October 20, 2020|In Winery Spotlight, Wines

Jewels, jewels, glorious jewels – especially of the liquid variety!

How lucky are we that the Dhall & Nash portfolio has such a treasure trove of vinous jewels to taste and explore? However, having such a bounty can sometimes mean we overlook a few of those hidden sumptuous specimens. Wait no more, help is here! This blog will be your Indiana Jones, intrepidly uncovering the hidden gems from the depths of D&N’s “Lost Ark”!

Our Hidden Gems will be wines to get excited about, wines with golden accolades as long as the Amazon River, wines that give you great bang for your buck, wines that have a great story, wines with both style and substance and so much more.

Jewels, jewels, glorious jewels – especially of the liquid variety!

How lucky are we that the Dhall & Nash portfolio has such a treasure trove of vinous jewels to taste and explore? However, having such a bounty can sometimes mean we overlook a few of those hidden sumptuous specimens. Wait no more, help is here! This blog will be your Indiana Jones, intrepidly uncovering the hidden gems from the depths of D&N’s “Lost Ark”!

Our Hidden Gems will be wines to get excited about, wines with golden accolades as long as the Amazon River, wines that give you great bang for your buck, wines that have a great story, wines with both style and substance and so much more.


This Month's Hidden Gem is:

2018 Schubert Marion's Vineyard Pinot Noir

If you are a Pinot Noir fan, you must discover the purity, power and precision of Schubert Wines’ NZ Pinots, and obviously this “Hidden Gem” Marion’s Vineyard 2018 is a sensuous starting point…

As described by Jancis Robinson, MW, “…Polished, very poised. Nicely splits the difference between Burgundian sophistication and New Zealand fruitiness.”

 

Luscious, deep-fruit aromas of red cherries and raspberries rise from the glass. The palate is crisply layered and mouth-filling with fine tannins. Ripe red fruit obtains complexity from hints of spicy characters, tea leaf and earth. The texture has sophistication and elegance, being sumptuous and refreshing at the same time.

Suggested to serve with decadent and delicious foods such as tea-smoked beef carpaccio, shavings of parmesan and drizzled with pungent truffle oil. Perfection!

$45.00 ex gst

Who Are Schubert Wines?

Kai Schubert has a great last name. By happy coincidence he shares that last name with two great men of history: Franz Schubert, the talented classical composer of the early 19th century, and rather more dramatically, Max Schubert, the founding winemaker of Australia’s greatest wine – Penfold’s Grange. Illustrious company indeed!

And as the stars can align in weird and wonderful ways, an extraordinary young German couple were lured to the tiny wine region of Wairarapa, New Zealand to create exquisite wine “compositions” of classically elegant proportions. Their pinots are often more recognised and revered internationally than in their adopted home of NZ. But it is time to set that story straight!

Kai and Marion of Schubert Wines

How Did This Wine Journey Begin?

The hunt for the holy grail of pinot noir was Schubert Wines’ reason to ultimately choose New Zealand.

Schubert Wines is the dynamic vision of Kai Schubert and Marion Deimling, graduates of the esteemed Viticulture and Oenology University of Geisenheim, Germany. Both Kai and Marion were born and raised in Germany. Kai had the experience of working for the legendary winemaker Erni Loosen of Dr. Loosen Estate in Bernkastel. Marion grew up amongst the vines around Lake Constance and worked at wineries in the Baden region, the southernmost wine region of Germany.

After graduating they both worked in numerous wine regions of the world. And, of course, Kai and Marion dreamed of establishing their own vineyard. Thus began their pursuit of the perfect terroir to produce wines and, more specifically, pinot noir of uncompromising quality.

A world search which included Europe, North and South America and Australia, brought the young winemakers to Martinborough, New Zealand. Here in the picturesque Wairarapa they found what they were looking for.

In 1998 Kai and Marion purchased a small established vineyard in Martinborough as well as 40 hectares of bare land in the East Taratahi sub-region. Here in 1999 and 2000 they planted the variety of their dreams – Pinot Noir, as well as some other varieties, all of which gained organic certification in 2013.

