Escarpment Vintage 2020 Single Vineyard Wines
Some say the 2020 growing season in Wairarapa was dreamy; Escarpment Winemaker Tim Bourne said, "The 2020 growing season was a benchmark for us here at Escarpment and will go down as one of the truly great vintages." He continued, "Near perfect weather conditions throughout the growing season meant we got through the frost period unscathed, has an excellent flowering period, followed by fantastic ripening conditions. The wine shows fruit and opulence upon release but has the structure and depth to hold the long term. These will comfortably sit in your cellar over the next ten years if you can hold them that long (I know I can't!)."
Tim is right on; it would be hard to hold them for that long when they're already delicious. The whole range is fine-structured and has an excellent concentration which will improve with ageing, patience will be rewarded.
I particularly enjoyed the Estate 2020, classic Martinborough, excellent balance of strength and stunning floral detail with supple tannin, drinking beautifully now. This wine comprises Pinot Noir parcels across Martinborough, with a majority of fruit from the Te Muna Road sub-region.
Kiwa Pinot Noir's fruit is from an established vineyard located in the township of Martinborough. Vines are planted on a combination of deep alluvial gravels on the Martinborough Terraces with clones UCD 5 & 6. This wine is lifted & perfumed with pretty floral and mineral elements, very elegant and refined.
Pahi is a reintroduced old favourite; the fruit comes from a block adjacent to Escarpment estate on Te Muna Road, planted in 2003 shares the same alluvial, free-draining gravel soils that made Martiniborough famous. This wine is bold and structured with tightly-weaved tannins, fresh acidity and herbaceous details. Very youthful, I would put this one away for a few years.
Te Rehua is a single vineyard grown on the Barton Vineyard, Huangarua Road, Martinborough and planted in the 1990s with many clones on a combination of deep alluvial gravels. This wine is rich with excellent integration and well-structured velvety tannins, a satisfying, comforting Pinot Noir.
Kupe is made entirely from the Home Block on Te Muna Road, first planted in 1999, 100% Abel clone. I expected this wine to have elegance, structure, layers and strength, but it showed more; the energy and freshness of this wine lifted and brightened the richness and complexity. This wine will age beautifully over the next 15 years.
Pinot Noir aside, I had also tasted the Chardonnay 2021, quite a different wine to 2020, which bypassed malolactic fermentation, and the striking acid tension provided focus and linearity.
Expand below to read the full reviews.
FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW
Escarpment Chardonnay 2021, MartinboroughChardonnay from New Zealand - Wairarapa & WellingtonReview Date : 08-Aug-2022Bright, pale yellow with depth and green hues, even colour throughout. The nose is distinctive, soft yet potent, penetrating aromas of oyster shell, citrus, stonefruit, meringue overlying struck match and a hint of nut. Medium-full bodied, concentrated aromas exploded with lemon curd, apricot unfolding spice, grapefruit zest and minerals, followed by whipped meringue, almond and toast. A dusty, chalky layer of minerals coated the palate in silk. The layers of flavour amalgamated by striking acid tension, carrying vibration and focus to a long, stimulating finish. This is an exceptional Chardonnay with excellent tension, concentrated fruit and an elegant mineral palate enriched by well-portioned barrel details. Match with butter-poached crayfish and caviar over the next 10 years. Fruit sourced from primarily home block on Te Muna Road, fermented in French oak puncheons, 20% new, 12.9% alc, aged 11 months in oak and a further 4 months in stainless steel, bypassed MLF. 19+/20 (96 pts) Aug 2022 RRP $40
Escarpment Pinot Noir 2020, MartinboroughPinot Noir from New Zealand - Wairarapa & WellingtonReview Date : 08-Aug-2022Deep, ruby-black with a garnet shade, lighter on the rim. This has an immediate pleasing, concentrated bouquet, with aromas of dark cherry and plum, dark herb, violet, pepper and delicate spice. Medium-bodied, aromas of dark cherry and plum interweave savoury hints, earth, violet, thyme and spice. Dusty tannins left a velvety, structural palate, tickled by black pepper and cinnamon. The violet and cinnamon elements lifted the dark character with elegance and complexity. This is a complete, elegant Pinot Noir with excellent concentration and balance on a lifted and velvety palate. Match with smoked duck and lamb prosciutto over the next 8+ years. The majority of fruit was sourced from the Te Muna sub-region, handpicked, crushed to open top fermenters, natural fermentation, 13.6% alc, on skins for an average of 20 days, aged 11 months in French oak barriques, 22 % new oak, a further 7 months in stainless steel, unfined, unfiltered. 18.5+/20 pts (94 pts) Aug 2022 RRP $49
