Saint Clair Family Estate

Owner(s) Judy Ibbotson, Neal Ibbotson
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The Saint Clair family has been producing fine wine in Marlborough, New Zealand, since 1994. The winery offers a wide range of varieties available in four ranges: the Reserve Range, the Pioneer Blocks, the Premium Range, and Vicar's Choice. The owners, Neal and Judy Ibbotson, have been viticulture pioneers in Marlborough since 1978, and today, the winery farms six estate vineyards covering several hundred acres in different sites in Marlborough, including the Rapaura, Awatere, Waihopai and Omaka Valleys. The Saint Clair name originates from the vineyard property, first settled by the Sinclair Family.

The winemaker is Matt Thomson who has made wine in Burgundym Bordeaux and Italy and frequently travels to Europe. The winery was avoided the trophy for Best New Zealand Wine Producer of the Year at the International Wine and Spirits Competition 2005. Saint Clair Family Estate was the first New Zealand wine company to win major international trophies for Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir in the same year. Saint Clair has won more top awards for Sauvignon Blanc in recent years than any of the three to four hundred other local producers.

Total production is 200,000 cases per year (35,000 cases of Pinot Noir) Saint Clair wines are imported to the United States by Winesellers Limited, Skokie, Ill., and to at least 60 other countries.

Reviewed Wines

2010 Saint Clair Family Estate Vicar’s Choice Marlborough New Zealand Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $14, screwcap. Imported by Winesellers LTD, Niles, IL. Owners Neal and Judy Ibbotson have a relative who was a vicar in the Anglican Church. On a visit to Saint Clair, the vicar selected his favorite barrels and the name was born. The winemaker is Matt Thomson. · Moderately light reddish color in the glass. Fresh aromas of dark red strawberries, raspberries and cherries. Fruit-driven, featuring red fruits with complimentary oak in the background. Elegantly styled and smoothly textured with mild tannins and a grapefruit-peel note on the finish. A relatively straightforward drink that offers value. Good. Reviewed October 2, 2012 ARTICLE »

2008 Saint Clair Family Estate Vicar’s Choice Marlborough New Zealand Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., $18, screw cap. Imported by Winesellers Ltd., Skokie, ILL. Owners Neal and Judy Ibbetson, Marlborough pioneers since 1978, have a relative who is a vicar in the Anglican Church and this wine is his choice of barrel samples. The winemaker is Matt Thomson. · Light in color. Savory and fruity nose that appeals with aromas of strawberries, spice and dried herbs. Light on the palate with flavors of red fruits and herbs. Simple, but nicely composed and easy to drink. Good. Reviewed November 7, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 Saint Clair Family Estate Omaka Reserve Marlborough New Zealand Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., $28, screw cap. Imported by Winesellers Ltd., Skokie, ILL. · Moderately deep reddish-purple color in the glass. The aromas build in intensity over time in the glass, offering a jolting array of oakkissed and spiced dark fruits. Thick and dense on the palate, with hedonistic liquor-like flavors of blackberries, ollaliberries, and black plums with an earthy underpinning, caressed by downy tannins. The mouth coating sap really makes an impression. A Caliesque style Pinot without the high alcohol. Very good. Reviewed November 7, 2010 ARTICLE »

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