This really is an award-winning wine, having just totted up the Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA) regional trophy and the International Wine Challenge (IWC) New Zealand pinot noir trophy. I judge the NZ panel at the DWWA, but having done a bit of traceability analysis, this particular wine was on the other table.
The business was set up in 1998 by German couple Kai Schubert and Marion Deimling, who bought a small vineyard north of Martinborough – renowned pinot noir territory. More than three quarters of their 12 hectare vineyard is planted to this variety.
The wine has a pale ruby colour befitting classic pinot noir. Black cherries emerge from the glass along with a faintly herbal, rosemary-garrigue type note in the background. It has a sweet berry fruit attack with cinnamon and allspice new oak complexity. Its smooth, slippery texture slides sweetly across the tongue, as raspberries, cherries and redcurrants play on the palate. It has big fruit concentration while retaining clearly-focused varietal definition. This is serious and seriously good Kiwi pinot noir, with notes of savoury complexity that focus the origin towards Wairarapa rather than Central Otago, for example. It’s sweetly balanced with a fresh and lingering finish.