Escarpment Kiwa Pinot Noir 2020, MartinboroughPinot Noir from New Zealand - Wairarapa & WellingtonReview Date : 08-Aug-2022Deep, clear crimson, lighter on the rim. This has a vibrant, lifted bouquet of Morello cherry, delicate floral and spice, unveiling a hint of game and minerals. Medium-bodied, the palate is bright, opening up to cherry and bramble, fragrant dark herb, savoury minerals, underlying warmth and spices. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, adorned by supple, finely-weaved tannins; lacy acidity provides lightness and good energy. The wine shows richness and minerality as it aerated; spices and subtle floral elements lifted the finish. This is an elegant individual reveals lifted fruit and spice on a supple tannin mouthfeel with good energy and refined layers. Match with foie gras stuffed pigeon and duck breast over the next 8-10 years. Fruit from Kiwa vineyard in the Martinborough township clones UDC5 & 6, handpicked, destemmed to fermented in an open top fermenter with some whole bunch, indigenous yeast, 22 days on skins, 14.2% alc. Aged in French oak barriques for 16 months, 31% new oak, unfined, unfiltered. 19+/20 pts (96 pts) Aug 2022 RRP $85
Escarpment Pahi Pinot Noir 2020, MartinboroughPinot Noir from New Zealand - Wairarapa & WellingtonReview Date : 08-Aug-2022Even, dark ruby-red colour, a little lighter on edge. The nose is soft, penetrating plum, marinated cherry underlying dark herb and rich floral fragrance. Medium-full bodied, aromas of cherry, raspberry at the core, interweave dark herb, violet and earth minerals. Tightly-weaved fine-grained tannins structured a velvety palate alongside a fine grip, reflecting cinnamon bark and black tea. Balanced, fine acidity injects vibrancy and lends a rich, long finish. This bold yet elegant Pinot Noir shows red fruit and a fine acid line on a tightly knitted tannin structure in its youthful state. Serve decanted and match with lamb ribs and duck legs over the next 8+ years. Fruit from Pahi Vineyard adjacent to the Escarpment Vineyard on Te Muna Road, clones 114, 115, C15 and Abel, handpicked, fermented in open top cuvees with indigenous yeast to 14.1% alc, total vat time 21 days, aged in French oak barriques for 16 months, 35% new oak. Unfined, unfiltered. 18.5+/20 pts (94 pts) Aug 2022 RRP $85
Escarpment Te Rehua Pinot Noir 2020, MartinboroughPinot Noir from New Zealand - Wairarapa & WellingtonReview Date : 08-Aug-2022Even, deep ruby-red, lighter on the rim with a suggestion of garnet. The nose is soft, overlying an earthy tone, aromas of ripe strawberry, plum and red-black cherry melded with minty, herbaceous notes, aromatic oak and fragrant whole bunch suggestions. Medium-bodied, perfumed and attractive aromas of strawberry, red-black cherry entwined with mint, violet, whole bunch, savoury elements, and barrel spice. The mouthfeel is chewy with firm, fine-grained, velvety tannins. The wine is concentrated and fragrant, packed with interesting whole bunch details; lacy acidity drive vitality and a lengthy, fragranced, savoury finish. This complex Pinot Noir possesses a savoury, firm tannin structure, well-portioned fruit and spice, and an enticing aromatic lift. Match with tea-smoked duck and lamb over the next 10+ years. Fruit from Barton Vineyard on Huangarua Road planted in the 90s, handpicked, fermented with indigenous yeast in open top wooden cuvee to 13.4% alc, total vat time of 20 days, aged in French oak barriques for 16 months, 30% new oak. Unfined, unfiltered. 19.5-/20 pts (97 pts) Aug 2022 RRP $85
Escarpment Kupe Pinot Noir 2020, MartinboroughPinot Noir from New Zealand - Wairarapa & WellingtonReview Date : 08-Aug-2022Dark ruby-red, even, lighter on edge. This is a rich, well-portioned bouquet, an amalgam of dark herbs, melded with black and red cherry, raspberry, plum, soil minerals and whole bunch fragrance. This has excellent fruit focus and a concentrated core. Medium-full bodied, lifted and bright on the palate, aromas of raspberry, red berry, cherry underlined by earthy minerals, violet, and whole bunch stalk notes. Coarse silk textured tannins carry cinnamon, vanilla and clove spices to a long, perfumed finish. A lively acid line injects vitality and flows with good energy. This is a rich, sweet, vibrant Pinot Noir with bright red and black fruit intertwined with layers of florals and herbs on a well-structured palate and lively acidity. Match with lamb and game over the next 10-15 years. Fruit from Home Block on Te Muna Road, planted in 1999, 100% Abel clone, handpicked, fermented with indigenous yeast in open top fermenters to 14.3% alc, total vat time 25 days, aged 16 months in French oak barriques for 16 months, 35% new oak. Unfined, unfiltered. 19.5/20 pts (98 pts) Aug 2022 RRP $115