Wine Muse Podcast Featuring Saint Clair Family Estate 2012 Sauvignon Blanc - New Zealand @saintclairwine

This month Minstrel and Muse Wine Muse podcast visits New Zealand!

Linda and I enjoyed a tremendous New Zealand wine tasting and two fun winemaker conversations. We began the October podcast with a long-distance call to Marlborough, New Zealand to speak with Hamish Clark, Senior Winemaker for Saint Clair Family Estate. Hamish shared with us why Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand is so special and many details on growing grapes and making wine on the South Island.

*Show LinkListen to the show.


Our second winemaker conversation was with Katie Nelson, Winemaker for 'O' Wines in Washington State. Each purchase of 'O' wines helps fund scholarship to send young women to college through the 'O' Wines Opportunity for Success Scholarship program. Katie also spent 6 weeks working harvest in New Zealand this April. Of course we asked her about the experience of living, working and making wine in New Zealand. A fun and inspiring discussion.

A featured 2012 Sauvignon Blanc from Saint Clair Family Estate.

Saint Clair Family Estate has the distinction of being the first New Zealand wine company to win major international trophies for Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir in the same year. Renown for producing superior Sauvignon Blanc, it is New Zealand’s most widely planted varietal. By the early 1990s, Sauvignon Blanc was firmly established as New Zealand’s flagship wine, with local and international demand increasing every year.


  • 228,000 TONNES - TOTAL PRODUCTION (2013)

Saint Clair Family Estate is owned by Neal and Judy Ibbotson, viticulture pioneers in Marlborough since 1978. Originally, they supplied grapes to regional wineries; but, a desire to extend the quality achieved in the vineyard all the way through to the finished wine, led to the establishment of Saint Clair Family Estate in 1994.

Saint Clair has developed six vineyards in different sites in Marlborough, including the Rapaura, Awatere, Waihopai and Omaka Valleys. Only superior fruit from the best locations for each individual variety is selected for the Saint Clair label.


Tasting Notes Saint Clair Family Estate 2012 Sauvignon Blanc:

Color: Shiny straw.
Nose: At opening aromas leaped out of the glass, big blast of passion fruit, grapefruit, barnyard floor, grassy, salinity, mineral.
Palate: Fresh, creamy, saline, kiwi, grapefruit skin, with passion fruit into the finish. Wow! This wine had it going on.

Paired this white wine with Brisling Sardines on bed of spinach tossed with sardine oil from the can of sardines, black pepper, chopped garlic and onion on toasted whole wheat bread. Tasty companion, a little slippery and messy, but delicious.

After 3 hours: More savory on the nose with grapefruit, grass and fresh chive, passion fruit and barnyard floor faded to background elements. Palate savory with herbal characteristics, spice, grass with lime and grapefruit peel on the finish, bright top palate. A certain ocean breeze character to this wine, enjoyable. Think brussel sprouts, asparagus, artichoke and mixed green salad accompanied by herb roasted chicken. 30 minutes later I was thinking this wine was at a "drink me now" stage.

Day two: Aromatic with passion fruit and grapefruit. Grapefruit and brightness stood out, nice crisp finish of tart, zippy, white grapefruit. Big like. Drink alone or pair with fish tacos. Strongly recommended.

Country: New Zealand
ABV: 13%
Closure: Screw cap
Price: $20
Sample provided by Winesellers Ltd.

Saint Clair Family Estate Cellar Door & Café
Corner of Rapaura & Selmes Roads
Blenheim, Marlborough, NZ
Phone: 03 570 5280

Resources Mentioned in this Months Podcast:

1. Book - "New Zealand" by lonely planet: I own a copy of the 2010 edition. Newly revised, the current edition was just published October 2014. Very detailed guide to New Zealand, includes map, history, culture tips and travel advice.

2. The Lord of the Rings Filming Location. The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy was filmed entirely in New Zealand. Experience the stunning locations and lands that starred as Middle-earth. Learn about these filming locations (from north to south): Matamata, Wellington, Nelson, Canterbury, Mackenzie Country, Southern Lakes and Fiordland. Make your travel plans now.

3. Official New Zealand Wine Site -

4. Working in New Zealand - If you are looking at interning with a New Zealand winery, you will need to submit a C.V. (Curriculum Vitae) resume for us in the U.S. and you'll need a temporary work VISA. New Zealand Visas to Work Chosing the Right Visa Information.

We hope you enjoyed our Wine Muse podcast show on New Zealand featuring the Sauvignon Blanc by Saint Clair Family Estate. New Zealand is a magnificent country to visit, which is producing spectacular wines. Thank you to our sponsor Winesellers Ltd. for this lovely Sauvignon Blanc.


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