The Schubert Wine Philosophy

The overarching philosophy of this talented couple is to craft wines of finesse and undeniable quality that will stand out alongside the best in the world. Their wines reflect an Old World sensibility alongside polished modernity of the New World. A happy convergence for all who imbibe their divine drops.

With their own international winemaking experience, Kai and Marion believe that the Wairarapa offers a unique blend of topography, ancient geology and climate to produce world class Burgundian-style Pinot Noir.

Historically, wines from Martinborough have achieved international acclaim for richly flavoured, savoury, yet beautifully perfumed Pinot Noir. The Schubert journey had begun, and with the first vintage, the 2001 Pinot Noir – a simply stunning wine with texture and depth – was quickly recognized by connoisseurs and critics all around the world. They haven’t looked back since.

Over time this charming German-Kiwi couple have also played to their own strengths. Marion is the winemaker and Kai focuses on marketing their wines in 40 different countries. Kai jokes that with a population in New Zealand of only 5 million people, they need to export; and they show that they can do this well, as they successfully export some 85-90% of their production.

Schubert Wines are currently available on the wine lists of some of the best restaurants in the world like the French Laundry and Spago in California, Tetsuya’s in Sydney, Fasano in Sao Paulo, Pujol in Mexico City, Chez Ino in Tokyo, The Dorchester Hotel in London, Restaurant Pinot Noir in Moscow and the Queue de Cheval in Montréal, Central Restaurante in Peru, Robuchon in Macau and the Four Seasons Hotel in Beijing…

"Marion's Vineyard" in East Taratahi, Wararapa

The Schubert Terroir

By European standards the Schubert vineyards are young, but these vines have shown promise since the beginning thanks to the careful site selection and meticulous attention to viticulture and winemaking detail of all the winery team.

The “cool-climate” in the Wairarapa Valley is very similar to Europe’s cooler wine growing regions with an additional advantage: the long dry autumns. Precipitation is shielded by the Rimutaka and Tararua Mountains, and Martinborough and its sub-region East Taratahi are the driest regions of New Zealand’s North Island. The soils are formed by old river sediments, all considered ideal conditions for Pinot Noir.

The strong winds and dry climate mean low yields and keeps the grapes pristine and the vines healthy. Respect and care of the terroir, the land where the vines are planted, plays the most significant role for the production of their premium quality wines. The Wairarapa vines produce naturally low yields of small berries with thick skins, all of which enhance the powerful and nuanced flavours of the Schubert wines – that universally sought after “pinosity”!

 

In total there are 14 hectares of vines that are closely planted in the traditional, European style.

The Home Block (not written on the label) next to their tasting room in Martinborough is just 1.7 hectares. Whereas Marion’s Vineyard is located north of Martinborough on a terrace of East Taratahi in the Gladstone subregion. This is 12.5 hectares on free draining soils with alluvial loam over old river gravels, planted mostly in 1999 and 2000.

Kai jovially explained, (“in his own pedantic German way” as he put it) the misconception about the two sites and gave us valuable insight into their pinot clonal selections:

Marion’s Vineyard… is bigger, and is the main vineyard, so we also separate it into several blocks…. Not necessarily romantic names… as we called the 4 blocks A, B, C and D. So in fact, the Block B Pinot Noir is also from the Marion’s Vineyard… however only in Block B we have planted the Dijon Clones of Pinot Noir (mainly the 115 but also the 777, 667, 113 and 114). In the other Blocks (A, C and D) we planted the Pommard Clone and the Abel Clone. Hence BOTH Wines… the Pinot Noir Marion’s Vineyard (which we could have also called Block A, C & D) and the Pinot Noir Block B come from the same vineyard and share the same terroir, soil and climate. So in essence the difference between the two Pinot Noirs is a true reflection of the individual clone characters as the winemaking of both is pretty similar too. Only Block B receives a little more new French oak barriques than the Marion’s Vineyard. So, both wines are for us on the same quality level yet the difference in both wines in general:

Marion’s Vineyard (=Abel & Pommard clones) being the more elegant, approachable when young Pinot Noir, more red fruit driven, very fine tannin structure… in a sense the more feminine Pinot Noir.

