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Wine of the Week for week ending 14 Sep 2008
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Saint Clair Pioneer Block 6 'Oh' Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Marlborough, New Zealand

How many ways can one say "oh"? It is such a little word, just two letters, yet with the intonation in one's voice, the look on one's face and the body language, there are many, many ways. "Oh" definitely tells a story. It can be a story of disappointment, despair, dejection, pain, disbelief, hesitation, wishful thinking, wow, excitement, and even orgasm. Just look at these examples - in no particular order.

"Oh No"
"Oh dear"
"Oh crap"
"Oh wait"
"Oh really"
"Oh my gosh"
"Ohhhhhhhhh, give me more"

This is a story of an "Oh my Gosh", "OMG" wow type of 'oh'. It is Saint Clair Pioneer Block 6 'Oh' Sauvignon Blanc 2008, which unlike the other Pioneer Blocks named after vineyards, pioneers or nicknames of the vineyard owners, is named for the eyebrow raising, jaw dropping, amazement at how-fantastically-good-the-wine-is reaction that tasting the wine invokes. And the new 2008 vintage is definitely OMG wow!

Scents of passionfruit, lime, boxwood (which could be considered similar to cat pee), escape from the bottle as soon as the screwcap is removed. When the wine is poured there's a green-edged citrine glow to the colour and closer to the nose, the scents are both intriguing and mesmerising. Then the taste - full of exotic tropical fruit together with a fumé / cut grass note - even toasty tobacco, if that makes sense. The texture is smooth, rich and creamy and there's an increasingly salty finish that gets the taste buds salivating - as if they already weren't. Delicious but not overpowering - just perfect. Tasting this wine is like falling in love with Sauvignon Blanc all over again.

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 6 Sauvignon Blanc was a Wine of the Year a couple of years ago and it is not even Saint Clair's top wine. That honour goes to the Saint Clair Wairau Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, which is selected by the winemaking tea by tasting of every single Sauvignon Blanc component to choose the one that will make a single vineyard, or perhaps a two vineyard blend that represents the very best of the season. Well, this year's Saint Clair Pioneer Block 6 is so yummy and delicious; the Wairau Reserve must be mind blowing.

Martin and Gail Goyne have grown the grapes for this wine at their Buckland Grove Vineyard in O'Dwyers Road, near Spring Creek just north of Blenheim. These growers were awarded the Champion Sauvignon Blanc Trophy at this years Bragato Awards - for this very wine. It was the only Sauvignon Blanc gold medal winner in the competition - and with my own rating of 19.5 out of 20, it certainly deserved it.

The wine has been just released but it is in fine wine stores already. You can also purchase online from

© Sue Courtney
8 Sep 2008

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