The Marlborough region faced some minor but interesting challenges leading up to harvest. High frost risk vineyards, suffered minor damage with spring frosts and the hot dry long summer resulted in irrigation water shortages in areas of marginal supply. Saint Clair had no frost damage, but water was carted to one vineyard to alleviate a water shortage.
The Saint Clair 2015 harvest commenced slightly earlier than normal, with the first grapes being hand-picked for sparkling base on the 3rd March. Grapes destined for the Saint Clair lower alcohol wines were also harvested early from selected vineyard sites capable of reaching optimum flavour intensity before the sugar levels became too high, thus achieving rich flavours whilst low in alcohol.
2015 yields were moderate to low, depending on the vineyard site and the grape variety. Pinot Noir was especially light with very small berries, however these were harvested in pristine condition resulting in excellent fruit concentration and a great flavour spectrum.
Twenty five vintage staff (some returning from previous years) from all round the world, flocked to the family owned Marlborough winery to work vintage over a period of seven weeks. The work was demanding and throughout the peak of vintage, shifts were rotated 24 hours around the clock. Team dedication and commitment to adhering to the highest possible standard all helps towards ensuring an exceptional end product.
Saint Clair has high quality expectations from 2015 vintage and we are all looking forward to the release of quality wine and sharing it with our 70 markets around the world.