Block B (=Dijon clones) being the more rustic, bigger tannin, darker fruit, slower developing Pinot Noir… or in other words a more masculine Pinot Noir.”

Thanks for the clarification, Kai! ☺

The Schubert Methodology

For all their red wines, Schubert carry out what they call classic “Pinot Noir winemaking”. This clearly shows a very gentle hands-on artisanal approach. And dare we say, that pedantic German precision comes to the fore to deftly hone these perfect pinots.

After a second selection of the grapes in the winery, the grapes are de-stemmed (if not partially used as whole bunches in the ferment). With a crane the berries are lifted into the fermentation tanks where initially a cold maceration will take place. Fermentation follows and the wine is in contact with the skins for between 4 to 6 weeks. While fermenting they only use very gentle “pigeage” to mix the fermenting skins with the juice. After fermentation and maceration the content of the tank with young wine and the berry skins is then gently transferred to the wine-press without any pumps but by hand with stainless steel buckets. Only a very light pressing is applied to the skins and the young wine is transferred straight away to French oak barriques where it matures, depending on the grape variety, for 16 – 48 months before bottling.

The Marion’s Vineyard Pinot Noir is aged in 35% new and 65% used French oak barriques for 18 months.

 

Well-deserved kudos again to winemaker Marion, her namesake 2018 Pinot Noir is an exquisitely crafted wine built around a core of luscious fruit and graceful finely woven tannins. This balanced and elegant style makes for an approachably seductive and refined pinot.

A true vinous jewel! No longer a Hidden Gem…

Acclaim

Schubert Wines continue to astound the wine scene with their class and quality, collecting many awards and accolades along the way!

2017 Marion’s Vineyard Pinot Noir:
“Attractive, crushed roses and violets here with red fruit and wild herbs on offer, too. The palate has tangy and crunchy red cherries with a fresh and very upbeat, juicy finish. Drink or hold.”93/100 points. James Suckling (October 2019)

“Features attractive cherry and raspberry aromas kissed by hints of cedar and spice from the 35% new French oak. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, round and silky in feel but somehow a bit fragile at the same time, with the fruit giving way to oak on the finish. Drink it over the next 5-6 years.“91/100 points. Joe Czerwinski (April 2020)

2015 Marion’s Vineyard Pinot Noir:
“Intense, smooth, very flattering and really hedonistic. Great stuff! Polished, very poised, Nicely splits the difference between Burgundian sophistication and New Zealand fruitiness.”17/20 points. Jancis Robinson MW

“Medium-bodied pinot noir with attractive rose petal, cherry, berry and spice flavours. Elegant and quite linear wine with surprising power and length. A smooth-textured pinot that can be appreciated now but promises more with bottle age.”95/100 points. Bob Campbell MW (June 2017)

 

And it doesn’t stop there! Here are some more notable accolades for the older vintages:

2014: 5 stars from Raymond Chan (December 2016)
2013: 95 points / Outstanding by Decanter (September 2016)
2012: 92+ Parker Points and exclusively available in First Class Malaysian Airlines on the Airbus 380
2011: 93 Parker Points and judged as one of New Zealand’s Top 7 Pinot Noirs by www.robertparker.com
2010: 91+ Parker Points and judged as one of New Zealand’s Top 40 Pinot Noirs by www.robertparker.com
2009: Voted Red Wine of the Year 2012 by Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung
2008: Awarded a Gold Medal and Top 10 at Decanter World Wine Awards 2010, UK


More from Schubert Wines

Check out the rest of the range that we carry:

2016 Schubert Syrah

2017 Schubert Block B Pinot Noir

2018 Schubert Block B Pinot Noir

2018 Schubert Marion’s Vineyard Pinot Noir

2018 Schubert Selection Pinot Noir

2019 Schubert Estate Sauvignon Blanc

2019 Schubert Selection Pinot Noir

2019 Schubert Selection Sauvignon Blanc

2020 Schubert Rosé

 

Interested in trying these wines for yourself? Get in touch with your account manager or send us an email at orders@dnfinewine.com.