Change in NZ Sauvignon Blanc?

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Re: Change in NZ Sauvignon Blanc?

Postby Sue Courtney » Sun Jul 01, 2007 7:14 am

I see that Monkey Bay Marlborough Sauvignon 2006 has just picked up a gold medal at this year's San Francisco International Wine Competition.
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Re: Change in NZ Sauvignon Blanc?

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Tue Jul 03, 2007 11:21 am

Sue Courtney wrote:I see that Monkey Bay Marlborough Sauvignon 2006 has just picked up a gold medal at this year's San Francisco International Wine Competition.


Wonder which wines it was up against? Turning Leaf, Blossom Hill? LOL

I am going to post some notes on the `06 Shingle Peak in the Open Mike thread here.
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Re: Change in NZ Sauvignon Blanc?

Postby Bob Henrick » Tue Jul 03, 2007 11:29 am

Sue, for the past three vintages I have been buying a NZ SB called Crossings for USD 8.99 and have enjoyed it quite a lot for that amount of $$. the 2004 was g0ood, then 05 better and the 06 the best of the three. This might be an export label for North America and not available there. but it is a more than decent drop.
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Re: Labor problems

Postby Randy Buckner » Tue Jul 03, 2007 7:10 pm

A shortage of Marlborough vineyard workers means some vines will not be pruned this winter, alarming New Zealand winegrowers.

Chief executive Philip Gregan said Marlborough urgently needed 500 vineyard workers in addition to more than 2000 already working.

He said labour was not a problem in other wine regions in the South Island because they had fewer plantings.

Gregan estimated Marlborough had 30 million vines to be pruned and only 10 weeks to complete the work before bud- burst.

If the vines did not get pruned, the canopy became too big and grape yield and quality dropped.

He said the problem this year was exacerbated by new plantings, requiring more labour.

Marlborough seasonal labour co-ordinator Claire Wilson said: "If 300 to 500 people turned up today, there would not be any problem placing them.

The season for pruning and wrapping grape vines is now at its peak."

She said between 2000 and 3000 people were working in the vineyards, but there had already been a turnover of 1000 people.

The high seasonal-worker turnover was because some came to the end of their work permits and some found the physical work too hard.

"We're unfortunately experiencing a colder than usual cold snap, which does not help," she said.

Amazing Grapes has 30 workers pruning and wrapping, but needs another 20.

Owner Pete O'Malley said there were not as many backpackers coming through as in previous years, possibly after hearing of problems with work practices.

He said the Government was encouraging contractors to hire Pacific Islanders under a new employment scheme rather than backpackers.

However, the Pacific Islanders were not allowed in until September, which was the quiet season for vineyard work.
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Re: Change in NZ Sauvignon Blanc?

Postby Dale Williams » Tue Jul 03, 2007 8:45 pm

Joe Cz wrote:
I think the trend is just towards greater stratification.{snip} St. Clair has their Vicar's Choice at the bottom of their heirarchy, then the regular, the reserve and the single-block wines.


Joe, good to see you here.

Has St Clair always had these ...er...strata? I'm always curious re something I have seen elsewhere, one wines becoming several. If St Clair started off with one wine (or one "regular" and a reserve), and then added some single blocks, how much did the basic wine suffer? Did they add the Vicar's Choice (then basically a 2nd), and did that counter the loss of their best lots? Or is this all negociant type bottlings and that doesn't matter?

I don't know so much about NZ. But certainly in the Rhone there have been places with a bit of a pattern:
1) many growers historically sold to negociants
2) some of them started bottling own wines, and maybe some of the negociant wines suffered.
3) those bottling there own wines in some cases made very very good wines.
4) As the rep of those growers making own wines grew, some started bottling their best parcels separately.
5) while those luxury cuvees might be too oaky for some, the question is how much did the regular cuvee suffer from lost of the best parcels?
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Re: Change in NZ Sauvignon Blanc?

Postby Sue Courtney » Tue Jul 03, 2007 9:24 pm

Dale Williams wrote:
Joe Cz wrote:
I think the trend is just towards greater stratification.{snip} St. Clair has their Vicar's Choice at the bottom of their heirarchy, then the regular, the reserve and the single-block wines.


