In 1999, Escarpment was established as a joint business venture with famed winemaker Larry McKenna spearheading the operation. The winery is located on terraced land along the banks of the Huangarua River. Overlooking the vineyard are the Aorangi Ranges. According to Maori legend, the great Polynesian explorer who discovered New Zealand, Kupe, left his three canoes, Nga Waka, on top of the range, giving rise to the now familiar landmark of the district, the three flat-topped hills on top of the range, which resemble unturned canoes. This warrior and his story provide the inspiration for the vineyard?s distinctive brand and logo. The ESCARPMENT comes from the kilometer long escarpment (cliff) just behind the winery, which drops sharply down to the river.The Escarpment soils are alluvial gravels laid down over 20,000 years ago by the Huangarua River. With alluvial loams layered over the gravels, this composition ensures exceptional drainage - one of the key prerequisites for nurturing and producing premium quality, healthy grape vines.The climate is cool with summer days rarely exceeding 86?F, allowing grapes to ripen very slowly and to develop pure, powerful fruit characters with finely textured tannins. The rainfall is the lowest in the North Island and provides very stable weather patterns during autumn, the all-important harvest period.A name well-recognized for Pinot Noir, Larry McKenna made the Pinots at Martinborough Vineyards famous in the 90s and received the moniker ?Godfather of Pinot Noir? and ?Maestro,? to name a few. Known for his relaxed and unassuming nature, Larry applies this same approach to his winemaking. Rather than force a wine into doing something out of character, he works with the grapes to develop distinctively superior wines that are true to character, quality and vintage.Escarpment?s aim is simple: to continually produce the very best of tomorrow?s definitive New World wines. ?Complexity? ?texture? and ?structure? are key words and motivators. Under Larry?s leadership, the team aims to reward wine lovers with progressive and suggestive wines that encourage them to venture to the edge of wine loving and appreciation.
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