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The Wine Advocate’s New Zealand review

The newly-released 2016 Escarpment single vineyard Pinot Noirs, and 2015 Chardonnays, have been reviewed in The Wine Advocate‘s New Zealand review this month, with Larry McKenna’s Kupe appearing in the top 5 wines with 95 points.

2016 Kupe Pinot Noir: 95 pts
From a closely planted vineyard on Te Muna Road, the 2016 Kupe Pinot Noir offers an incredible bouquet of lavender potpourri and ripe black cherries. It’s full-bodied and rich without seeming heavy at all, the ripeness balanced by fresh notes of herbs and soft tannins. No doubt some purists will quibble with the level of ripeness (it’s labeled at 14.5% alcohol), but to my mind, there is no arguing with the hedonistic pleasure ride this wine delivers. And while it’s approachable now, the tannins that appear on the finish suggest at least a decade of positive evolution ahead.

2015 Kupe Chardonnay: 94 pts
The 2015 Kupe Chardonnay is more tightly knit than the regular bottling, with at least a couple more years of aging potential. Toasted hazelnuts provide an elegant counterbalance to the grapefruity aromas and flavors, while minor notes of grilled white peach, pineapple and baking spices bring complexity, particularly on the long, crisp finish. It’s nice to see Larry McKenna’s white wines reaching similar heights as his Pinot Noirs.

2016 Te Rehua Pinot Noir: 92 pts
On the herbal-floral side of the spectrum, the 2016 Te Rehua Pinot Noir offers hints of rosemary, thyme and rose petals in addition to notes of red plums and dusty earth. It’s medium-bodied, with silky tannins and a long, red-fruit finish. While it doesn’t have the robustness of previous vintages, it’s still a charming, attractive wine for relatively early consumption.

2015 Chardonnay: 91 pts
Classic notes of toasted hazelnuts and white peach mark the nose of the 2015 Chardonnay. It’s medium-bodied, with a plump, succulent mouthfeel and a silky texture that supports flavors of white peach, pineapple and citrus. The finish does a slow, elegant fade, adding to this wine’s considerable appeal.

2016 Kiwa Pinot Noir: 90 pts
Even more savory and earthy than the other Escarpment wines, the 2016 Kiwa Pinot Noir hints at mushrooms and leather, while the fruit remains in the background. It’s medium-bodied but without the concentration and ripeness I expect to find in these wines. It’s still an attractive wine with silky tannins and a lingering finish, just somewhat outside the norm at this address.

Limited stocks are available, with the exception of 2016 Kupe Pinot Noir which is sadly already sold out – please enquire for further details.