Larry McKenna


Release of the 2008 Insight Series

Here is your chance to purchase some of NZ’s leading Pinot Noirs with the launch of the 2008 Martinborough Insight Series.

For many years, Martinborough winemaker Larry McKenna was fuelled with the desire to craft a Pinot Noir that was purely dedicated to expressing the unique vineyard characteristics, collectively known as terroir, of the Martinborough Terraces. In 2003, treading in the historic footsteps of Burgundy where Larry developed his passion for Pinot Noir, he turned a tiny amount of grapes from his low-yielding Te Muna Road vineyard into what is now one of New Zealand’s most revered wines, Kupe.

From the outstanding 2006 vintage Larry added a further three exceptional sites that he knew offered unique qualities that would shine through the resulting wines. These are Kiwa, Te Rehua and Pahi. Together, these four wines portray the essence of the Martinborough Terraces.

This exclusive range is made from some of the oldest vines in the Martinborough region and offers an authentic reflection of each vineyard’s attributes. This terroir is consistent from vintage to vintage and while it forms the solid foundation and style for each wine, the subtleties of the season add further complexity.  Larry then strives to develop the highly desirable hallmarks of ripe fruit, weight and texture which combine to ensure that each of these wines is an outstanding example of site-specific Martinborough Pinot Noir.

KUPE. Created from Escarpment Vineyard’s high density, close-planted vineyard on Te Muna Road, south-east of Martinborough and from a single clone on its own roots, this well-structured wine is more akin to the ‘old world’ style of Pinot. A highly perfumed wine with attractive floral characters, Kupe is at the forefront of Pinot Noir in New Zealand and will age gracefully for ten years or more.

KIWA is made from a blend of clones from vines over 27 years old, grown just to the north-east of Martinborough’s town centre on alluvial loam over alluvial gravels.  Slightly more ‘old world’, its hallmarks are to produce a savoury, complex and spicy wine that has become a favourite of the Escarpment wine-making team.

TE REHUA is produced from a vineyard to the north-east of the Martinborough township again from vines over 20 years old. A combination of deep, alluvial gravels and a blend of many clones grown in a very sheltered spot always rewards with a wine of unique site-derived, layered complexity combined with black cherry and plum fruit flavours. A classic example of New World Pinot Noir.

PAHI is grown on one of the oldest Pinot Noir vineyards in the district (planted in 1986) due north of the township. The combination of slightly heavier soils and the single 10/5 clone on its own roots gives a particular style of pure, soft, voluptuous, ripe fruit expression in an exciting New World Pinot Noir.

This range completes the Escarpment collection of Pinot Noir and allows Larry to present unique vintage expressions from each of these sites every year. This in turn gives enthusiasts the opportunity to explore the wines and the distinctive and natural characters of each one, providing interest and enlightenment into the complex world of Pinot Noir. These wines all have tremendous ageing ability and will develop gracefully for at least ten years.


If you would like to purchase any of these wines from the outstanding 2008 vintage, please click here for more information. Please be aware that only very small quantities were produced.

2008 Vintage

A classic for Martinborough. Ideal spring weather in 2007 gave us an idyllic opening to the season with no frost damage. The warm weather produced a successful even bud-burst and heralded a perfect December for flowering. Large crops were set which ultimately needed thinning (green harvest) during January. Some concern was felt around veraison when two weeks of welcome rain fell which luckily didn’t cause any damage. A warmer than average February and March meant picking started about one week early under perfectly dry conditions. The only negative for the whole season was rain during the middle of April but all quality crops of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay were harvested by this time. The distinctive Escarpment style showing complexity, attractive texture and the perfect mix of black, red and green fruit flavours for which Pinot Noir is celebrated is a hallmark of the year.

The 2008 wines will age gracefully for many years and become well loved classics for the district.



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