2003 Escarpment Kupe Martinborough New Zealand Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., $60. The Maori navigator Kupe is said to have discovered New Zealand, and his image on the label and his pioneering journeys inspire the winemaking at Escarpment. The Kupe bottling represents the first wine released from close planted vines on the estate's Te Muna Road, Martinborough vineyard planted in 1999. Word has it that some of the plantings are suitcase clones from France planted on their own roots. This bottling will only be produced in exceptional vintages. Imported by Paterno Imports. · The wine clearly has the most power of any New Zealand Pinot Noir I tasted recently. It is a Pinot Noir of great promise but I would not drink it for at least five years. The potent nose intoxicates with black plums and cherries. The flavors are deep and dark with underpinnings of earth, pepper and toasty oak. There are substantial tannins in the background. This is one big, rich pussycat. Reviewed April 16, 2006

Winery: Escarpment