Think red wine in the Wairarapa and Pinot Noir immediately springs to mind. That's
because the most famed wine place in the Wairarapa is Martinborough. Think Martinborough
and Cabernet Sauvignon, and the picture is hazy because Pinot Noir is the king and queen
of grapes and very little Cabernet Sauvignon is produced. But what has been produced has
occasionally been stunning. One of the best ever came from the late Stan Chifney - I
remember drinking a 1994 Chifney Cabernet Sauvignon with friends three years ago. In fact
it was so delicious, I made it my
'Most Surprising Wine Tasted During The Year'.
This week my interest in Wairarapa
Cabernet Sauvignon was rekindled after tasting the Schubert Cabernet Merlot 2003
- although the ratio of Cabernet Sauvignon to Merlot is not mentioned, in the past it has
been 50:50. Deep black red with a crimson hue, this wine is alluring in its
appearance. The nose is quite different from anything else on the table because
under the smoky vanillin oak and the scent that is reminiscent of a bowl of just picked
blackberries with the ones on the bottom getting slightly crushed and oozing their juices,
there something that's reminiscent of beef stock as well. Full-bodied and fine textured
with flavours of backberries, cassis, cherry jam, dried herbs, a suggestion of menthol and
underlying tobacco - the fruit is lifted and the underlying acidity is in no way pointy -
just smooth, rounded and totally delicious. Cedary oak lingers on the finish with
chcoolate and mocha making an appearance as well. A fascinating wine that has been
lovingly made and after the initial shock of the unusual aroma, totally likeable.
With 14.5% alcohol and a cork closure, it comes from a vintage of tiny proportions due
to late frosts in the spring hwoever the long, dry summer and autumn ensured ideal
ripening conditions. The fruit was hand-picked and 100% de-stemmed with fermentation in
stainless steel vats and maceration for 3 weeks before aging in 75 % new and 25 % used
French Oak barriques for 27 months. It costs $40 a bottle.
Schubert Cabernet Merlot 2003 was an awesome match to a shank end of a
leg of lamb that had been well seasoned, stuffed with garlic, smothered with red currant
jelly and roasted in a juice of merlot laced with thyme.
Bottles of this were auctioned at the Te Omanga Hospice Charity Wine Auction last
month. I have to say whoever picked up this lot got some very nice wine.
It's not the first time I've been smitten my Kai Schubert's Cabernet Merlot blend.
Looking back at my notes, I found I was pretty star struck by the 2000 vintage of this wine.
Find out more about Schubert and this wine from www.schubert.co.nz.
© Sue Courtney
22 Jul 2007