Joe, good to see you here.

Has St Clair always had these ...er...strata? I'm always curious re something I have seen elsewhere, one wines becoming several. If St Clair started off with one wine (or one "regular" and a reserve), and then added some single blocks, how much did the basic wine suffer? Did they add the Vicar's Choice (then basically a 2nd), and did that counter the loss of their best lots? Or is this all negociant type bottlings and that doesn't matter?

I don't know so much about NZ. But certainly in the Rhone there have been places with a bit of a pattern:
1) many growers historically sold to negociants
2) some of them started bottling own wines, and maybe some of the negociant wines suffered.
3) those bottling there own wines in some cases made very very good wines.
4) As the rep of those growers making own wines grew, some started bottling their best parcels separately.
5) while those luxury cuvees might be too oaky for some, the question is how much did the regular cuvee suffer from lost of the best parcels?


I'm not Joe, but can probably answer this.
If you read the above posting by Randy with the problem with pruners, you will understand that every year more vineyards come on stream in Marlborough. That means there are more vineyards to source fruit from and Saint Clair are good at identifying passionate growers to join their growing team of growers.
Everything that is picked from each of Saint Clair's own and growers' vineyards is kept separate until blending time. This would be standard practice with all of the big producers.
The tasting panel identifies wines that they think are of exceptional quality and will bottle them as 'Pioneer Blocks' which usually represents one vineyard, but occasionally, as with the Block 6, two. However the very best of the best goes into the Wairau Reserve - which in 2006 was mostly from one vineyard with another vineyard added to get additional complexity.
The Wairau Reserve (2200 cases in 2006) and single vineyard Pioneer Blocks (1100 cases each in 2006) are small production wines and hardly cut into the overall volume that Saint Clair produces (Saint Clair Marlborough 2006 was 65,000 cases and Saint Clair Vicars Choice 2006 was 50,000 cases). And I do know, after interviewing the winemaker earlier this year, that only 58% of what they produced in 2006 went into the Saint Clair label. The remaining 42% did not make the grade and went into other brands.

Historically the owners of Saint Clair started out as growers themselves, then they introduced their own brand starting out with just one wine, as most small producers do, then the Vicars Choice was added, then the Wairau Reserve, and two years ago (2005) the Pioneer Blocks.

In my opinion, quality of the large volume Saint Clair Marlborough and Saint Clair Vicar's Choice is not compromised at all by the additional of the small volume Pioneer Blocks. And if you line them up, you'll find it quite educational, as you can taste the difference.

Cheers,
Sue
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Re: Change in NZ Sauvignon Blanc?

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Jul 04, 2007 9:38 am

It is such a pity that Saint Clair is not available here in Alberta! Same goes for ESJ. I would be trying more of the recently released NZ SBs but GV has taken top spot on my current to-buy list. Nice to have a change though.
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Re: Change in NZ Sauvignon Blanc?

Postby michael dietrich » Wed Jul 04, 2007 11:34 am

I think that Saint Clair has done a great job with most all their wines. The Vicars is their value price point wine. It is kind of like intro level for consumers. As people like those wines then they will spend a little more to try their Marlborough wines. There are lots of similar models all over the wine world.
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Re: Change in NZ Sauvignon Blanc?

Postby Sue Courtney » Wed Jul 04, 2007 4:45 pm

michael dietrich wrote:I think that Saint Clair has done a great job with most all their wines. The Vicars is their value price point wine. It is kind of like intro level for consumers. As people like those wines then they will spend a little more to try their Marlborough wines. There are lots of similar models all over the wine world.

Vicar's Choice is from Marlborough too!
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Re: Change in NZ Sauvignon Blanc?

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Sun Jul 15, 2007 10:59 pm

Well, in the past week or so I have tasted the`06 Matua Valley Shingle Peak and have now just opened the `05 (previous tasting note was threaded here in January). Not a heck of a lot of differences in the 2 vintages and will post some notes asap. Oh, no downscaling at this winery!!
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