Escarpment Kupe Pinot Noir Martinborough 2020/2021
Kupe is made as a cherry pick of the best grapes grown on Escarpment's 18 hectare home block first planted in 1999 on Te Muna Road. The alluvial gravels on the Martinborough Terrace provide a distinctive character that sets a benchmark for New Zealand Pinot Noir.
Near perfect growing conditions led to exceptional fruit that was handled with great care to help retain balance and elegance. 100% Abel clone picked over two days; the fruit was fermented in open top fermenters using indigenous yeast. They were hand plunged once daily for a total vat time of 25 days.
After pressing the wine was aged in 35% new French oak barriques for 16 months, creating a wine with ripe flavours and soft tannins. Bottled without fining or filtration, promoting soft mouth feel and balance, showing all the hallmarks of a grand young Pinot Noir on release, July 2022. Perfumed red and black fruits show deep red cherry, red currant, raspberry confit and ripe plum. It shows lifted spice and game together with floral notes of perfumed spring flowers and underlying dried porcini mushrooms. A firm tannin profile rounds out the opulent fruit profile to combine excellent texture and reward patience for cellaring up to 15 years.
History of The Escarpment Vineyard
Larry McKenna was one of the first winemakers in Martinborough and has had a pivotal role in pioneering Pinot Noir in New Zealand. He was born and bred in Australia and began winemaking in the Wairarapa region at Martinborough Vineyards in the early days of modern New Zealand wine. In 1999 he founded The Escarpment Vineyard on Te Muna Road, a dramatically beautiful valley which is nine kilometres east of the Martinborough township.
The Escarpment Vineyard was purchased by Torbreck Wines in South Australia in 2018 and Larry remains at the helm with winemaker Tim Bourne.
The Escarpment Vineyard Pinot Noirs are highly collectible wines, especially the four top tier, single vineyard editions, the pinnacle of which is Kupe - named after Nga Waka-o-Kupe, which is three flat topped hills on the Aorangi Ranges. These distinctive hills resemble upturned canoes, the Maori name for which is kupe, hence the name.