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Wine Advocate scores for latest Escarpment releases

Joe Czerwinski has reviewed a number of Escarpment wines, including their latest release single vineyard Pinot Noirs, in his ‘New Zealand: Part 2 – Mostly Not Marlborough’ article in this month’s Wine Advocate.

2019 Kupe Pinot Noir, Escarpment – 95 pts
The full-bodied, rich 2019 Kupe Pinot Noir is a lovely example of how size doesn’t have to mean a loss of elegance. Bold black cherry and plum flavors combine with nuances of cola spice and mocha to yield ample complexity, while the palate is plush and velvety, seamlessly extending through a lingering finish. While delicious now, I expect it will drink well for more than a decade.

Now owned by Barossa-based Torbreck, Escarpment was the brainchild of founder Larry McKenna, who remains on hand to lead the current team. Situated on Te Muna Road but sourcing fruit from several different sites, the specialty here is Pinot Noir, but the company also offers Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc. The flagship Kupe Pinot Noir comes from close-spaced Dijon clones near the winery.

2019 Chardonnay, Escarpment – 92 pts
Aged in 20% new oak, the barrel-fermented and aged 2019 Chardonnay reveals more mocha and nutty notes than the other whites from Escarpment, but it balances those with hints of white peach, melon and understated citrus. Medium to full-bodied, it’s round and generous on the palate, plump without being heavy, with a lingering, mouthwatering finish.

2019 Te Rehua Pinot Noir, Escarpment – 92 pts
The perfumed, floral 2019 Te Rehua Pinot Noir features scents of rose petals, red raspberries and tea leaves. Medium to full-bodied, it’s wiry on the palate, with ample concentration and firm tannins, accentuated by bright acids. The finish ends up being taut and slightly astringent, in need of cellaring to reach its best.

2019 Gris, Escarpment – 91 pts
Fuller-bodied than the Pinot Blanc, Escarpment’s 2019 Gris explores barrel fermentation and aging with Pinot Gris. Hints of pencil shavings accent mild stone fruit and citrus on the nose, while the silky-textured, medium to full-bodied palate flows effortlessly into a long, harmonious finish.

2020 Blanc, Escarpment – 90 pts
The surprisingly creamy-textured, medium-bodied (it’s labeled at 11.5% alcohol) 2020 Blanc is 100% Pinot Blanc, barrel fermented and aged for 11 months prior to bottling. Tangerine and lime define the fruit parameters, while the oak is measured and barely noticeable, outside of the textural influence. Smooth and silky, it’s an easy-drinking white with plenty of appeal.

2019 Pinot Noir, Escarpment – 90 pts
Deep black cherry, plum and cola notes appear on the nose of Escarpment’s 2019 Pinot Noir, a blend of several different sites around the village of Martinborough. Medium to full-bodied, plush and velvety, with a layered, richly textured finish, it’s a solid offering that should drink well over the next decade.

Please note that not all vintages are available in the UK yet.