JOELLE THOMSON | JULY 2024

JOELLE THOMSON | JULY 2024

JOELLE THOMSON | JULY 2024

 

Fab four release from Escarpment 2022

joellethomson.rocketspark.co.nz

 

Tim Bourne had his work cut out at Escarpment Vineyard's annual single vineyard release held in late June this year. He was charged with the task of releasing four Pinot Noirs from single sites around the Martinborough wine growing area, all of them from the tricky 2022 vintage.

It was a privilege to be there to hear and taste the wines as Bourne addressed and impressed a roomful of Pinot Noir fans. If this is a tough vintage, then bring on the great ones because these wines are among the pinnacles of New Zealand Pinot Noir.

The fab four wines are Kupe, Pahi, Kiwa and Te Rehua and despite the difficult weather conditions in 2022, the wines represent the structure, complexity, balance of body, freshness and length of flavour that all characterise great Pinot Noir. They are also noticeably different expressions of Pinot Noir, which is nearly all a variable only of location; in this case the site of the vineyard.

The 2022 Escarpment Single Vineyard Pinot Noirs are keepers, which is an impressive feat. Here are my reviews. 

Escarpment Single Vineyard Pinot Noirs

Kupe, Pahi, Kiwa and Te Rehua are four single vineyard Pinot Noirs which have been produced by Escarpment every year since their inaugural release in 2006.

This latest release is the third vintage that Bourne has made at Escarpment’s new winery building, situated on the established vineyard site. The new facility has more space and capacity in layout, making wine production a smoother exercise all round, especially when Mother Nature gives winemakers a year such as 2022.

“A lot of blood, sweat and tears (not literally) has gone into the production of these wines and we are thrilled to unveil them to our loyal fan base and to make them known further afield,” says Bourne, who also makes a fleshy Chardonnay with a beautiful balance of acidity, giving this wine more than a passing resemblance to Chablis. 

 

My reviews on 2022 Escarpment Single Vineyard Pinot Noirs 

 

18.5/20

2022 Escarpment Kupe RRP $115

Kupe is tightly structured and youthful with elegant fruit purity this vintage thanks to selective hand picking entirely from the home block vineyard in front of the winery. This site has recently been replanted very slightly over on the same piece of land and retaining its dedication to 100% Abel clone Pinot Noir, which gives this wine its impressive structure, depth and concentration. The wine was aged in 42% new French oak barriques for 20 months then bottled without fining or filtration, promoting purity and balance. The aim is to make a statement with this Pinot Noir which can age for 10 years.  

 

19/20

2022 Escarpment Pahi RRP $85

Pahi is a commanding and beautifully fragrant expression of Pinot Noir with lifted floral and red fruit aromas leading into a full bodied, youthfully robust wine. Despite being from a tricky vintage, this wine is one of the best Pinot Noirs I have tasted all year. It is the third vintage of Pahi from the outstanding vineyard opposite Escarpment Winery on Te Muna Road. (The wine was formerly made from a vineyard near to Martinborough village). It was aged in French oak barriques (30% new oak) for 20 months then bottled without fining or filtration. It drinks well now but be sure to decant it. 

 

18/20

2022 Escarpment Kiwa RRP $85

Kiwa is a wine to watch. Elegant red fruit and silky subtlety make it a pretty wine now and in great vintages, it is going to be stellar. It was made as a single vineyard wine initially from a vineyard around Martinborough village and is now produced from an established vineyard on Te Muna Road, along from Escarpment winery. A combination of deep alluvial gravels, for which the Martinborough Terraces vineyards are known and loved, as well as mature vines, both bring complexity and textural qualities to this wine. Grapes were picked over two days and destemmed to open top ferments with the inclusion of 43% whole bunches, fermented with indigenous yeasts and hand plunged once daily for soft extraction with a total vat time of 27 days. After pressing, the wine was matured in 40% new French oak barriques for 20 months. It was bottled without fining or filtration.

 

18/20

2022 Escarpment Te Rehua RRP $85

The tightest of the new single vineyard releases and the only wine made from a vineyard site in Martinborough village, which was planted in 1992. Te Rehua needs time to unravel its fruitier side, showing as a full bodied, impressively structured Pinot Noir now and begging for a dark cellar for a couple of years - or the decanter.

Hand picked grapes were fermented in open top ferments with indigenous yeasts and 21% whole clusters. It was hand plunged once daily with a total vat time of 25 days. After pressing, the wine was matured in 43% new French oak barriques for 20 months then bottled without fining or filtration.

 

  • The 2022 Escarpment Single Vineyard Pinot Noirs are again an impressive bunch made by a vineyard-winemaking team with a meticulous eye to detail, which shines in these great wines. 



Read more

Matthew jukes | JUNE 2024

Matthew jukes | JUNE 2024

Joelle Thomson | July 2023

Joelle Thomson | July 2023