Block B Pinot Noir 2017
Schubert Wines
Region: Martinborough
Country:New Zealand

95-Bob Campbell; 95-James Suckling; 93-Robert Parker
Tasting Notes

This is heady, powerful, sophisticated yet delicious Pinot Noir from one of New Zealand’s top producers. Dark and savoury in all the right places, surrounded by rich black fruit and wrapped in fine-grained, silky tannins. New World meets Old.

Pinot Noir—chiefly associated with the Burgundy region of France— is grown around the world, mostly in cooler climates. The grape’s tendency to produce tightly packed clusters makes it susceptible to several viticultural hazards involving rot that require diligent canopy management. When young, wines made from Pinot Noir tend to have red fruit aromas of cherries, raspberries and strawberries. As it ages, Pinot has the potential to develop more vegetal and earthy aromas that can contribute to its complexity. Thin skins and low levels of phenolic compounds lend Pinot to producing mostly lightly-coloured, medium-bodied and low-tannin wines that can often go through phases of uneven and unpredictable aging.

An hour’s drive from New Zealand’s capital city of Wellington, at the southeastern tip of the North Island, lies Wairarapa, synonymous for many people with its famous sub-region, Martinborough. Home to 4% of New Zealand’s vines but 11% of its winemakers, Wairarapa’s estates tend to be small-scale and quality-obsessed. Low yields are the norm and exciting wines are the result – it is undoubtedly the North Island’s most exciting area for Pinot Noir, and a friendly rivalry exists between Martinborough and Central Otago in the south. The mountain range to the west creates a natural rainshadow making Wairarapa the driest region on the North Island. The wind is wicked and the climate harsh, resulting in small berries, thick skins and naturally low yields. The wines are vivid and pure, sometimes hedonistic. Thankfully, balance and subtlety is maintained due to the region possessing New Zealand’s largest diurnal temperature variation.

Within Marion’s Vineyard you’ll find Block B, planted in 1999. Like all of Schubert’s sites, vines here are farmed organically and densely planted. The differentiator with Block B is its exclusive Dijon clonal selections: 115, 667, 777, 114 and 113. Soils are free-draining with alluvial loam over old river gravels.

Classic Burgundian winemaking. Grapes are hand-harvested, 100% destemmed, cold-macerated and fermented in stainless steel tanks with very gentle ‘pigeage’. Left on skins for a period of 3 weeks then lightly pressed and racked to 45% new and 55% used French oak barriques for 18 months prior to bottling.

Wine Type: Red

Variety: Pinot Noir

Classification: N/A

Orientation: N/A

Appellation: Wairarapa

Gradient: N/A

Soil: Alluvial loam over gravel

Farming Practices: Organic

Residual Sugar: < 1 g/l

Alcohol: 14

Malolactic: Yes

Botte Size: 750 ml

Acidity: 5.1 g/l

Other Practices: Sustainable, Certified Organic