2014 Escarpment Pinot Noir 'Kupe'
by JJ Buckley Fine Wines
On Sale $54.94 (reg. $59.94)
Martinborough owes a lot to Larry McKenna, who helped pioneer New Zealand’s international reputation while at Martinborough Vineyards. His Escarpment winery off the now famous Te Muna road is planted with the local Able Pinot Noir clone, rumored to be sourced from DRC, and the single-vineyard ‘Kupe’ bottling is a phenomenal standout year after year. Today we have the 97-point 2014 'Kupe' for the best price around!
This wine is at once both highly distinctive, with a complex array of spice and saline notes that "rolls through like a perfectly formed wave" (JS), but also quite classic New Zealand with fresh red and black fruits, plum, and black tea. If you are not too familiar with New Zealand Pinot, the 2014 Kupe is an outstanding example of what makes the tiny archipelago unique and this will easily hold its own against top-tier efforts from California, Oregon and Burgundy.
Back in 1999 the upper-terraces above Te Muna road were completely undeveloped, with the vineyard that Larry McKenna built on the escarpment leading to the town truly a unique site and the perfect vineyard for him to craft his distinct style of Pinot. The ‘Kupe’ Pinot Noir is McKenna’s flagship and the absolute pinnacle of his philosophy.
2014 was quite a year in New Zealand and the Wine Advocate called it an “excellent to outstanding vintage.” The bumper crop let McKenna work his magic. Though accessible now, this will continue to develop for the next 5-10 years. Cheers!