Kai Schubert

What if I told you, you could get world class Burgundy at a fraction of it’s normal price? You’d jump at it wouldn’t you? Well, here is your opportunity but it’s not from France as you might think, it’s from New Zealand. I was at the Wine Cellar at the Bluebird the other night for a wine tasting of NZ wines made by the German winemaker Kai Schubert. Kai Schubert and his partner, Marion Deimling, both graduates of the Viticulture and Oenology University in Geisenheim, Germany worked in vineyards around the world, stopping in Europe, Oregon and S. America before finally settling in New Zealand to grow and make the notoriously difficult pinot noir. They found what they thought was the best site in Wairarapa Valley, near the town of Martinborough and founded Kai Schubert Vineyards. The pair bought an established vineyard in 1998 and began planting pinot noir which comprises more than 75% of their plantings. The remainder is comprised of syrah, cabernet and merlot as well as some white varietals. Their first vintage of pinot noir was released in 2003 and they haven’t looked back since. Schubert’s 2004 Pinot Noir “Block B” even beat out the 1999 “Musigny Grand Cru” of Comte de Vogue, Chambolle Musigny (€450 in Germany) in a blind tasting held in Berlin recently. Kai brought a couple of whites and his prizewinning pinot noirs for us to sample. I was a bit late so I missed the white wines but I was able to get my mitts on the pinots and the syrah. Kai’s pinots were cool, sleek, elegant offerings like the afghan hounds one sees lounging insouciently in 18th century paintings.   I loved the Marion’s Vineyard 2006 pinot noir (£26). Kai says that legend has it a Kiwi winemaker travelled to La Tache in Burgundy and stole a few clippings. On returning to NZ he was busted by customs trying to smuggle the cuttings into the country. Of course the cuttings were confiscated but rather then burning the plants, the Customs Officer took them home and planted them. Thus the Able clone...

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