The four owners of Escarpment - Larry and Sue McKenna, Robert and Mem Kirby - met by chance through a mutual friend in 1998. But their shared sense that New Zealand had great things to offer the world of Pinot Noir saw them going into business the very same year. Using winemaker Larry McKenna's local knowledge they settled on Martinborough’s alluvial Te Muna terrace - then hardly on the map but now an important and renowned sub-region. A winery name was eventually chosen that was sufficiently sublime yet descriptive of the vineyard’s own distinctive landscape, but the name no doubt also makes reference to the famous limestone escarpment that forms the spine of France’s Burgundy region - from which McKenna draws his key traditions and inspirations. McKenna began his studies in his native Australia before his OE brought him to New Zealand, where his main position was CEO and Winemaker of Martinborough Vineyards over a period of extraordinary growth between 1986 and 1999. Since establishing Escarpment McKenna has consistently made superb terroir wines in many varietals, while further consolidating his particular reputation as New Zealand’s foremost expert in serious, savoury, premium Pinot Noir.
What The Critics Say
92/100 Bob Campbell MW
"Entry level Escarpment pinot noir with signature structure of grippy tannins and quite a complex, layered palate featuring spice, dark berry, plum, floral and dried herb flavours. Still a little closed but should develop well. 22/4/2018." Drink 2018 - 2023
19-/20 Raymond Chan
"Firm and solidly packed with deeply concentrated aromas of ripe black cherry and black berried fruits. The aromatics grow in depth, intensity and penetration and unfold notes of black herbs, nuances of whole bunch stalk perfumes and black minerals. This has freshness and vitality. Medium-full bodied, the palate has succulently rich and sweet flavours of ripe dark-red and black cherry and berry fruit entwined with a soft layer of dark herbs, subtle whole bunch stalk nuances, unfolding dark-red and violet florals. The fruit is vibrant and vigorous, and the sweetness is underlined by fine-grained tannin structure, with bright, lacy acidity enlivening the mouthfeel. Some raspberry liqueur notes emerge, and the wine carries with plenty of energy to a long and flavoursome finish. Match with lamb, beef and venison over the next 6-8 years. A blend of 84% Te Muna fruit and 16% ‘town’ fruit, all hand-picked and indigenous yeast fermented with 40% whole bunches to 14.2% alc., the wine spending 15 days on skins and aged 11 months in 25% new French oak barriques. 19.0-/20 Apr 2018 RRP $50.00." Drink 2018 - 2026
91/100 Burghound, Allen Meadows (2014 vintage)
"Somber but nicely complex dark pinot fruit, spice, briar and earth scents. There is both fine density and power to the robust, even slightly rustic broad-shouldered flavors that possess solid depth and excellent length on the dusty, palate coating and ever-so-gently warm finale. This rough and tumble effort has the stuff to reward at least a decade or more worth of cellaring though it should be approachable after half of that. Worth checking out."
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If for any reason you are not entirely happy with your order or you suspect that they may be affected by a quality issue, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will remedy the problem straight away. Contact us on 0800 422 767.