Continuing our sneak previews of the 2012 New Zealand grape harvest, I asked Kai Schubert at Schubert Winery in Martinborough how the vintage looks, to which he replied, “We are still picking!”
Kai came through Singapore about 10 weeks ago and confessing they had practically no summer and yes, it was looking like “One of the more tricky vintages”, “But in no way a bad one… and I am not just saying that”.
“Yes, it is true that summer was kind of cancelled. I think this summer we used our BBQ only once whilst last year we kind of did not need to switch it off!! Summer was very windy and cold at times and certainly a bit of rain; luckily not as bad as in some other regions. What saved us was the beautiful autumn we have had. A lot of very sunny days; actually more feeling like summer than autumn. Even now in May we still have some very nice and warm sunny days amongst some harsher days of course.”
He goes on to say, “But this is exactly that what gives us complex wine; long, long ripening under stressful condition. Of course a selection of the grapes needed to be done and of course wineries that do not pick by hand will certainly not have the same quality as the ones that handpicked.”
“So in a sense there are similarities with the 2004 vintage which also was cold and rainy but produced some fantastic wines with the true transparency of Pinot Noir! 2012 also seems to have amazing colour and great tannin structure, probably due to all the wind we had. Sugar levels were lower so the wines will have less alcohol; not necessarily a bad thing.”
So, as picking continues at Schubert and they are on the home stretch, and Kai sums up, “It’s of course early days and the wines are not in the bottle yet but we are extremely happy with the grapes we had this vintage and also I was amazed how well they survived the harsh conditions!”
The Wandering Palate is a huge fan of the Schubert wines and written at some length on past vintages, see links below. I also tasted the 2010 Schubert Block B Pinot Noir recently which was stunning and mightily impressed a wine industry colleague of mine who is an expert on Barolo and Barbaresco, pointing to the structure and complexity in the wine, in its youth.
Scroll down for vintage pictures and more info at www.schubert.co.nz