £13.99