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Featured Reviews

Schubert 2016 ‘Marion’s Vineyard’ and ‘Block B’ Pinot Noirs

11 June,2018

Geisenheim University Viticulture and Oenology graduates Kai Schubert and Marion Deimling came to New Zealand from Germany in 1998 to make world class wine, buying a small established vineyard, at just under 2 ha, named the ‘Home Block’, in Martinborough, and 40 ha of bare land in East Taratahi, near Gladstone, planting it over 1999 and 2000. The latter, named ‘Marion’s Vineyard’ has 12.5 ha of vines, 80% devoted to red varieties, mainly Pinot Noir with 8 clones planted. While a diverse range of wines is made, totalling 6,000 to 8,000 cases annually, it is the Pinot Noirs that have made the name for Kai and Marion.

The first Pinot Noir was made in 2001, but the first ‘official’ wines were from the 2003 vintage. Three Pinot Noirs are made, an ‘Estate’ Pinot Noir, along with the limited bottlings of clonal-based ‘Marion’s Vineyard’ and ‘Block B’ Pinot Noir, of which there are around 500 cases of each made. The ‘Marion’s Vineyard’ wine is based on clones 5, Abel and 10/5, while the ‘Block B’ is a blend of Dijon clones, mainly 115, with 667, 777, 114 and 113, specifically grown on ‘Block B’ of the vineyard. Winemaking is essentially the same, and the consistent differences, the ‘Marion’s Vineyard’ more elegant, and the ‘Block B’ more powerful, are based on clonal selection, making them fascinating to compare. Here, I review the 2016 releases of the Schubert ‘Marion’s Vineyard’ and ‘Block B’ Pinot Noirs.


Schubert ‘Marion’s Vineyard’ Wairarapa Pinot Noir 2016

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Wairarapa & Wellington


Moderately dark, deep ruby-red colour, lighter with some garnet hues. The nose is full and gently voluminous with a well-packed core of ripe, dark-red berry fruit harmoniously melded with subtle notes of dark and dried herbs, and dark-red florals, along with a little savoury, earthy complexity. This is beautifully integrated in presentation and shows a positive, deep core. Medium-full bodied, the palate is well-proportioned with a rounded and deep heart of sweetly rich and ripe dark-red berry fruits harmoniously interwoven with dark and dried herbs, red florals and a little earth. The fruit is bright, lively and vibrant, and enlivened by fresh, lacy acidity and underlined by supple, fine-grained tannin extraction. The palate has a positive line with excellent energy and drive, and carries to a sweetly rich, red-fruited and floral nuanced finish. This is a rich and sweet-fruited dark-red berried Pinot Noir with a positive heart, liveliness, supple structure and excellent energy. Match with wild duck and pork over the next 5-6+ years. Clones 5, Abel and 10/5 from ‘Marion’s Vineyard’, East Taratahi, hand-picked, fully destemmed and fermented to 14.0% alc., the wine spending 3 weeks on skins and aged 18 months on 35% new French oak barriques. Certified BioGro organic. Approx. 500 cases made. 19.0-/20 Jun 2018 RRP $50.00

Schubert ‘Block B’ Wairarapa Pinot Noir 2016

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Wairarapa & Wellington


Full, dark, deep ruby-red colour with slight purple hues, lighter on the rim. The nose is broad and deeply concentrated with fulsome aromas of ripe dark-red and black-berried fruits, along with dark herbs, and nuances of earth and minerally elements. This has aromatic depth, intensity and presence. Medium-full bodied, the palate has plenty of weight with deep and concentrated flavours of dark-red and black-berried fruits, along with dark herbs, violet florals and minerals. The flavours form a well-packed but rounded core that unfolds layers of richness, with notes of plums, liquorice and game. The fruit is supported by elegant, fine-grained, flowery tannin extraction and structure with integrated acidity. This has density and depth, and the wine carries with plenty of drive, leading to a long, sustained and concentrated finish. This is a rich and luscious, deeply flavoured and well-concentrated dark-red and black fruited Pinot Noir with herb, floral and mineral detail on a fine-grained and well-structured palate with plenty of length. Match with lamb, beef and venison dishes over the next 7-9+ years. Clones 115, 667, 777, 114 and 113, from ‘Block B’ in ‘Marion’s Vineyard’, East Taratahi, hand-picked and fully destemmed, and fermented to 14.5% alc., the wine spending 3 weeks on skins and aged 18 months in 45% new French oak barriques. Certified BioGro organc. Approx. 500 cases made. 19.0/20 Jun 2018 RRP $65.00

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