The best of Escarpment’s latest bevy of single-vineyard releases, Kupe (ku-pay) is from the close-planted vineyard nearest the winery on Te Muna Road. It’s floral upfront, loaded with raspberry and blueberry fruit and amazingly supple despite using 70% whole clusters and 50% new oak. Drink 2016–2025.— J.C.
Since its debut in 2003, this has been one of New Zealand’s top Pinot Noirs, combining power, structure and complexity. Smoky and richly peppery at first, it turns more floral with aeration, and while it’s big in the mouth, it’s also silky in texture. The black cherry, plum, vanilla and spice flavors fan out on the…— J.C.
Impressively big, rich and well extracted, with bold black cherry flavors, but also complex hints of cinnamon and other spices, floral notes and a pleasant herbal tinge to the softly tannic finish. Approachable now, but probably better in 3–4 years. Just 500 cases produced. Imported by Meadowbank Estates.— J.C.
Larry McKenna continues to show his masterful touch with Martinborough Pinot with his latest release. The 2007 is full-bodied and velvety, practically lush in the mouth, and filled with black cherry, plum, cola and sassafras flavors, with additional herbal complexity hinted at on the long, mouthwatering finish.— J.C.
Veteran winemaker Larry McKenna says Te Rehua consistently shows the most ripeness of his various single-vineyard wines. In this vintage, that comes across as a slightly jammy midpalate filled with plums and blackberries. Upfront, there’s a floral element, and on the finish, some dusty tannins. Try it once 2016…— J.C.
This wine shows a bit of brown-sugar-inflected oak at the moment, along with hints of cola, menthol and vanilla. Cocoa, cinnamon and cedar notes are all backed by dark cherry fruit and crushed-velvet-textured tannins. Drink now–2023.— J.C.
“Delicate” is how owner-winemaker Larry McKenna describes Pahi, and that seems apt. It’s smoky and vaguely herbal, hinting at tomato, then offers cherry fruit and soft, gentle tea-like tannins that turn silky on the finish. Drink now–2021.— J.C.
Escarpment’s basic blended Pinot is anything but basic in 2013. There’s a pleasing mixture of red and black fruit, notes of dried flowers and thyme and hints of mocha, cola and vanilla. It’s medium bodied, with a firm feel on the palate and some dusty tannins on the long finish. It should drink well through 2023.— J.C.