Neal and Judy Ibbotson were pioneers in the Marlborough wine industry, first planting vineyards in the valley in 1978 and then establishing Saint Clair Family Estate in 1994. They own 160 hectares of vineyard in 10 different Marlborough locations chosen specifically for the attributes of their individual “terroir” and ability to produce top quality grapes. Neal Ibbotson combines his extensive expertise in viticulture with the talent of one of New Zealand’s leading winemaking teams led by Hamish Clark. Since 1994, when wines from the first vintage all won medals including gold, the name Saint Clair has been synonymous with quality and its award-winning record continues today.
Fruit for the Omaka Reserve was sourced from Saint Clair’s vineyards in Marlborough’s Omaka and Awatere valleys.. A combination of warm days, cool nights and clay based soils produce the finest, most flavoursome Chardonnay. The fruit is a blend of Chardonnay clones; predominantly Mendoza and Burgundian Clone 95. The vines were monitored carefully during ripening and fruit was harvested at maximum flavour maturity and physiological ripeness.
The fruit was carefully harvested, partially handpicked and whole bunch pressed to ensure the vineyard characters and fruit flavours were preserved. The juice was fermented in American oak barrels, fifty percent new barrels, using selected yeast strains. The wine underwent malolactic fermentation, followed by ten months aging on yeast lees with regular stirring. Only the best barrels were selected for the Omaka Reserve Chardonnay.
Saint Clair Omaka Reserve Chardonnay has aromas of fragrant peach, toasted hazelnut and cinnamon spice with smoky nuances. The palate is round and full with nectarine, vanilla, nutmeg and a gentle touch of coconut. Drinking beautifully now, this wine will continue to evolve and reward over the next five years with careful cellaring.
This wine is an obvious choice for roasted chicken but would hold up to rich fish dishes with truffle and cream sauces.