"Good dark red with ruby highlights. Piercing aromas of blackberry, raspberry, sandalwood and pungent herbs. Sweet, spicy and downright sexy, with lovely inner-mouth floral lift to complicate the raspberry fruit. Finishes long, with dusty, suave tannins and enticing mineral bite. With its terrific lift and energy, this reminded me of a top grower Beaujolais from the outstanding 2005 vintage."
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Escarpment Vineyard was established in 1999 as a joint business venture between Robert & Mem Kirby (of Australia's Village Roadshow) and Larry & Sue McKenna. Collectively, these four directors bring to Escarpment a world of experience, skill and understanding to the nurturing and making of fine, deliciously sublime wine.
It goes without saying the impetus behind establishing this vineyard came from the four's deep love for Pinot Noir. Meeting by chance in 1999 through Dr Richard Smith, Larry and Robert quickly hit it off and realised they had more than a love for the grape in common. Serious talk about establishing a definitive New World vineyard began in earnest even then and the 'idea whose time has come' has resulted in one of the most significant vineyard developments in the New Zealand district of Martinborough.
Escarpment is accredited with Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand®, an industry initiative directed through New Zealand Winegrowers. With a growing trade and consumer demand for environmentally friendly products, it provides an important platform to promote the New Zealand wine industry as a world leader in clean, green wine production.
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Situated on the southern tip of the North Island, Martinborough is just across the strait from Marlborough. Martinborough is a town, as well as a region within Wairarapa, which, in turn, is located within the region of Wellington. Just to add more confusion, Wellington is also the name of the city there, the capital of New Zealand. Sometimes the names of these three regions are interchanged, but know that all three names mean the wine has come from the bottom tip of New Zealand's North Island.
The grape making the most splash from the area is Pinot Noir. It is the region's most planted variety and the one getting the most attention. However, being that it's the neighbor of Sauvignon Blanc land, Marlborough, it uses these climate similarities to produce delicious wines from that grape as well.
The country of New Zealand is about 1000 miles from the coast of Australia. It consists of two long islands, end to end, that are approximately the same length as California. Most of the country's climate is maritime due to the abundant coastline. The northern island is warmer and wetter, while the southern island is cooler and dryer. The most popular grapes of New Zealand are Sauvignon Blanc (made most famous by the bright, crisp wines coming out of Marlborough), Chardonnay and the ever-growing Pinot Noir.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.