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Kupe is the king of Pinot Noirs from The Escarpment Vineyard and is a silky smooth, full bodied Pinot, representing the pinnacle of this style of wine. It's an incredibly elegant but weighty style, which delivers intensity and lightness in one surprisingly delicious fell swoop. It drinks beautifully now and can age for the long term too. This wine is made from hand picked grapes, which are grown on the winery's home block on Te Muna Road on a small 1.8 hectare vineyard which is on close planted rows at 1 metre by 1.5 metres and all planted 100% with the Abel clone of Pinot Noir. It spends 18 months aging in French oak, 50% new; a high proportion which sits well in this powerful, velvety wine. 

The production of Kupe is the smallest of all the single vineyard wines made at The Escarpment. Half of the grapes are typically dropped prior to harvest to ensure concentration of flavour and high quality.  The finished wine receives 50% new oak for 18 months in French barriques and is bottled without fining or filtration. This makes it a vegan friendly wine. More importantly for wine lovers, it ages superbly thanks to the structure provided by great viticulture and winemaking. It also drinks well in its youth, due to the seductive elegance and consistently silky style that Kupe is made in.

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. 

Top wines

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.

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